This time last year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District was managing a challenging scenario fueled by heavy rains during the dry season and early part of the wet season, forcing them to release billions of gallons of water from Lake Okeechobee to protect the Herbert Hoover Dike.Col. Jason Kirk, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Commander, said in its latest announcement that the rehabilitation of the dike continues as quickly as possible.“Over the past year, we completed a study that identified the remaining features necessary to finish the job. We conducted this study while we continued replacing water control structures in the dike. These structures were prone to erosion and their replacement reduces the risk of dike failure,” said Kirk.“We have now taken action on 24 of the 32 water control structures that we need to address around the dike. We plan to award contracts this year to replace three more structures and will award a contract to resume construction of a seepage barrier west of Belle Glade. This initial contract will construct the first six miles of the 35 miles of barrier we plan to install. “Additionally, the Florida Legislature recently passed a measure authorizing the State to contribute $50 million towards dike rehabilitation. We are looking into the next steps needed to be able to accept these funds. “North of Lake Okeechobee, we continue to restore the Kissimmee River. The work we have completed to date has slowed the flow of water into the lake. Last summer, we began the planning process for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project. When we complete this study, we anticipate a report that will detail options for northern storage, giving us more flexibility in the timing of flows into the lake itself.”East of the lake, work continues on the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area.The Corps continues to construct the reservoir, while their partners at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) build the stormwater treatment area and the reservoir’s pump station. The SFWMD is also working on the C-43 Reservoir west of the lake.
Norwegian transportation company The Fjords has taken delivery of its zero emission passenger vessel, Future of The Fjords.Featuring a length of 42 meters, the all-electric catamaran will begin operation in mid-May, making around 700 yearly round trips along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen.The Fjords said that this is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emission free transport through the Western Norwegian landscape.Future of The Fjords is the sister ship to Vision of The Fjords, a diesel electric hybrid launched in 2016. Although both ships are designed and constructed by Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, they are very different.“Vision of The Fjords was an important development for us, but we had the ambition to take it one step further and replace the diesel electric propulsion with all-electric – thus eradicating all noise and emissions to air for the entire route. Future of The Fjords does just that, minimising its impact on the environment while maximising the experience of passengers,” Rolf Sandvik, The Fjords CEO, said.The NOK 144 million vessel is propelled by two 450kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots. Additionally, The Fjords has, in partnership with Brødrene Aa, developed a unique charging solution called the Power Dock.With a length of 40 meters and a width of 5 meters, the floating glass fibre dock will sit in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2.4 MWh battery pack. This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge the Future of The Fjords directly. The solution allows the vessel to ‘refill’ in just 20 minutes.