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Navigation Infrastructure

The Great Lakes constitute one of our nation’s major marine transportation systems and are a vital part of both our region’s and our nation’s economic infrastructure. Unfortunately, a combination of factors is reducing their economic viability, including reduced funding for dredging, lower water levels in the lakes, diminishing options for disposing of dredged material and an aging navigation infrastructure. Several years of inadequate funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) operation and maintenance budget for the Great Lakes have created a 17 million cubic yard, $200 million backlog for dredging of channels and harbors to their authorized sizes. Shallow-draft recreational harbors in the Great Lakes (14 feet of authorized depth or less) are also impacted by a severe dredging backlog. Other navigation infrastructure on the Great Lakes – including piers and breakwaters – is also in need of critical attention. There are more than 100 miles of these structures on the lakes, many serving not only as navigation aids, but also protecting valuable coastal zones and urban waterfronts from storm surges and flooding. More than 75 percent of this infrastructure is already over 60 years old, and is now becoming even more vulnerable due to low water levels, which expose – and further deteriorate – weakened timber crib core sections.


Legislative Activities

Senate Committee Hearing on Water Resources Development Act of 2010
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (2010-05-06)
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold the first hearing on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2010. The hearing will focus on the job creation and economic development opportunities associated with water resources projects, including ports, inland waterways, and flood control.

House Subcommittee Hearing on Water Resources Development Act of 2010
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (2010-04-15)
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing to receive testimony on proposals for the Water Resources Development Act of 2010. Testimony is expected from Theodore Brown, Chief of Planning, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps); Steve Fitzgerald, National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies; Barry Holliday, Dredge Contractors of America; Steve Little, Crounse Corp.; Bob Bendick, The Nature Conservancy; and Kirk Fordham, Everglades Foundation.

House Committee on the Water Resources Development Act of 2007
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (2010-03-03)
The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will meet to receive testimony on the implementation of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA 2007) in its third year. This hearing is being conducted under the general oversight responsibilities of the Committee and under the requirements of clauses 2(n), (o), and (p) of Rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives.



Legislative Priorities

 Great Lakes Icebreaking

 Navigation Operations & Maintenance

 Sault Ste. Marie Lock

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Updated: September 16, 2014
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