Working with Nature – Activities






1st PIANC Working with Nature Award granted on 33rd PIANC World Congress in San Francisco, June 2014



One highlight of the PIANC World Congress in San Francisco, California was the 1st grant of the new PIANC Working with Nature Award. The new WwN Award is the most recent component in the implementation process of the PIANC WwN philosophy. 3 winning projects were selected by the WwN jury out of those 7 international waterborne transport infrastructure projects which received the WwN Certificate of Recognition before. You can quickly flip through the projects in the PIANC WwN Project Booklet 2014. During the Congress, the project managers of these 3 projects presented their projects in a special session and the final winner was announced during the Closing Ceremony of the Congress. EnviCom Chairman Harald Köthe presented the ranking of the three winning projects to the plenary:


·         The 1st winning project was the project ‘New Tidal Area Kreetsand, Elbe River’ from Germany. The responsible project manager from Hamburg Port Authority, Mr Tobias Gehle and Mr Joern Gutbrod were very happy to receive the WwN Award 2014.

·         The 2nd winning project was ‘3 m Navigation Channel Middle Mississippi river’ from the USA (project manager Robert Davinroy from the USACE).

·         the 3rd winning project was ‘Flood Spillway Rees, Rhine River’ from Germany (project manager Dietmar Abel from the Waterway and Shipping Office Duisburg-Rhein).


Since the end of 2012 when the new WwN project database was opened to submit projects for WwN certification via the PIANC WwN website, all in all 16 projects came in until the award deadline until end of 2013. During this time and later for the Award preparations the 6 members of the WwN jury did a great and interesting job and learned a lot about the implemented elements of WwN worldwide which peaked in the grant of the 1st WwN Award on June 5, 2014. WwN jury chair Dr. Elmar Fuchs collected all the jury experiences which were then taken up in the recently adopted PIANC Rules & Regulations. During this technically sophisticated selection it became clear that not all of the 16 projects could fulfil the minimum criteria to get the WwN Certificate. Those project managers were constructively informed about the reasons. Information of all those projects which got the WwN Certificate so far are publicly accessible via the PIANC WwN website to share the technical experiences and to stimulate the submission of further projects.


Call for New Submissions


With the conclusion of the juried selection for the 1st WwN Award during the San Francisco World Congress, PIANC is looking forward to receiving new projects to be submitted for the WwN Certificates of Recognition. The WwN Certificates and WwN logo can be used by the project owners to highlight their project during studies, implementation as well as after completion.


In addition, initiatives, programmes, plans, pilots, research and study projects, which strongly make use of and support the idea of Working with Nature but which are currently not intended to be operationally realised by waterway and port managers, can get the ‘Supporter of WwN’ acknowledgement being highly valuable for promoting the activity.


The PIANC WwN Award is presented once in four years. The Next WwN Award will be granted in 2018 in Panama during the 34th PIANC World Congress. As we also work up to the 2nd WwN Award from now the newly acknowledged projects having been granted a WwN Certificate of Recognition will be automatically in the selection. Your project experiences with elements of WwN are of interest and wanted. Submit your projects here.


Focal Point on Working with Nature


PIANC’s Environmental Commission (EnviCom) is coordinating nearly all activities around the issue of Working with Nature and related activities. To this end, a focal point is present for any interest in, questions to or activities of Working with Nature. The WwN focal point can be addressed to by


Further Working with Nature Activities


Further WwN Activities on and around the PIANC Congress were a special WwN short course on the Sunday prior to the start of the San Francisco Congress, organised and lead by EnviCom members Dr. Todd Bridges and Dr. Susan Rees. This interesting event had presentations by 11 proponents of WwN and several panels addressing regional and local perspectives, innovative approaches and overcoming technical hurdles. In total over 50 individuals participated in the one-day workshop. Efforts are being made to develop a compendium of all the presentations and the panel dialogue which will be made available.


In addition to the WwN short course there was a display as part of the overall PIANC display. Included was a nice large size WwN poster, handouts on the WwN Recognition Award and a booklet was distributed during the Congress about all the projects which got a WwN Certificate so far. A group meeting was also held during lunch to discuss WwN with other Congress participants with over 30 individuals in attendance. This was a very good opportunity to educate people on the WwN philosophy and award and PIANC in general and to invite experts to be nominated for the new PIANC WG 176 to produce a PIANC guidance on WwN. This new WG is going to have its kick-off meeting on February 5, 2015 in Brussels and should issue its report 2018.


Download the photos of the WwN Award 2014 in San Francisco here.


Download the WwN Booklet and the WwN Flyer.


PIANC’s Working with Nature ‘Certificate of Recognition’ and ‘Supporter’




Are you responsible for or involved in an ‘environmentally-ambitious’ navigation infrastructure project?


- Is yours a ‘win-win’ project developed through stakeholder engagement?

- Does your project deliver ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity?

- Were ecosystem services protected and enhanced as a result of your project?

- Does your project use natural processes to achieve its objectives?

- Was sustainability a key driver for your project?


If you responded positively to one or more of these questions, your project may be eligible for a ‘certificate of recognition’ as part of PIANC’s ‘Working with Nature’ initiative. This certificate is available for projects at any stage of implementation showing sufficient use of the Working with Nature philosophy as expressed in the position paper.

If your project is not operational but an initiative, programme, plan, pilot, research or study project, and the activity includes elements of ‘Working with Nature’, it can be the acknowledged as ‘Supporter of WwN’.


Receiving a ‘Working with Nature’ accolade will enable you to promote your project or initiative as an example of international best practice to colleagues, to clients or to competitors. In addition, PIANC will promote your project through its public Working with Nature database on the Internet.  


All operational navigation infrastructure projects which receive a certificate of recognition will automatically be considered as a possible winner of PIANC’s Working with Nature Award: a prestigious award to be presented to a single winner every four years. In addition, also the second and third winning projects are featured.


Participating in PIANC’s Working with Nature initiative will also provide you with an opportunity to establish a network of contacts with like-minded individuals working on similarly innovative projects. And, by adding your project to the knowledge base, you will also contribute to reducing lead times on environmentally ambitious projects.




Submitting a Project


Please enter the Working with Nature database here and submit your project using the online template provided.


Evaluation Criteria


When a project is submitted, the reviewers – a jury of international experts – will be looking for evidence of:


-       How the different elements of the Working with Nature philosophy have been applied;

-       How the project relates to the natural function of the environment without causing damage, disturbance or loss;

-       Whether there is a net gain for nature, for example through an initiative to improve, restore or create habitat. In this respect, please be aware that whilst PIANC understands the importance of mitigation measures designed to reduce adverse environmental impacts, a fundamental principle of ‘Working with Nature’ is that any approach which aims only to limit damage is not sustainable. Working with Nature is about delivering more than mitigation. As a result, projects which only illustrate the mitigation of environmental impacts will not qualify for the Award or for publication in the Working with Nature database.


If you click here you will enter the Working with Nature database and see those projects which have already been granted the certificate of recognition, candidate or recognition and supporter of WwN by the WwN Jury.


Working with Nature – Other Promotional Activities


Since its publication in 2008, PIANC representatives have been actively promoting Working with Nature. Many other organisations have now signed up to or are actively supporting the philosophy it promotes – for example, the EcoShape ‘Building with Nature’ programme and the US Army Corps of Engineers ‘Engineering with Nature’ initiative.


PIANC is keen to monitor progress with the promotion and adoption of Working with Nature. To this end, we would be grateful if you would submit any information on relevant initiatives in order that we can record the promotion of the Paper and the uptake of the philosophy. If you have been involved in making presentations, etc. – or are aware of events or publications where the Working with Nature philosophy is being promoted – please advise PIANC of the following:


-       Name(s) and affiliation(s) of speaker(s) or meeting participants, or the name of the relevant publication

-       Location of the event, etc., if applicable

-       Date of event of the publication

-       Organiser of the event or publisher if a publication

-       Title of presentation (if applicable), link to website(s) and many other relevant information


A record of some of the events, publications, etc. which have already promoted Working with Nature can be found by clicking here.


If you are interested in helping PIANC to promote Working with Nature, please send an e-mail to, providing details about your intended initiative and we may be able to provide you with a standard presentation designed to help communicate and promote the philosophy.  


Working with Nature – LinkedIn Group

The Working with Nature Correspondence Group, which aimed to encourage those who have an interest in promoting and implementing the Working with Nature philosophy to contribute to the process, has now been replaced by a LinkedIn Group: search LinkedIn for 'PIANC Working with Nature' or go to

Working with Nature – Photography Competition


As part of the preparation of PIANC’s MMX Congress, held in Liverpool, UK in May 2010, a photographic competition was organised.  The purpose of this competition was to capture a series of memorable images for use by PIANC in its publicity for the Congress and beyond.  One of the two themes of this competition was Working with Nature.  Entrants were asked to illustrate how navigation can co-exist with – or indeed benefit - the natural environment.  The competition was judged by Colin McPherson, an award-winning photojournalist and freelance photographer based in Liverpool.  


The winning photograph, entitled 'Bracciano Lake' by Leo Franco, is shown below, along with the runner-up ‘In the evening’, by Matt J. Niemi. Other entries in this category, including those ‘highly commended’ by Colin McPherson, can be viewed by clicking here.



Bracciano Lake’ – Leo Franco


‘In the evening’ – Matt J. Niemi



Working with Nature – Introduction

Working with Nature and Climate Change

Working with Nature – Position Paper

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