EnviCom WG 175: A Practical Guide to Environmental Risk Management (ERM) for Navigation Infrastructure Projects (2019)

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Press release

Previous EnviCom Working Groups have developed procedures addressing various aspects of environmental risk assessment of dredging and dredged material disposal related to waterborne transport infrastructure, providing a scientific basis for making decisions based on environmental risk assessment data. However, these reports did not specifically address methodologies for managing environmental risks.  Recognising this gap, an effort was undertaken to develop a practical guide derived from existing methods and approaches for informing decision makers managing environmental risk associated with waterborne transport infrastructure projects.

The report is intended to provide technical guidance to decision makers regarding the risk management process. It describes a methodology to inform risk management decisions for the comprehensive range of hazards and environmental risks pertinent to waterborne transport infrastructure.  

The aim of this guidance is to support sound decision making and build on a number of key themes, including:

  • environmental risks should be considered in concert with human health and safety concerns, operational needs, economic constraints and societal/cultural requirements.
  • project performance is dramatically improved when environmental risk management (ERM) is considered as early as possible in the project life cycle.
  • early and ongoing stakeholder engagement is fundamental to project success. Being clear on what stakeholders value and including these values in the decision-making process ensures that risk management decisions are informed, defendable and transparent.
  • continuity during the transition from environmental risk assessment to environmental risk management should be ensured so that the risk assessment properly informs risk management decision making.
  • the principles of adaptive management are essential in responding to change during project delivery, and can further enrich the project when considered in a life-of-asset context.
  • early consideration of the concepts of ‘net environmental benefit’, ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘Working with Nature’ help ensure positive environmental outcomes and often help to reduce costs and long-term liabilities over the project life cycle.
  • Written by: EnviCom WG175
  • Published: October 24, 2019