GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 10-12, 2015) –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District is hosting a charette with coastal storm risk management subject matter experts from across the nation to discuss the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study state-federal shared visioning and partnering opportunities at the USACE Galveston District headquarters Aug. 10-12, 2015.
“We’ve made progress toward launching a study that will help us develop a comprehensive characterization of the entire Texas coast and examining the feasibility for recommendations of coastal storm damage risk management and ecosystem restoration projects coast wide,” said Dr. Edmond Russo Jr., deputy district engineer for Programs and Project Management for the USACE Galveston District. “We’re working with partners to determine study needs that also meet the Corps’ planning guidelines.”
Discussions between state and federal members will focus on best avenues to engage key counties and cities in the coastal Texas region and identify partnering opportunities that address coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration.
According to Russo, the purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive outline of the Texas coast that can assist in examining the feasibility for recommendations of coastal storm damage risk management and ecosystem restoration projects.
“These meetings continue to foster partnering relations on shared objectives for managing Texas coastal priorities on current and future potential partnered studies and projects,” said Russo. “We offer a variety of federal programs to assist the public with the preparation of comprehensive plans for the development, use and conservation of water and related land resources along the Texas coast. These programs are either available on a 50 percent federal/50 percent non-federal cost-shared basis, such as under the General Investigations and Planning Assistance to States Programs, or offered at full federal expense, such as under the Floodplain Management Services Program.”
Proposed state and federal partnering initiatives along the Texas coast included a status update of the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Reconnaissance Study, which addressed a summary of the study process, policy guidance, partnering engagements to date, accomplishments and the proposed way forward. Additionally, district staff discussed federal water resources development processes and opportunities for non-federal sponsorship.
“We’re working with local, state and federal agencies to achieve a shared vision that will continue to support a vibrant economy, cultivate a resilient community and encourage a healthy ecosystem,” said Sharon Tirpak, project manager. “We are openly discussing our challenges and sharing our success stories that will help us build awareness of this much needed study while actively identifying barriers that could hinder our progress.”
A series of public workshops were held in 2014 to identify available information and data that could be incorporated into the study. The Reconnaissance Report was completed in May 2015 and discussions continue regarding the path forward for initiation of the study this calendar year. An exemption from the three-year and $3 million rule will be required, due to the size and scope of the study. The charette will focus on determining the level of effort and analyses required to meet Corps requirements for a successful exemption and study that would result in a project recommendation to Congress for construction.
The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The district is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 250 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates. Its main missions include navigation, ecosystem restoration, emergency management, flood risk management and regulatory oversight.
Learn more about the Texas coast at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Missions/TexasCoastValuetotheNation.aspx or view The Texas Coast: Shoring Up Our Future publication at http://www.shoringuptexas.org/. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.