Category Archives: Regional Priorities

Regional priorities within the Southwestern Division

USACE Galveston District partners with Bay City High School to promote water safety

BAY CITY, Texas (Aug. 5, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Water Safety
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, together with Bay City High School Art Teacher Sharon Landgrebe and her students, coordinated a project to create signs to alert the public about the need to wear life jackets when they are in, on or around water.

Galveston District, together with Bay City High School Art Teacher Sharon Landgrebe and her students, coordinated a project to create signs to alert the public about the need to wear life jackets when they are in, on or around water.

The signs are located in Matagorda, Texas, to warn the public that they are entering a “Life Jacket Zone.”

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all federally-managed public lands in the United States,” said Simon DeSoto, USACE Galveston District lockmaster at the Colorado River Locks. “Our mission is to consolidate and integrate existing water safety initiatives, promote an increase in water safety awareness and to prevent drowning. We are dedicated to advancing, promoting, and providing water safety interpretation, outreach, and education.”

According to DeSoto, one of the signs is positioned on State

Water Safety
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, together with Bay City High School Art Teacher Sharon Landgrebe and her students, coordinated a project to create signs to alert the public about the need to wear life jackets when they are in, on or around water.

Highway 60 as motorists enter the coastal community of Matagorda, Texas. This sign is seen by approximately 800,000 people annually.

Additionally, a sign has been installed on the bypass channel from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway into the lower Colorado River channel feeding into the Gulf of Mexico. This sign is seen by every boater making their way to the gulf. Approximately 30,000 boaters annually will see this sign.

“Mariners traversing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway will be able to see and read the logo signs,” said DeSoto. “It will serve as a constant reminder to be safe on the water and to always wear their personal flotation devices while recreating on the water.”

Desoto explained that the Matagorda County, Texas, area is the only county in a six-county region of Houston without a drowning in the past two years. With this partnership continuing to grow, the USACE Galveston District anticipates that the influences the students are making should continue to see positive impacts for years to come.

“The students are the second group from Bay City High School to partner with the USACE Galveston District to promote water safety messages to the public,” said DeSoto. “The previous year, art students created signs at the entrances to the Colorado River Locks that warn boaters to “Wear It,” a National Safe Boating Campaign message to remind the public to wear lifejackets.”

According to DeSoto, students were eager to help share the district’s water safety messages of learning to swim well, being water aware and wearing a lifejacket while recreating on the water. The project was fully funded by the district and the students

Water Safety
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, together with Bay City High School Art Teacher Sharon Landgrebe and her students, coordinated a project to create signs to alert the public about the need to wear life jackets when they are in, on or around water.

volunteered their time to create the artwork.

“My art student’s really enjoyed working on the signs,” said Landgrebe. “Projects such as this one help the students learn the value of helping to make our communities better and we were excited that we were given this opportunity.”

DeSoto noted the students learned about the importance of water safety.

“They certainly helped us spread the word about the promoting the importance of learning to swim and wearing lifejackets. Our combined efforts will hopefully help to reduce public fatalities and educate those who use our facilities,” said DeSoto.

The USACE Galveston District continues to partner with local organizations to assist in promoting public safety and educating parents and children about the importance of learning to swim.

Learn about the district’s Water Safety Program at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Missions/CorpsintheClassroom/WaterSafetyProgram.aspx. For 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.


Spotlight on USACE Galveston District’s Capt. Robert M. Burnham

Capt. Robert M. Burnham
Each Soldier in the U.S. Army plays a role in maintaining the nation’s security. For Army Capt. Robert M. Burnham, the economic strength of the nation remains secure, as he fulfills his role as an operations manager in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Navigation Branch, managing dredging-related operations and maintenance projects along the Texas coast.

GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 3, 2015) – Each Soldier in the U.S. Army plays a role in maintaining the nation’s security. For Army Capt. Robert M. Burnham, the economic strength of the nation remains secure, as he fulfills his role as an operations manager in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Navigation Branch, managing dredging-related operations and maintenance projects along the Texas coast.

With nine years under his belt as an active duty Soldier, Burnham has spent the last year applying his expertise in engineering to help maintain more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 250 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft, a task that allows vessels to carry critical commodities that contribute to the nation’s economic power. 

“I like working on projects that mean something and have a purpose. In the case of my navigation projects with the Corps, there are potential impacts to the local and national economies if we do not deliver,” said Burnham. “Knowing this keeps you on your game, and often times, thinking outside the box to keep projects moving forward for the benefit of the nation.” 

On any given day, Burnham can be seen working on a variety of dredging projects, including the Freeport Entrance Channel maintenance job and placement area containment dike raising, the channel to Victoria middle reach maintenance contract and Texas U.S. Coast Guard Stations maintenance project. He also works on rapid response contracts for hurricane season, ensuring the district is prepared to keep navigation channels open should a hurricane occur.

“I enjoy leading project delivery teams. As an Army officer, leadership has always been an inherent part of my duties,” said Burnham. “Planning, coordinating and executing is what I loved about commanding an engineer company, and it is no different leading teams in the Corps. There are always challenges, but pushing through them and seeing the fruits of your labor is a great feeling and just makes you want to do it again.”

Burnham says his most memorable moment with the USACE Galveston District was stepping on the government-owned hopper dredge Wheeler for the very first time. 

“Before then, I had never seen a hopper dredge in person,” said Burnham. “Having the opportunity to not only board the Wheeler, but to be a part of the planning to bring her to Freeport, Texas, was awesome.”

According to Burnham, working with the Corps as an engineer officer is considered a broadening assignment for his rank as an Army captain. 

“The idea is to have Army captains complete their key developmental assignments, which was company command for me, then send them to a part of the Army to broaden them and expand their knowledge base,” said Burnham. “In my case, I was incredibly lucky to be assigned to the USACE Galveston District. It has opened my eyes to the civilian component of the engineer regiment. Being able to manage civil works projects is an incredible learning experience that will carry with me as I move through my career.”

According to Burnham, he likes to be challenged. 

“Every single job I’ve ever had in the engineer branch has been tough and demanding, yet very rewarding,” he said.

Prior to joining the USACE Galveston District, Burnham spent a year in Korea as the chief of the Master Planning Branch for the Directorate of Public Works at Yongsan Garrison. He previously commanded the 362nd Multi Role Bridge Company in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Burnham earned a Bachelor of Science in business from The Citadel and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Missouri Science & Technology. He’s earned multiple accolades throughout his Army career including, the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and two Army Commendation medals. 

In his spare time, Burnham enjoys to golf, fish and barbecue. He is married to his wife Raquel and has one daughter, Madelyn.