Story by Sandra Arnold
Public Affairs Office
Nearly three decades have passed since Suhail Idriss began working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District as a structural engineer. Co-workers have come and gone and technology continues to rapidly change but in the midst of all of these transformations, one thing remains the same – his devotion to civil service.
“As a taxpayer I am privileged to be entrusted to perform the duties of the U.S. government office,” said Idriss. “It is a great pleasure to fulfill the duties of the office.”
Idriss is entrusted with managing a diverse group of projects ranging from contributing to feasibility studies to overseeing environmental ecosystem restoration projects as the Boulevard Resaca at Brownsville.
According to Idriss, the Boulevard Resacas at Brownsville project, located along the Rio Grande River in the southern half of Cameron County, Texas, consists of approximately 25 acres of former channels of the Rio Grande River that have been cut off from the river, having no inlet or outlet as a result of siltation of the oxbow channels and loss of critical native aquatic and riparian habitat.
“The riparian vegetation, found exclusively in resaca and riparian corridors of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, have been designated by Texas Parks and Wildlife as habitats critically imperiled with extinction or elimination,” said Idriss. “Over the years, portions of the Resacas have become bottomland with the remaining stretches of channel having formed into a series of unconnected horseshoe bends with impacted habitat.”
Idriss explains that the district and its partner, the City of Brownsville, are working together to find solutions to preserve the Resacas, enhance habitats for birds and wildlife as well as increase storm water and raw water storage capacity that can be used in times of need. Once completed, the project with leave behind multiple benefits, including a water recreation component, for residents and visitors to enjoy in the decades that follow.
“I enjoy the teamwork component to my job,” said Idriss. “The success in accomplishing every task is a direct result of a combined team effort.”
A native of Beirut, Lebanon, he earned his diploma in structural engineering from the University of Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1978, a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983 and became a licensed professional engineer in both structural and civil engineering disciplines.
Idriss earned several awards throughout his career with the USACE and in 1990 he volunteered to deploy to Saudi Arabia in support Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Now in his 35 year of marriage to wife, Vivian, the two enjoy spending their free time catching up with their son, a senior project engineer in San Antonio, Texas, and daughter, a product manager in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Idriss retired at the end of May 2015.