Welcome. I am pleased to be here at the USGS SEDIMENT WORKSHOP addressing "Sedimentation Technologies and Research needs of the Corps of Engineers for Management of Natural Resources in the 21st Century." This is an opportunity in this era of constrained budgets for agency professionals to network and share information on recent accomplishments and progress in research and technical developments which further our understanding of sedimentation processes, and the impact of sediment on the environment.
I have personal experience in dealing with some fairly significant sedimentation problems. In the aftermath of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. I was impressed with how quickly a natural disaster of this magnitude could affect much of the infrastructure that the Corps had built in that region. Sediment deposits from the initial eruption and the subsequent hydrologic events filled flood control channels placing local communities at risk, the Columbia River Navigation Channel was blocked by sediment, interrupting international shipping and trade, water quality and habitat was severely affected and remains so many years later. Mt. St. Helens happened very suddenly and the effects were very dramatic and obvious. Similar sedimentation processes are going on today, 24 hours every day, the results are just as certain, only less visible since the incremental rate of change is less noticeable.
The effects of sedimentation are significant and have significant physical as well as budgetary effects on the Corps ability to accomplish our many missions. Budgetary pressures will continue to increase in the future. More and more of our budget is being devoted to Operation and Maintenance and less to new construction. The more we spend on maintaining what we have constructed in the past, the less we have available for needed new investments in environmental and water resource projects. That is why development of tools, analytical techniques and equipment that will allow us to do a better job managing our natural and budgetary resources in the future is so important.
To give you a feel for the extent of the problem, let me share a few "gee-whiz" numbers with you. The Corps manages 11.7 million acres of land and 9.9 million surface acres of water behind 569 dams. We maintain over 12,000 miles of commercial navigation channels and 275 locks. We maintain over 627 shallow draft and 299 deep draft harbors. These commercial navigation projects contribute to the efficient movement of over $568 billion in 1994 in foreign trade. The Corps dredges over 280 million cubic yards of sediment every year. The Corps spends over $408M per year or 12% of our total Civil Works budget on maintenance dredging activities.
We have over 8500 miles of levees and manage over 383 major flood control projects resulting in over $17 B in flood damages prevented in 1994 alone.
So my message today is this, much has been accomplished in advancing the science of sedimentology, but much remains to be done. The Interagency Sedimentation Project (FISP) has served the needs of the participating Federal agencies well for the past +50 years. Standardization of equipment and procedures for collecting and analyzing sediment data has been most successful in the free and confident exchange of data and study results among the agencies and the other sectors that rely upon them for information.
More recently, changes in mission of some agencies, evolving public values, and more constrained budgets have resulted in a need to reevaluate the present program of the Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project and reorient its activities to be more responsive to the needs of the participating agencies.
The following are a few of the sediment issues, not in any particular order, confronting the Nation and the Corps of Engineers that we need to consider:
Thanks for the opportunity to be here today. I wish you a productive and enjoyable workshop
Contributions from Other Federal Agencies
Contribution from the USGS