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USA Symposium on preserving and growing working waterfronts

by D. Scott Croft/Sail-World Cruising on 16 Feb 2013
Tacoma, Washington has a successful record in waterfront economic development, waterway restoration, and public engagement, and is the site of the 2013 National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium BoatUS Press Room
Waterfronts in the United States are being squeezed. Traditional activities once considered vital to coastal communities -- boat building, fishing, recreational boating and other water-dependent businesses -- must now compete for limited space on the shoreline. Residential development, zoning changes, shifting populations and energy production are just some of the pressures against a robust working waterfront. There's also a new factor -- more frequent, massive storm events -- that is inflicting massive change, begging the question: 'How should devastated areas be redeveloped?' And if so, what are the best uses for waterfront land?

While these concerns might be applicable in any part of the Western World, the USA is doing something about it by way of a symposium. All of the above topics and more will be presented at the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium in Tacoma, Washington on March 25-28 and presented by Washington / Oregon; Sea Grant Programs. Boat Owners Association of The United States BoatUS; is a Patron Co-Sponsor and created the first Working Waterfronts Symposium in 2007 to draw national attention to the critical loss of recreational boating access. Local policy makers, elected officials, government agencies, planners, economic development, tourism and marine interests, non-profit organizations, community activists, grassroots groups and interested citizens are all invited to attend.

Topics on deck include economic and social impacts of working waterfronts, successful local, regional, state and federal strategies to address working waterfront issues, the future of working waterfronts including the potential impacts of changing climate and how to keep water-dependant businesses commercially viable. Sessions include: Coastal Smart Growth Approaches, Government Funding Programs, Strategies for Recreational and Commercial Fishing, Dynamics of Port Sizes on the West Coast, Sustaining Small Community Waterfronts, as well as Financing Tools, Economic Strategies, Sustainable Seafood and Environmental issues and more.

In one panel, BoatUS Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Ryck Lydecker will discuss the Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program that can help attract cruising boaters to local communities. Shepherded by BoatUS through Congress in1998, the program offers matching grants to build transient slips or moorage for people who travel by boat. 'The BIG Program is the off-ramp and safe parking lot that delivers the economic impact of passing boaters ashore,' said Lydecker.

Lydecker will also represent recreational boating in a symposium wrap-up session intended to chart a course for the future of the nation's working waterfronts.

The Symposium begins March 25 with a full day of field trips around the Tacoma waterfront region. For more information, go to http://depts.washington.edu/uwconf/workingwaterfronts/ or contact Nicole Fagin at wwaters2013@uw.edu or 206-685-8286.
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