Section 4: Dredging (Annex 7)
The Great Lakes Dredging Team, a U.S. committee created in 1996 by Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, is a strong advocate for research and development related to dredging technologies, sediment management and related environmental impacts. Canadians participate, but only in an ad hoc manner. Full Canadian membership on the Great Lakes Dredging Team would enhance binational cooperation and oversight of the environmental consequences of navigational dredging. Current information technology resources can satisfy the Annex 7 requirement to maintain a register of significant dredging projects.
Specific studies assigned to the Subcommittee on Dredging under Annex 7 were completed during the 1980s and 1990s, and consequently, the annex no longer reflects current organizational relationships and activities.
The Great Lakes Dredging Team promotes uniform environmental regulation of the management of dredged material in the U.S. where there is currently some variation between the states. It is already a strong advocate for research and development related to dredging technologies, sediment management and environmental impacts.
If the Great Lakes Dredging Team had full representation from both U.S. and Canadian agencies, this organization could fill the role of a standing subcommittee on dredging called for in Annex 7. The team could be recognized in future updates to Annex 7 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Additional work by the Parties and/or the Commission to follow up on past recommendations or to investigate new concerns involving dredging could then be carried out by the team on an as-needed basis.
In addition to recognizing the value of the Great Lakes Dredging Team, the Parties could consider modifying the Annex 7 requirement calling for the maintenance of a formal register of significant dredging projects. The last register of Great Lakes dredging projects was published for the Great Lakes Water Quality Board in 1990. That report contained data on approximately 95 percent of all dredging activities in the Great Lakes basin from 1980 through 1984. Now that the governments have made more recent information available on the Internet, it appears unnecessary to publish an updated register. Use of the Internet could be extended so that all the data needed to conduct an environmental assessment of dredging projects could be easily accessed electronically.