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WEDA Changes Award Categories for 2023 Environmental Excellence Awards; Extends Submission Deadline to May 19

Craig Vogt, WEDA Board of Directors

Posted on April 24, 2023

By Judith Powers

WEDA Environmental Commission Chair Craig Vogt has announced new categories for the annual Environmental Excellence Awards and has extended the submission deadline two weeks to May 19th.

The awards will be presented at the 2023 WEDA Dredging Summit and Expo, to be held July 17 through 21 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

The new categories are:

  1. Partnerships and Outreach/Education
  2. Innovation
  3. Sustainability and Carbon Reduction/Management

Vogt explained: “We changed the categories this year given the fact that it was difficult to determine whether a project was in the navigation dredging category or in the environmental dredging category. Many were cross overs doing both.”

The Partnership and Outreach/Education category includes complex, multi-stakeholder partnerships that include the collaboration of professional groups, associations, government agencies, communities, and stakeholder groups.

The Innovation category recognizes excellence in innovation in dredging and marine construction projects, achieving project goals in an improved manner, showing leadership in moving beyond traditional dredging techniques and environmental projection effort and breaking new ground in addressing dredging and environmental challenges, describing the methods, technologies and approaches that were used.

Sustainability and Carbon Reduction/Management recognizes projects or programs that promote carbon management that includes total carbon footprint inventories and carbon budgets to highlight energy efficiency and carbon reduction. The first step is to determine the carbon footprint of baseline operations. From establishing that benchmark, reduction approaches can focus on equipment, processes, and fuels that could support reduced air emissions, including optimized dredging processes, using low-carbon alternative fuels, and congoing identification of ways to control carbon emissions. Optimization of dredging processes.

Quantitative evaluations such as carbon inventories, carbon emission reductions and the capture of carbon (i.e. sinks or sequestration) through wetlands and habitat creation, or other innovative measures are of particular importance to WEDA in evaluating projects for this award.

Each category is open to dredging actions and programs such as navigation (maintenance and deepening), reservoir dredging, sediment remediation, ecosystem restoration, building shoreline resiliency projects, or sustainable offshore energy production. These may contribute to reducing risks and enhancing resilience of shorelines and coastlines, inland and marine water resources, waterways, and infrastructure. Other important possible benefits include reducing the degradation of natural habitats, halting the loss of biodiversity, and protecting and preventing the extinction of endangered or threatened species will have weight in evaluating the award.

The new categories were designed to address, among other things, the importance of sustainable development in general, and specifically in dredging projects.

The new approach reflects the world situation (climate change and rising sea levels) as well as the progress the industry has made over the years in implementing innovative solutions.

“I think we have had good … steady interest over the years from the dredging community in the awards,” Vogt told DredgeWire.  “Receipt of an award is touted … in (the winners’) advertisements, on their websites, and with the staff in the award winning team — usually, a multi-company team or with the federal, state, and local agencies. Everyone looks good. The enthusiasm of winning by a particular team is real and rewarding for us that review all of the applications,” he said.

“Over the years, it has become increasingly noticeable that most projects are excellent in environmental actions,” Vogt continued.

A detailed description of the categories and submission process can be found on the WEDA website at: or email Craig Vogt: for information.

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