USACE Galveston District urges safety over July 4th holiday; flexes lock, floodgate schedule

GALVESTON, Texas (June 30, 2016) – As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District prepares for a busy 4th of July (a holiday known for drinking and boating and deadly accidents), the USACE Galveston District urges the public to put safety first and become water aware when participating in water-related recreational activities.

Additionally, to accommodate the increased recreational boating traffic during the holiday weekend, the district will open the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates on demand beginning July 2 at 6 a.m., returning back to normal operations July 5 at 6 a.m. (which limits swing gates to opening every hour on the hour).

According to Colorado River Lockmaster Simon DeSoto, USACE Galveston District, drowning is a leading cause of accidental deaths and notes that the number of deaths by drowning could be significantly reduced if everyone would wear a life jacket while recreating on the water.

“Statistics show that 89 percent of those who drown at USACE lakes and rivers may have survived if they had worn a life jacket,” said DeSoto. “We understand the important role that education plays in saving lives and we’re working with our partners to extend our drowning prevention knowledge, skills, expertise and services to promote education and prevent downing.”

DeSoto urges those who will enjoy outdoor water activities this holiday weekend to keep the following tips in mind:

1. Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool. Even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating and swimming. Conditions can change quickly in open water so before entering the water wear a life jacket.

2. While on or near the water watch your children. It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown. Many people believe that if someone is drowning they will yell for help, which is not correct. Several people drown each year within 10 feet of safety because the people around them did not recognize they were drowning. The four signs of a drowning victim include head back, gasping for air, no yelling and arms slapping the water.

3. Boaters should be aware of a silent and invisible killer while boating. Carbon monoxide can accumulate anywhere in or around boats regardless of what type of boat is being operated. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness. Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors on and inside your boat. Maintain a fresh circulation of air through and around the boat at all times. Avoid areas around boats where exhaust fumes may be present.

4. Be aware of rip currents at beaches. Rip currents (strong, narrow currents flowing from the shore out to sea) are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, more than 80 percent of water rescues on surf beaches are due to rip currents. Beachgoers caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the shore line (perpendicular to the rip current), swimming out of the rip current, not against it.

5. Implement these water safety tips. Whether recreating at a USACE lake, on a beach or swimming in a pool, remember to implement these safety tips the next time you’re out on the water. To find a USACE project near you visit

As the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all federally-managed public lands in the U.S., the Corps has a dedicated focus on water safety by encouraging the public to put safety first and become water aware when participating in water-related recreational activities. The district routinely partners with organizations throughout the year to educate and help reduce public fatalities and improve public safety at its lakes, recreational areas and public facilities.

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USACE Galveston District to host GIWW, Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks Feasibility Study public scoping meeting

GALVESTON, Texas (June 29, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District will host an initial public scoping meeting July 12, 2016, from 6–8 p.m. at the West Columbia Civic Center, 516 E. Brazos Avenue (State Highway 35), West Columbia, Texas 77486, to inform the public about the ongoing feasibility study activities for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Brazos River Floodgates (BRFG) and Colorado River Locks (CRL) and solicit public input regarding the study.

“The Feasibility Study will assess current identified conditions and develop specific measures and alternatives that can be combined or used as standalone actions to address the challenges at each location,” said Project Manager Franchelle Craft, USACE Galveston District. “We will conduct the assessment of the floodgates and locks separately and combine the results into one integrated feasibility report.”

According to Craft, the goal of the feasibility phase is to find the most cost-effective solution that responds to the issues while balancing the need to protect the environment. Staff will gather public feedback about significant issues and impacts that need to be addressed regarding navigation along the GIWW, which continues to be constrained at the confluence with the floodgates and locks.

“Public involvement is an essential part of our processes and we encourage any dialogue that discusses concerns or issues surrounding the study,” said Craft. “We also work closely with various federal, state, local agencies and interested organizations to incorporate their opinions when assessing proposed actions.”

The feasibility study will reevaluate the proposed alternatives identified in the 2000 Reconnaissance Study to determine the feasibility of undertaking modifications to the Brazos and Colorado river crossings, as well as identify changes to the floodgate and lock structures at each location that are economically and environmentally justified. Information gained from the public scoping meeting will be used in the development of an Environmental Impact Statement in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

“We will continue to gather comments and concerns for weeks following the public scoping meeting to gain insight about opportunities to improve navigation along the GIWW at the Brazos and Colorado rivers, pinpoint resources within the study area as well as identify social, economic and environmental concerns,” said Craft.

Written comments may be submitted to Franchelle Craft, USACE Galveston District, 2000 Fort Point Road, Galveston, TX 77550. Comments can also be sent electronically via email to or directed to(409) 766–3187. All comments must be received or postmarked by Aug. 11, 2016.

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