PIANC’s busy Environmental Commission – Marika Calfas reports

PIANC A-NZ Environmental Commission (EnviCom) Lead and CEO of NSW Ports, Marika Calfas has recently returned from Lyon, where the 51st meeting of PIANC’s Environmental Commission was held – to coincide with PIANC’s Smart Rivers Conference.

EnviCom’s Mission is to provide practical, science-based guidance to shape and inform future environmental practice in the development and operation of sustainable navigation infrastructure.

The Chair is Todd Bridges from the US Army Corp of Engineers. The Commission has members from 15 nations and 7 partner organisations; Australia & New Zealand being represented by Marika Calfas (PIANC A-NZ Lead) and Ron Cox (Member/ Co-Com representative).

PIANC A-NZ also has national member representation on the Maritime Commission (MarCom – Peter Fountain), the Recreational Navigation Commission (RecCom – Greg Britton), the Commission for Countries in Transition (CoCom – Ron Cox), and the Young Professionals Commission (YP-Com – Rodney Hancock for ANZ and Tom Shand as Vice Chair APAC).

Our PIANC A-NZ Commission Leads work very hard to ensure PIANC A-NZ stays connected, informed and involved. They are both our voice in international affairs and our link back to PIANC A-NZ members involved with working groups and related matters. Leads are also involved in the selection of working group appointments and the assessment of PIANC A-NZ’s Travel Assistance Program grants (TAP). For more information please contact any Commission Lead at your convenience.

As EnviCom Lead Marika reported back on several topics of interest described below.

EnviCom Working Groups in 2019

A number of EnviCom Working Groups have recently launched or are near completion. EnviCom working group report WG188 Carbon Management for Port and Navigation Infrastructure has already been published in 2019, while a further two reports are with the PIANC Secretariat awaiting publication. These are:

  • WG 175 A Practical Guide to Environmental Risk Management for Navigation Infrastructure Projects
  • WG 178 Climate Change Adaptation for Maritime and Inland Ports and Navigation Infrastructure

PIANC A-NZ Board member Kevin Kane of North Queensland Bulk Ports is the Australian & New Zealand representative for WG175, and Tanya Mackenzie of Cardno is our representative for WG178.

Active Working Group Reports

Numerous working group reports are actively being developed. These include:

  • WG 170 – Best practices of how to deal with sea turtles and mammals in marine waterway and port construction activities.
  • WG 174 – Sustainability reporting for ports.
  • WG 214 – Beneficial Sediment Use. WG 214 Chair is Paul Doyle from North Queensland Bulk Ports. The first draft of the WG 214 report is scheduled for December 2020, with the final draft due by June 2021.

Future Working Groups:

Two new working groups are anticipated to have kick-off meetings in Brussels in January 2020:

  • WG 218 Implications of Invasive Alien Species for Waterborne Transport
  • A working group on Assessing and Managing Effects of Underwater Sounds from Navigation Infrastructure.

A record number (six) 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
  • Assessing and Managing Environmental Restrictions on Dredging Operations
  • 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 contact Marika at Marika.Calfas@nswports.com.au.

Other EnviCom Matters

Due to the strong, positive response to the Engineering With Nature Atlas, the team are now actively planning the development of Volume 2 of the Atlas, with 50 new projects illustrating practice around the world.

Meanwhile PIANC’s ThinkClimate – an unprecedented collaboration in which PIANC and partners work together to support the inland and maritime navigation infrastructure sector as they respond to climate change – continues to survey ports on extreme storm events with some very interesting initial findings that will be expanded on in the coming months.

About PIANC A-NZ Commission Leads:

Internationally, four PIANC Technical Commissions cover the different areas of waterborne infrastructure: Environmental, Inland Navigation, Maritime Navigation, and Recreational Navigation (EnviCom, InCom, MarCom, RecCom). These Commissions develop and supervise the respective Working Groups on subjects of interest. The reports prepared by these Working Groups are the core business of our Association.

PIANC A-NZ has national member representation on three of the four Technical Commissions: EnviCom (Marika Calfas), MarCom (Peter Fountain) and RecCom (Greg Britton).

In 2019, Greg Britton is the PIANC A&NZ Head Commissioner with the responsibility for organising nominations and TAP grants for all potential candidates.

Further information is here.