Call for EnviCom WG 226 & 227 participation from PIANC A&NZ members

PIANC is now calling for nominations from Member National Sections to participate in the following two new Environmental Commission Working Groups.

EnviCom WG 226 – A Guide for Assessing and Managing Effects of Underwater Sounds from Navigation Infrastructure Activities. (see information below)

EnviCom WG 227 – A Guide for Assessing and Managing Environmental Restrictions on Dredging and Disposal Operations (see information below)

If you would like to represent the Australian & New Zealand Section of PIANC on either of these Working Groups we would be delighted to review your application. A Selection Committee will review all nominations received and make a final recommendation to the PIANC A&NZ Chair. Please apply before November 25, 2019.


Please be aware that membership of a Working Group does require your active participation. This may include attending Working Group meetings (usually at international locations) or as a ‘Corresponding Member’ if you did not want to undertake the normal travel requirements of full membership. If you are expert in the field and would like to influence the outcome of the Working Groups we encourage you to participate as fully as you are able.


All costs associated with membership must be borne by either yourself or your employer, however PIANC Australia & New Zealand has recently introduced a Travel Assistance Policy to partially assist with travel & attendance at Working Group meetings, in order to promote Australian and New Zealand technical input into these important WG activities. Many of our members are currently active on a select number of PIANC Working Groups and they do produce significant outcomes that benefit maritime matters in our region. Under the TAP, up to $2,000 funds are payable post travel upon the successful completion of a WG Summary Report and production of relevant travel receipts.

How to Apply:

If you wish to nominate for either or both of these Working Groups please forward your application before 25 November 2019 to
Marika Calfas (EnviCom Commission Lead) and to
Greg Britton, (Head Commission Lead)

Your application should include:

a detailed CV/Resume with a short covering letter outlining:

1. Your experience in the particular technical field;
2. Why the WG is relevant for the Australian / NZ content and the direct benefits of participation;
3. A commitment that upon return from an overseas meeting, you will prepare (for distribution to all members) a short report providing an overview & outcomes of the WG meeting etc; and
4. Whether or not you are seeking to access TAP funding.

All nominations must be received no later than 25 November 2019.

Please advise if you qualify as a Young Professional (YP – 40 years or younger) as there are two positions available in each Working Group, one of which is for a YP.

Note that Working Group Members need to be Individual Members of PIANC, working for a Corporate Member or Platinum Partner, be an invited expert or a be a member of a Sister Organisation.

PIANC Australia & New Zealand will advise all nominees of the result of the selection process and whether or not TAP funds have been made available.

More EnviCom Working Groups coming up:

A record number of potential new working groups are currently being assessed and progressed by EnviCom:

• Good environmental practice Environmental Impact Assessment guidance report.
• Environmental restrictions on timing of dredging or construction activities.
• Assessing and Managing Effects of Underwater Sounds from Navigation Infrastructure
• Management and Operation of Low Use Waterways
• How to attract green funding for nature based navigation infrastructure

If any member is interested in seeing the draft TORs for these new working groups, please let Marika Calfas know and she will provide them.

Background: EnviCom WG226 – Guide for Assessing and Managing Effects of Underwater Sounds from Navigation Infrastructure Activities

Previous EnviCom Working Groups have developed procedures addressing the assessment and management of various chemical stressors on the environment as related to navigation and port infrastructure, providing a scientific basis for decision making. These reports did not sufficiently address risks associated with underwater sound in relation to waterborne transport infrastructure construction, operations, and maintenance activities. A new effort is therefore proposed to fill this gap by developing a practical guide derived from existing methods and approaches for informing decision makers managing environmental risk associated with navigation infrastructure projects.

Activities associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of waterborne transport infrastructure generate underwater sounds. A review of the potential biological effects of underwater sound from such activities in relation to other anthropogenic sources is needed to evaluate their potential ecological risks. A more complete understanding is needed of the sounds produced by waterborne transport infrastructure activities, the potential effects they produce, and how they compare with the hearing frequency ranges of fish and marine mammal species. Recently technical guidelines developed by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed acoustic exposure criteria for select marine mammal species; their potential impact on waterborne transport infrastructure needs to be assessed .A risk-based approach is needed that utilizes the available data and other site-specific information appropriate for evaluating underwater sound to provide a broader framework for assessing and managing underwater sound effects on the environment.

Download full Terms of Reference (TOR) here.

Background – EnviCom WG 227 – A Guide for Assessing and Managing Environmental Restrictions on Dredging and Disposal Operations.

Previous EnviCom Working Groups (WG) have developed procedures for the biological assessment of dredged material evaluating whether sediments to be dredged are appropriate for use beneficially or require special handling, as related to navigation and port infrastructure, providing a scientific basis for making beneficial use decisions based on sound science. These reports did not address specific tools, steps, and practices needed to address restrictions currently being placed on dredging and dredging placement / disposal operations.

A new effort is proposed to fill this gap by developing a practical guide through which a full range of management actions for reducing environmental risks associated with dredging operations are identified, evaluated, selected, and implemented. The approach will inform decision makers managing environmental risks associated with dredging activities associated with navigation infrastructure projects and identify opportunities to increase positive effects.

Release of sediments and sediment-borne constituents during dredging and dredged material disposal activities may stress aquatic biota in various ways. Sources of potential stress include exposure to elevated suspended sediment concentrations and turbidity, and entrainment during dredging operations. Elevated suspended sediment concentrations – and the resulting turbidity – may affect fish spawning, disrupt anadromous fish migrations, and physical disturbance of habitat by increased sedimentation rates.

Dredging windows are a common management (mitigation) practice used to minimize or avoid these dredging-related stresses on resident and transient biota. Dredging windows are times during which dredging and dredged material disposal are allowed, whereas seasonal restrictions are periods during which these activities are prohibited. Seasonal restrictions are imposed based upon the assumption that potential detrimental exposures could cause significant harm during these predetermined periods. Such time-of-year constraints are associated with many navigation channels globally. These constraints complicate contracting schedules (constricting them), availability of dredge plants, and safety issues, substantially inflating the cost of dredging.

Download full Terms of Reference (TOR) here.