Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Flickr button Youtube button

Mega study aims to protect Texas Coast against super storm

Joint USACE-GLO comprehensive study considering a multitude of factors including impacts on environment, workforce, homes, and more

GALVESTON, Texas (April 7, 2016) ­– Protecting the Texas coast from natural and manmade disasters continues to make headlines in local papers as various agencies and organizations seek to find solutions to this complex issue – solutions the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, along with its partner, the Texas General Land Office, are working to identify in the ongoing Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study.

Col. Richard Pannell, USACE Galveston District commander, acknowledged the magnitude of this undertaking and expressed appreciation for the supportive partnerships involved in the joint effort.

“The Coastal Texas study is one of the largest and most complex studies in the nation,” said Pannell. “This study will evaluate an array of alternatives designed to reduce risks associated with hurricanes and storm surge from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande. Not only will this effort determine engineering requirements and analyze economic factors, the study will also ensure that the project meets federal environmental standards. The result of the study will be an implementable project that has been coordinated with resource agencies, meets federal guidelines and is ready for Congressional authorization. The success of this study hinges on effective collaboration with our partners at the state and local level. We are very fortunate to be working hand-in-hand with the Texas General Land Office as our cost sharing partner.”

Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush expressed urgency in identifying ways to reduce risks along the Texas coast and to ensure the continued success of key infrastructure that contributes to the nation’s economy and quality of life.

“Millions of Texans live and work along the Texas coast and the time has come to get serious about investing in its protection,” said Bush. “By working together as a region – combining and coordinating local, state and federal resources – we will directly address ongoing threats to the Texas coast for future generations.”

Project Manager Sheri Willey, USACE Galveston District, explained that the comprehensive feasibility study, which aims to objectively identify strengths and weaknesses of proposed plans as well as opportunities and threats to the environment and economy, will employ a benefit-to-cost ratio approach to determine if a plan is worth pursuing and will rely on input from surrounding communities.

“We continue to gather feedback from residents that will help us identify coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration problems and opportunities along the Texas coast,” said Willey. “These public scoping meetings were part of our Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Reconnaissance Study.

According to Willey, Congress granted an exemption to allow the $19.8 million, 5.5-year feasibility study to proceed due to the great complexity and national importance of the Texas Gulf Coast. The Texas GLO is providing 50 percent of cost of the study.

Willey went on to explain that several coastal protection options, including the coastal spine and inland barrier structures were presented to the Texas Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee on Coastal Barrier Systems during a public hearing in August 2014 and will be reviewed again April 11, 2016 during a similar session.

“While these proposals should be considered in-depth, the most effective way to determine the most beneficial long-term solutions for protecting the Galveston Bay area is to partner with agencies and stakeholders in a comprehensive study to consider all factors,” said Willey. “The comprehensive feasibility study will identify a variety of critical considerations including potential shoreline degradation, storm damage risk reduction, environmental restoration and protection as well as related improvements along the Texas Gulf Coast to ensure that preservation of the Texas coastal region is balanced with the growth and needs of industries that fuel commerce and power the nation.”

Pannell added that the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study will leverage existing information and data that has been developed following recent hurricanes by numerous stakeholders such as Texas A&M at Galveston, the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center based at Rice University as well as studies by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District and Texas GLO on critical infrastructure and environmental resource opportunities.

For more news and information about the Texas coast, visit the USACE Galveston District website at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.

For more information about the Texas GLO please visit www.txglo.com. You can also follow the GLO on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/txglo or Twitter https://twitter.com/txglo.


The return of Mr. Pat

The newly refurbished Mr. Pat floats, tied to a barge on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigations System at Lock & Dam 14 near Spiro, Oklahoma.  Mr. Pat is the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tow boat that facilitates the movement of a 150 foot barge, housing a crane used for major repairs on the five lock & dam systems of the MKARNS within the Tulsa District. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)
The newly refurbished Mr. Pat floats, tied to a barge on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigations System at Lock & Dam 14 near Spiro, Oklahoma. Mr. Pat is the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tow boat that facilitates the movement of a 150 foot barge, housing a crane used for major repairs on the five lock & dam systems of the MKARNS within the Tulsa District. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)

The return of Mr. PatThe return of Mr. PatThe return of Mr. Patby Preston Chasteen

TULSA, Okla.- The Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently returned their maintenance tow boat, Mr. Pat, to service, after receiving major refurbishment upgrades at Ensley Engineers Yard in Memphis, Tennessee.

The four deck, 82 foot long vessel, facilitates the movement of a 150 foot barge, housing a crane used for major repairs of the five lock & dams on the Oklahoma side of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigations System.

In Oklahoma, the MKARNS is managed and maintained by the Tulsa District.

Refurbishment of Mr. Pat included two new engines boasting a combined 2,000 horsepower.

Each engine drives a five and a half inch shaft, 20 feet long, which propels a five blade, 66 inch prop.

“The boat performs really well now that the horsepower has been increased. Before the boat was always in a struggle, it was in a struggle just pushing itself around,” stated Capt. Kelly Youngblood.

The new electronically controlled engines replace the old air control system and offer a greater degree of responsiveness.

All engine diagnostics were upgraded to provide immediate data read-out, available for viewing on digital control panels.

The tow can hold 24,000 gallons of diesel fuel for operations, and at the rate of 1,700 rpm’s, can consume up to 40 gallons of fuel an hour, per engine. However, at idle, the fuel consumption rate can be as low as 3 gallons an hour.

Mr. Pat’s electrical systems are supported by two 105 kilowatt generators. One is used as a primary and one as a backup should the need arise.

Youngblood and a crew of four can sleep on the boat which provides the crew access to three bathrooms, two showers and a full kitchen.

Living amenities are supported with 2,500 gallons of fresh water divided amongst two 1,250 gallon water tanks.

“The only thing that stops us from working is a lot of wind and a lot of current,” said Youngblood.

In as recent as 2014, Oklahoma Department of Transportation reported that the Oklahoma portion of MKARNS supported waterborne commerce totaling 5.7 million tons of cargo with a value of $2.56 billion to the economy.

Mr. Pat and crew are an integral part of maintenance operations along the Tulsa District portion of this economically important inland water way.

The vessel is permanently housed out of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Terminal, near the navigation project office in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

Youngblood and his crew aboard Mr. Pat not only support the five lock and dam systems in the Tulsa District from W.D. Mayo L&D 14, near Spiro, Oklahoma, to Newt Graham L&D 18, but also will dispatch to perform maintenance in other districts when needed.


The official U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division publication