I attended a recent California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference (CMANC) meeting in Layfayette. This was my first meeting since being elected to the Board of Directors. What does CMANC do or what is it?
“CMANC is a consortium of California harbors, ports and marine interest groups. The mission of CMANC is to optimize California maritime benefits by providing advocacy for the maintenance and improvement of California harbors, ports and navigation projects. CMANC works with the California legislature and congressional delegation to make sure that California maritime interests are supported by the federal and state government to the greatest extent possible.”
It was nice to hear other ports issues and how they came up with solutions. CMANC is helping lobby for Humboldt Bay harbor dredge budget to be raised from 3.1 million to CMANC’s recommendation of 7.8 million. Dredging spoils were discussed in the morning and challenges for beneficial reuse projects. Duck’s Unlimited representative Steven Carroll spoke to the need of mud in the bay area in a place called Cullinan. The issue is off loading the mud to the area. Consultant Ellen Johnck outlined a potential South Bay Salt Pont restoration project at Eden Landing, near the Port of Redwood City. Dr. Michael MacWilliams explained how the tide marshes will not be able to keep pace with sea level rise. Dredge spoils are targeted to use 40% in reuse purposes in the San Francisco bay. The problem? There are no off loaders available for reuse. No contractors are willing to take a 10 million dollar risk investment so this is a real problem for the future.
In the afternoon Joe Calara of the United States Army Core of Engineers (USACE) explained that 40% of all imports comes through California Ports and International trade represents 40% of the state’s economy. Dredging represents 400 billion in US commerce. US Marine transportation represents 2 Trillion dollars in commerce and employs 13 million people! $953 Billion Dollars in Freight flows in Northern California.
Alameda County Transportation Commission Executive Director pointed out 33% of all jobs in Alameda is goods movement related. His organizations budget is $320 million dollars. Oakland is the 5th largest Port in the US.
Newport Harbor boss Chris Miller spoke to their harbor’s eel Grass issues. Their goal was to develop a more effective useful maintenance dredge permit approach; Independent on ecosystem based approach for eel grass management. They are going to use Regional General Permits that are developed to avoid unnecessary regulatory control over activities that do not justify individual control or which are adequate. So for the 11 to 15 ft that are being proposed as individual dredge projects combined stay at 16.8 acres, they will only have to mitigate or replant .84 acres. And each parcel owner can use their own plans for replanting the eel grass.
Port of Oakland Principle Assistant to the Executive Director Jean Baker gave a summary of opportunities and challenges of their port and how they are handling bigger ships that need longer berths, deeper channels and higher cranes. Even though updates on under carriages for trucks and better road ability, there is still congestion with ships backing up because of a shortage of labor. The port and their contractor PMA agreed with the hiring of 150 more longshoremen and the ability to have the “gangs” at full working capacity. (There are currently 423 “casuals.” That will help the turn time for terminal operators. The Port Efficiency Task Force is also looking into open on Saturdays. (Currently the port only operates Monday through Friday 7am to 5pm.) The Howard property next to Jack London square is being considered for a new sports arena. The transportation of coal through Oakland is looming in the future even though the coal industry is stagnant currently.
The Short Sea Shipping project or the Maritime Highway 5 project was less than a success with only 40 containers actually moved and the project being subsidized by Stockton. There was also the issue of strange floating vegetation that was several feet deep and causing problems in the waterways.