WJ Editorial

New Year, New Dredging And Infrastructure Focus At WJ

The new year is a good time to remind readers of The Waterways Journal of changes arriving in how we cover dredging and marine construction issues.

Over the past few years, infrastructure issues have moved to the forefront of public awareness in new ways. Unprecedented floods, as well as hurricanes and other natural events, have drawn public attention to infrastructure—including waterways infrastructure—again and again. That’s partly because such events are tied into a rising concern about climate change.

Besides natural events, a number of advocacy groups have helped raise awareness of the sad state of our infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers issues an infrastructure “report card” every four years. Since 2001, the overall infrastructure grade for America has hovered around the “D” range. (In the latest version, the inland waterways got a straight “D”.) The recent formation of new groups like the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative has also furthered and foregrounded the discussion over river infrastructure.

Industry national advocacy groups like The American Waterways Operators, Waterways Council Inc., the National Waterways Conference and others continue to work toward highlighting solutions with their own media production and outreach efforts, as well as their “inside the Beltway” work building bipartisan support for waterways infrastructure.

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We plan on doing our part to draw more attention to infrastructure needs as well. This year, six special print issues of The Waterways Journal will focus on dredging, marine construction and civil engineering projects and the companies that do that work along the inland, intracoastal and coastal waters of the United States. They will include an additional focus on important waterway infrastructure, including ports, locks and dams, bridges and other aids to navigation.

This is the first of these special issues, where readers will be able to read about the Memphis Engineer District’s Dredge Hurley and the district’s dredging program, review recently awarded contracts and other dredging and infrastructure news.

We hope that these special issues will not only add to the value of a WJ subscription but will contribute to the widening awareness and discussion of the infrastructure and dredging issues that greatly affect our waterways and the commerce of our country.