Major Progress on Top Issues, LCA Says
Prospects for ending the dredging crisis and resolving other pressing issues on the Great Lakes are the best in 12 years, said Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA), the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the inland seas, in its State of the Lakes report issued yesterday.
Only uniform, Federal regulation of ballast water remains elusive, particularly since Canada has yet to issue its ballast water regulations.
The greatest progress has been made on the dredging crisis. Just a few years ago more than 18 million cubic yards of sediment clogged ports and waterways and the backlog was projected to grow. Now, the backlog is down to approximately 17 million cubic yards and shrinking.
LCA credits passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 for turning the tide. The legislation designated the Lakes a system in terms of dredging and directed that expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be incrementally increased until they reach 100 percent of receipts (in 2025).
“Treating the Lakes as a system rather than pitting the 60 Federally maintained deep draft ports against one another for dredging dollars and increased funding should allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the dredging backlog every year going forward,” declares LCA.