On 8 October 2013, during a meeting in Amsterdam, two new CEDA groups embarked on their mission to create information papers: one on adaptive management and one on environmental monitoring procedures.
The reason for this twin-birth is found in the ‘adaptive’ aspect: adaptive management is heavily dependent on good environmental monitoring, which in itself can be made in an adaptive way. Yet there is some much relevant information to be shared on environmental monitoring alone, that a separate working group is justified. Due to congruent scheduling optimal exchange is guaranteed. Both groups work the remit of the CEDA Environment Commission (CEC) and are chaired by CEC members.
The Working Group on Adaptive Management (WGAM), chaired by Gerard van Raalte, Royal Boskalis Westminster, the Netherlands will focus on how adaptive management can successfully be applied in dredging projects, and in environmentally sensitive dredging projects in particular.
“Dredging projects (including recurring maintenance campaigns) are often permitted with operational restrictions or regulations based on an assessment of the potential environmental effects,” said Mr van Raalte and continued: “In some cases strict thresholds might be applied to assure environmental performance with levels deemed to be acceptable. In other cases less clear environmental limits are specified: sometimes due to inability to fully appreciate and judge environmental conditions and potential project effects (increased uncertainty about effect on and responses by nature), sometimes for other reasons (sharing risks and responsibilities). (Note: effects can be both negative and positive).
“In those cases with less clear requirements a sequence of monitoring, impact assessment and management actions might be implemented on a continuous or regular basis along the duration (and after) of the project. This sequence of activities is jointly understood as ‘adaptive management’, although interpretation and ways of implementation may differ considerably at different projects, and even with different stakeholders at one project.
“The working group aims to provide information on what the objectives of applying AM shall be, what circumstances define options for AM, which conditions need to be fulfilled by various stakeholders and how AM shall be governed during implementation of the project. Finally lessons learned will be presented, based on case histories of (successful) application.”
The Working Group on Environmental Monitoring Procedures (WGEMP), chaired by Dr. Ida Brøker, DHI, Denmark, has as its ambitious objective to answer questions about why, when, what and how monitoring is carried out. The group will produce a Position Paper.
Dr Brøker explained: “The position paper will include definitions of types of monitoring: baseline, compliance, feedback and long-term control monitoring. The paper will discuss how understanding of the physical environment is derived from specific monitoring and existing data and how environmental indicators, their threshold values and relevant response times of the system are used to define the optimal concept for monitoring which, in combination with use of predictive tools, supports planning and in some cases adaptive management of a dredging project. A flow chart will be developed which assists in process of defining the optimal monitoring program.
“Examples will be given of monitoring approaches for different types of projects in different environments, for instance in environments with clear water where turbidity is a key issue and in environments where spreading of pollution is the most critical aspect.”
The time frame for both groups is to deliver their views by November 2014.
Press Release, October 21, 2013