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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL WORKING WATERFRONT NETWORK
May 2, 2013
Working waterfronts are a major contributor to the economy and deserve national focus
Waterfronts and the activities that depend on them, such as shipping, fishing and transportation, have played a central role in shaping our nation’s history and they remain a significant driver of the nation’s economy and culture. Activity associated with America’s ocean and Great Lakes waterfronts accounts for 3.41 percent of total U.S. Gross Domestic Product and 4.85 percent of total employment, representing some 130,855 businesses employing 2.4 million full-time and part-time employees, according to new research released in March by the National Working Waterfront Network.
Today, goods and people move through 3,200 cargo and passenger facilities and 360 commercial ports in the United States. International trade via seaports is expected to significantly increase in the near future. Cargo and container ships are joined by tankers, barges, ferries, tugboats, cruise ships, and recreational watercraft, all of which are equally dependent on marine infrastructure and access to the coast. These waterfronts are not just on the ocean, but also the Great Lakes and 12,000 miles of inland waterways, extending the reach of working waterfront concerns to nearly all 50 states.
These numbers are from a recent economic analysis conducted by the National Working Waterfront Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
“The economic impacts of working waterfronts have been difficult to quantify, because of the diversity of water-dependent uses that make up the waterfront, from tiny marinas, boat yards, and fish houses, to industrial ports, shipping, and transportation,” said Bob Swett of Florida Sea Grant, one of the authors of the study. The researchers relied upon detailed establishment-level data on employment and value added for more than 20 different water-dependent industry sectors available from the National Ocean Economics Program.
The economic study was part of the “Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit” released last month at the third National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium in Tacoma, hosted by Washington and Oregon Sea Grant programs.
In addition to the research findings on the economic value of waterfronts, the Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit contains information about the historic and current uses of waterfront space, and identifies legal, policy, and financing tools that can be used to preserve, enhance, and protect waterfronts at local and regional levels, such as zoning and design standards, financing and tax approaches, research and mapping, conservation and restoration.
“The Symposium presented an ideal opportunity to get the toolkit into the hands of people who can use it to make a difference on their waterfront,” said Stephanie Showalter Otts, National Working Waterfront Network co-chair and director of the National Sea Grant Law Center, one of the lead institutions on the Toolkit project.
Working waterfronts need national as well as local attention, as expressed by many of the speakers at the Tacoma symposium, including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and state Sen. Kevin Ranker; Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development; and Kyle Molten of the office of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.
As vital as working waterfronts are to the nation, they are at risk.
Working waterfronts share coastal real estate with a disproportionately large and growing segment of the U.S. population. Port authorities, city planners, conservation organizations, and the business community are among the many interests working to balance these varied and sometimes competing uses while addressing multiple challenges. Communities often lack an understanding of how waterfronts work. It can be difficult to garner political support for needed physical improvements. The pressures to convert valuable marine infrastructure to non-water-dependent uses, such as residences, offices and even sports stadiums, is constant.
Yet working waterfronts are unique and irreplaceable. Whether they date back decades or centuries, working waterfronts have developed in very different political and regulatory climates and could not be replicated under current standards. Given no or limited opportunity for new or expanded working waterfronts, capacity to accommodate marine commerce and industry is more or less fixed in most areas.
These sentiments are echoed by some of the 18 recommendations put forward by the National Working Waterfront Network, calling on political leaders to:
- Recognize the importance of working waterfronts at the highest level of government in policies, guidance documents, and federal actions; and analyze the best government policies to protect current working waterfront uses.
- Ensure no net loss of working waterfronts by creating and maintaining a national inventory of working waterfronts, including those no longer in use but with a potential future use.
- Document cultural aspects of working waterfronts and their role in coastal communities.
- Facilitate a national conversation about how current and emerging issues, such as sea-level rise and coastal storms, threaten working waterfronts.
While the exact future of any working waterfront is not always predictable, what is known is that they are unique places that support and preserve future economic opportunities, recreational access, and the cultural heritage of our nation’s coasts.
The National Working Waterfront Network is comprised of businesses, industry associations, nonprofits, local governments and communities, state and federal agencies, universities, Sea Grant programs, and individuals dedicated to supporting, preserving, and enhancing our nation’s working waterfronts and waterways. To learn more about the research findings, the toolkit, and working waterfront initiatives around the country, visit www.wateraccessus.com
reblogged by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee via Dr. Roberta Weisbrod, Chair, Working Harbor Committee
The Working Harbor. photos Mitch Waxman
Hidden Harbor Newark Bay Tour
One of Working Harbor Committee’s most popular tours, the 2-hour Newark Bay tour visits Erie Basin, home of Hughes Brothers Barges and Reinauer Tugs before crossing the harbor to “tugboat alley”– the Kill Van Kull, the area’s busiest waterway dividing Staten Island and Bayonne, NJ.
Container Ship on the Kill Van Kull. photo: Mitch Waxman
Passing tug yards, oil docks and marine repair facilities, and on to the giant container ports of Newark Bay, Port Newark and Port Elizabeth where the world’s largest container ships tie up.
Container Port. photo Mitch Waxman
On the return trip, we pass by Military Ocean Terminal, Robbins Reef Lighthouse and another container port. Our Hidden Harbor tour also visits the 9/11 Teardrop Memorial, the only tour to feature this unique memorial.
Captain John Doswell narrates. photo: Mitch Waxman
Captain John Doswell will be joined by a special guest speaker on the June 19th tour. Pete Johansen, COO of Great American Lines, a company with a proven performance record providing ocean transportation of both automotive and refrigerated cargoes for two-way trading on the same vessel.
Mr Johansen will speak about the importance of his company to our working waterfronts, the role of port terminals, types of goods we import/export and how goods are loaded and unloaded at our ports.
WHC’s Hidden Harbor Tours of New York and New Jersey’s working waterfront explores the fascinating hidden world of working maritime vessels and facilities and their vital role in our area’s economic well-being. Our tours are narrated by maritime historians and experts, tugboat captains and others intimately involved with the working harbor.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
Want to know where your car entered port? Where your trash goes? What we export in those huge container ships?
Welcome to the Hidden Harbor’s working waterfront. The world of working maritime vessels and facilities is both fascinating as well as vitally important to our area’s economic well being.
On June 5th, our 2012 summer season of Hidden Harbor® tours kicks off with our 2-hour Brooklyn tour.
Thornton Tugboat, WHC Hidden Harbor Tour. photo Mitch Waxman
The Brooklyn Hidden Harbor tour starts from South Street Seaport, and goes up the East River to the former Brooklyn Navy Yard, passing under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The Navy Yard has three large graving docks and an active shipyard, as well as the home port of FDNY’s fireboat division where one of NYC’s newest fireboats, Firefighter II, calls home.
, WHC Hidden Harbor Tour. photo Mitch Waxman
We tour past Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Red Hook Container Terminal, Atlantic Basin, and Erie Basin, home of Hughes Brothers Barges and Reinauer Tugs, before continuing on to Gowanus Bay and the Sunset Park waterfront, home of the former Bush Terminals.
We wrap-up all of our Hidden Harbor tours with a photo-op moment at the Statue of Liberty before returning to Pier 16.
Loujaine moored in Gowanus Bay, WHC Hidden Harbor Tour. photo Mitch Waxman
Our Hidden Harbor tours are offered throughout the summer, and are narrated by maritime experts who know the harbor intimately – port officials, tugboat captains, maritime historians and many other experts.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee