AAPA’s Environmental Improvement Awards are given to ports in four project award categories: Mitigation, Environmental Enhancement, Community/Public Involvement, and Comprehensive Environmental Management. 2001 winners included the ports of Everett, Washington; Houston, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Altamira, Mexico. General award criteria include the level and nature of benefits to environmental quality, beautification or community involvement; creativity; project results; cost effectiveness; and transferability of the technology to the port industry.
Port of Everett – Union Slough Saltmarsh
The Port of Everett’s Union Slough Mitigation Project, constructed in February 2001, included a number of innovative elements in its conversion of 19 acres of diked agricultural land to probable pre-historic habitat types: tidal estuarine marsh and mudflats. The project featured voluntary sediment clean-up with nearshore confined disposal; using a regional planning process; using a tidal habitat quality model; and working behind existing dikes to gain efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. The cost per acre of mitigation provided was about one-third of the average for other industrial port areas in Puget Sound. Since project completion, species including mysids, juvenile salmon, shorebirds, waterfowl and wading birds are using the site. The Union Slough Saltmarsh also includes public access and educational materials.
Port of Houston Authority – Air Quality Improvement Program
The Houston-Galveston area is currently classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as severe non-attainment for ozone, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. The Port of Houston Authority has led community efforts to address air quality issues by developing an area Air Quality Improvement Program. By participating on air quality committees, including local, state and federal regulatory agencies, the Port of Houston has become an air quality resource and advocate. Port staff developed experience and expertise by visiting other non-attainment areas in the U.S. and researching technologies worldwide. The Port became the first organization in its area to demonstrate an emission reduction technology on off-road equipment in an operational setting. Port staff also assisted the local Metropolitan Planning Organization and Council of Governments with securing future funding of grants for demonstration projects.
Comprehensive Environmental Management
Altamira, Mexico – Environmental Challenges and Accomplishments
Among Mexican ports, the Port of Altamira has set new standards for environmental awareness. Its Ecological Order Plan will be the first of its type in Mexico. Over the past two years, the Port has developed environmental management systems that include: a program to protect endangered species; they designed a specific area for a nursery to grow a variety of plants and relocated several ancient trees on port property. The Port also established anti-pollution practices based on simulation models. They have saved more than 50,000 turtles, produced more than 20,000 mangrove plants, and relocated 15 soyate trees. Their Environmental Management System is certified EMS ISO 14001. The Port of Altamira’s environmental efforts have also attracted new business.
Port of Portland – Marine Tenant Program
The Port of Portland’s five marine terminals and tenants have faced difficult, expensive and time-consuming environmental cleanups due to past operations. In order to control potential future environmental liability, the Port of Portland established a Marine Tenant Program. This program is designed to protect the Port’s assets, to protect the surrounding environment, and to encourage environmental stewardship. The program includes environmental education of tenants and staff, development and implementation of environmental Best Management Practices, introductions to agency and industry representatives, and the building of relationships among tenants, the Port, and regulatory agencies. A two-year cooperative effort between the Port and its marine terminal tenants resulted in developing 18 Best Management Practices, establishing excellent relationships with the regulatory community, improving communications and educating tenants and staff on environmental issues.