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JULY 2013

Celebrating Completion of the 17th Street Dock On 20 June 2013, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the completion of the 17th Street Dock celebrated the long-term relationship between the City of Astoria and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), as well as Astoria’s placement in maritime history as the gateway from the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. Completed in less than a year, the 17th Street Dock is home to two 210-foot-long USCG mediumendurance cutters, the Steadfast and the Alert. The dock is also home to the The newly dedicated 17th Street Dock is home to two USCG cutters, the Steadfast and the Alert. Lightship Columbia, which is a National Historic Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and an The new dock, designed by BergerABAM, was constructed exhibit that is part of the adjacent Columbia River Maritime by Bergerson Construction of Astoria. To meet Marine Museum; and sternwheeler-type Columbia River tour boats Mammal Protection Act regulations, 110 piles were installed and small pleasure craft. during the month of October 2012. This aggressive schedule saved the City thousands of dollars in mammal-monitoring The old dock was constructed of timber and had reached costs and avoided potential project delays. the end of its serviceable life. Portions of it were deteriorated to the point that vehicle access had to be restricted, making it difficult to refuel and resupply the USCG’s ships. Maintaining a wooden dock in serviceable condition was costly to the City. Replacing the dock with one constructed of concrete and steel was a significant upgrade that not only allows fueling and supply vehicles to access the ships, but now provides capacity for forklifts and a 40-ton mobile crane to make minor repairs to the ships.

The dock is a public facility, and architectural features of the adjacent museum were carried across the plaza to the dock lighting. The new dock effectively connects residents and visitors with both the history and current activities of Astoria’s important waterfront, allowing visitors a closer view at the moored cutters and an occasional opportunity to interact with USCG crew members. In addition, tours of (continued on page 2)

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the cutters are available from time to time, and change-ofcommand ceremonies are held in the plaza next to the dock. In this way, and in the many other special efforts to acknowledge the professional work of the Coast Guard men and women, the City welcomes and celebrates the presence of the USCG in the community, a trait that has earned Astoria its designation as an official “Coast Guard City.”

A ceremony was held to celebrate completion of the new addition to the City’s waterfront.

A video of the 17th Street Dock throughout its construction can be seen at this website:

Rain Gardens

How Does Your Garden Drain?

When it comes to rain, it’s well known that the Pacific North”wet” is at the top of the list for soggy weather in the continental U.S. and southwest Canada. Though the western Washington, western Oregon, south Alaskan, and British Columbia areas harbor a plethora of gardeners, every one of them knows what it is like to slog through muddy yards and gardens for the sake of future crops of lovely flowers and vegetables. But waterlogged lawns are just Rain gardens are shallow landscape areas designed to part of the problem with such capture, filter, and infiltrate stormwater. wet weather. With increasing urbanization and development, the rain that nourishes our lush greenery now runs over and off our concrete and asphalt sidewalks and streets, scouring the various oils, pesticides, and other contaminants into our stormwater drains. From there, this runoff goes unfiltered into our streams and rivers, not only polluting our waters, but causing erosion and mudslides, depletion of groundwater sources, flooding of low-lying areas, and damaged property. According to the Puget Sound Partnership, stormwater is the number 1 polluter of Puget Sound, and has harmed salmon, trout, and shellfish. Biofiltration—used in low impact development, best management practices—is the win-win solution that, if built correctly, helps remove pollutants from stormwater runoff, nourishes plants, and then helps clean water (continued on page 3)


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filter into local waterways and even into the groundwater. A process in which the landscape, plants, and soil are used to filter out pollution, biofiltration construction is not only useful to minimize runoff and drainage problems, but can also be a beautiful addition to any garden, whether commercial building or private home. Using appropriate vegetation, and depending on how the water is collected and distributed, it can also reduce the cost of landscape maintenance by using rainwater rather than piped water to irrigate the landscape. Bioretention areas, popularly known as “rain gardens,” are one type of biofiltration. A favorite for many gardeners and landscapers, used in smaller sites of about 5 acres or less, a rain garden is a depression in the ground that filters the runoff vertically (instead of horizontally, such as in bioswale channels) through layers of carefully prepared mulch and soil, and then often into a storm drain, although it’s possible to have the runoff filter partially or completely into the groundwater. The advantage of a rain garden is that it can be installed in almost any soil or landscape that has a relatively shallow slope, if the man-made soil is properly customized to the native soil. The native soil has to be evaluated carefully so that the right soil, gravel, mulch, plants, and other filtration devices can be properly layered for it to work. If the native soil does not drain properly, you will either have to find another location, or replace the soil with a better-draining one. Plants. Regardless of the type of biofiltration, care must be taken to select plants for the rain garden’s microclimate. Though the Pacific Northwest is known for being very rainy, not all areas have the exact same conditions of soil, moisture, wind, and other environmental conditions. In addition, the depth and size of a rain garden or bioswale, and how much water drains into it, how much it retains, and seasonal variations are additional considerations. Both native and climate-appropriate plants can be used, although for easy maintenance, native plants are preferred. It’s also important that the plants are chosen appropriately for the three zones of a rain garden: the upper edges, slopes,

Vegetated swales are integrated into parking lots to infiltrate and treat a portion of stormwater volume.

and bottoms, because of the different moisture conditions of these three zones. Luckily, the Pacific Northwest has plenty of beautiful native plants that thrive in rain gardens. Some well-known ones are lady ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) and sword ferns (Polystichum munitum), camas flowers (Camassia quamash), and the native Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana). Flowering Pacific dogwood trees (Cornus nuttallii), red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), and vine maples (Acer circinatum) not only look nice in the spring and summer but give color to the landscape in fall. Are you a bird watcher? Add some red huckleberries (Vaccinium parvifolium), Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and salal bushes (Gaultheria shallon) to attract your feathered friends. Shady areas can also be filled with such plants as the maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), rushes (Juncus species), and bleeding hearts (Dicentra formosa). If all this seems like a lot of work for even the most earnest gardener, in the long run, it’s not. Once the biofiltration area is established, it requires much less maintenance than a lawn because it doesn’t need to be mowed, fertilized, or watered. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, use of native or climateappropriate plants can decrease outdoor water use by 50 percent, which can mean a considerable decrease in water bills.

Editors / Writers Jana Roy Dee Young Lynn Enebrad Karen Harbaugh Nora Bretaña Design and Production Jana Roy

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Earn Commercial Dive Certification

It is no secret that BergerABAM provides underwater inspection using engineer-divers and has been providing this service for decades. What you may not be aware of is that six members of the dive team earned commercial dive certification earlier this year, while two others gained credit toward future certification. In the past, qualifications for the engineer-diver were nonexistent. In 2008, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a revision to engineering manual EM385-1-1, which required additional qualifications for engineer-divers working on Department of Defense (DoD) projects like those for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and USACE. In order to stay abreast of those training requirements, 10 members of the BergerABAM dive team received additional training in the summer of 2005. An update to the EM385 regulations is due out later this year and in order to stay current with the changing requirements once again, BergerABAM needed to have commercially certified divers with a professional engineering license. To comply with all commercial diving regulations, the BergerABAM dive team chose to complete training accredited through the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC). The DCBC certification satisfies all agency standards within the federal government. “The certification is not something private sector clients or even the ports require,” said Diving Officer Scott Branlund, “but it enables compliance to work with various branches of the Department of Defense.” However, training an entire group of key personnel for any length of time is hard to schedule for any organization, as well as costly. Finding a program in the local area was key to making it possible. The Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) in Seattle is one of only five schools in the United States accredited by the DCBC. “We were fortunate to be able to train locally,” explained Dive Supervisor Mike Wray. “This cut down on our time away from the office and reduced travel costs significantly.” Mike Wray worked with the DIT staff to develop a customized training course for the BergerABAM team. In September 2012, nine members of the dive team attended the training on such topics as diving physics, safety, equipment, hyperbaric chamber operations, and emergency practices during operational SCUBA and surface-supplied air dives. Newer team members spent the first two weeks in the rigorous training program that included enduring commercial-level diving assessments and emergency practice drills. Experienced divers, Mike Wray, Scott Branlund, and Matt Perry, were able to forego the two-week session by demonstrating a battery of skills and proceeded through the final assessment. To stay certified as a commercial diver, the divers are required to complete various diving scenarios and maintain a minimum log of dive hours each year. They also participate in annual training drills on the latest practices regarding both safety and equipment. USACE is not the only organization with proposed language governing engineer-divers. The American Society of Civil Engineers has been proposing to introduce a standard that would also require commercial certification for all engineer-led dive inspections. The proposed language for this standard has been in the draft stage for a couple of years, but the DCBC commercial-diver certification should meet the requirements of this as well. BergerABAM pioneered the use of engineer-divers in 1980 to meet the increasing demand for high-quality underwater inspection services. Since then, the company’s dive team has grown to a staff of 18, including 11 divers and 7 tenders. Logging approximately 40 dive days per year, the BergerABAM dive team has performed assignments ranging from simple underdock inspections to the intense Tacoma Narrows Bridge inspection. For more than 30 years, BergerABAM engineer-divers have completed successful projects while maintaining an impeccable safety record.


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Ports ‘13:

Advancing Port and Harbor Engineering

“Ports: Success through Diversification” is the theme for the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE’s) Ports 2013 Conference, to be held in Seattle, Washington, from 25 through 28 August at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. BergerABAM will be participating as exhibitors, presenters, cochairs, and facilitators at this conference. The conference is held every three years and is the premier event for the marine/waterfront industry. The conference presentations provide the latest development and technical research in port- and harbor-related concerns, and will focus on a broad spectrum of items of interest to an international audience of waterway, port, harbor, and marine professionals. Presentations and papers will include such topics as planning, financing, permitting, designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, and securing port and maritime facilities. Short courses will be offered, from such topics as vessel berthing and mooring, to marina design and port sustainability. The conference includes networking with top professionals in the industry, with exhibits showcasing innovations in design, technology, and equipment. Students

and young professionals are encouraged to participate in a special reception to help familiarize them with the conference, as well as promote learning and networking opportunities. The ASCE has invited authors whose abstracts were submitted to publish their papers and make presentations at the conference, among them BergerABAM attendees who coauthored 23 papers and will be presenting 20. A listing of all 23 papers is presented below. BergerABAM will also participate as technical program committee cochairs, technical session facilitators, and exhibiting a booth display. As the world’s economic and global conditions change, so do the needs and development of port and harbor facilities. BergerABAM’s presence at this important conference will display the company’s commitment to finding solutions to the complex problems that confront port owners, operators, and developers as these changes happen—solutions that can save time and reduce cost in an often uncertain economic climate.


Inside/Out Newsletter | Summer 2013 | Issue 50  

BergerABAM is a consulting firm offering services in the areas of planning, civil and structural engineering, environmental services, public...

Inside/Out Newsletter | Summer 2013 | Issue 50  

BergerABAM is a consulting firm offering services in the areas of planning, civil and structural engineering, environmental services, public...