DCA Hopper Owners/CEO Roundtable with Army Corps Chiefs

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Posted December 12, 2019

The owners and chief executive officers of the hopper owning and specialized dust pan companies met this week in Washington, DC for three days of meetings. The sessions included a roundtable discussion with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chief of Engineers, Lt. General Todd Semonite and Major General Scott Spellmon, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations. Meetings also included a Water Resources Development U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) stakeholders day and a board of directors meeting with the American Maritime Partnership.

A significant portion of the roundtable discussion with the Chiefs revolved around the Mississippi River’s Southwest Pass (SWP); the lessons learned from the previous flood season and the path forward for 2020. Indeed, according to the National Weather Service, this year’s flood season (December 2018 – August 2019) is recorded as the longest known flood period on the lower Mississippi River, dating back to 1543. The Bonnet Carré Spillway was used for the 13th time in its history, and the first time in consecutive years. In May, and in the first time ever in its history, the Bonnet Carré Spillway was opened a second time in the same year due to excessive rainfall upriver.

Maj. Gen. Scott Spellmon opening the stakeholders session on Water Resources Development (11 December 2019).

The U.S. private sector dredging industry answered the call in conjunction with the government’s ready reserve program. Moving forward, USACE has begun contracting in advance for dedicated private sector hopper dredges with a Gulf Coast Regional hopper contract, an early open by amendment program and securing large scale cutterhead suction dredges for advance dredging operations.

DCA, industry representatives and a wide cross-section of leaders participated in a stakeholders listening session on water resources development activities. The session was hosted by Ryan Fisher, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and Major General Scott Spellmon and included leaders from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, National Waterways Conference, California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference, the Waterways Council and the American Association of Port Authorities.

L-R: Eric Ellefsen, Rich Weeks, Alexandra Weeks, Brian McGeorge, Will Wallgren, Stephen Tobin, General Todd Semonite, Bill Dutra, Lasse Petterson, William Doyle, Jay Cashman and Bill Hanson (10 December 2019).

On Tuesday, the dredging industry executives participated in the monthly board of directors meeting with the American Maritime Partnership. The board discussed matters related to the Customs and Border Protection’s recent notice and comment initiative, heavy lift operations and activities of the outer continental shelf.

“We appreciate the time extended by General Semonite and his staff to discuss regulatory matters important to the dredging industry and the mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We are honored to have been invited to the holiday reception hosted by the General and his wife Connie. We greatly appreciate the warm hospitality of the Semonite family,” said William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America.