The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) has won AAPA’s Community/Public Involvement Award for its bold expression of trust in local civic judgment. After years of contentious relations with local citizen groups on dredged material placement sites, MPA decided to relinquish control over a significant portion of its planning process to local communities. It hired a consulting firm, EcoLogix, with established ties to local and regional environmental groups to provide outreach services, and gave that firm free reign to fully engage citizens as equal partners. The company contacted local business leaders and state and county government representatives in planning and environmental departments to set up "The Harbor Team" of stakeholders, MPA committed a support group of staff and engineers to provide the team with existing dredged material program analysis and collected new data as well. Team members learned to work together to formulate recommendations for managing dredged material within the community. Practical implications of those recommendations are now being reviewed, and the Team has been commended as "a model of effective citizen involvement."
The Port of Portland, Oregon, has established a port-wide system to set and meet annual environmental objectives as part of its policy of practicing responsible environmental stewardship. Each year since the program was instituted in 2001, new port-wide targets have been established, tracked, and completed to minimize port impacts to air and water quality and to natural resources, and to reduce waste, energy consumption, and the use of hazardous materials. More than 75 employees at all levels are organized as cross-functioning teams to develop the objectives and monitor progress throughout the year. The program uses an EMS continuous improvement process, so that each year the program undergoes review and adjustment.
A successful program to reduce diesel emissions at the Port of Long Beach has had a significant impact at one of the nation’s busiest seaports in an area with some of the nation’s worst air quality. The program has reduced emissions from the in-use fleet of tenant-owned vehicles within the port that go beyond regulatory limits.
The port effected these changes by evaluating available emissions control technologies and alternative fuels, then providing a choice of options to tenant operators and fleet managers who voluntarily applied for program assistance. Funding for equipment purchase and installation was provided from EPA and the California Air Resources Board, with $1 million contributed by the port. Since the program’s inception in 2001, over 600 Diesel Oxidation Catalysts have been installed at seven terminals, yielding annual emission reductions of 16 tons of particulate matter and 79 tons of nitrous oxides, improving the quality of life for Long Beach residents and promoting economic activity at the port.
Award-winner Port Manatee is cited as an outstanding example of environmental mitigation for transforming a 60-acre island of dredged material into an inviting seabird nesting habitat in Florida’s Tampa Bay estuary. To mitigate the impact of its first expansion in 20 years, the port authority used an approach of addressing critical ecosystem needs rather than strict in-kind mitigation. It engaged Audubon of Florida to design the restoration of the state-owned spoil island, created by dredged material from initial construction of the port. The island was cleared of invasive vegetation and redesigned with graded areas, native plantings, tidal creeks, and a water-retention area to favor ground-nesting seabirds. Two seasons later the habitat has exceeded expectations with 82 species of birds, 18 nesting, including over 50 pairs of Least Terns, a threatened species.
Port Manatee secured outside funding for the project by partnering with Gulfstream Natural Gas System in a permitting arrangement. Port staff performs day-to-day management operations for the project, and plans to use the project as a centerpiece for community involvement in a public education system.