Senior Environmental Planner, H-GAC, gave an update on the San Bernard Water Protection Program.
State of the River Photos Courtesy: folgerstudios.com
Chris Frabotta, USACE Deputy Chief, Operations Division Chief, Navigation Branch, answered questions concerning the closed mouth.
The FOR State of the River meeting on Saturday, Feb 23 had an impressive array of attendees. Here’s the count – approximately 140 interested friends of the San Bernard gathered at Dido’s Restaurant that included all four Brazoria County Commissioners, two Port Freeport Commissioners, State Rep Thompson and representatives from the offices of U.S. Congressmen Weber and Olson and State Senator Huffman.
FOR Committee leaders reported their 2012 successes and presented their 2013 agenda including the River Rangers youth program for 5th graders, five $1,000 scholarships for graduating seniors, river and highway cleanups and a septic system education program.
During the Mouth Committee update, Mike Goodson and Nick Fratila, committee chairmen, reported the cost of a single arm jetty extending from the mouth of the San Bernard, is estimated at a cost of $30 million. Navigation issues are starting to appear at the West Flood gate but these issues have to worsen in order to gain the attention needed to start serious work to correct the mouth issue.
During the Q&A session, Bob Bailey asked, “When the mouth was opened, we were told that the USACE would maintain the opening as needed. What happened?”
Mr. Frabotta answered, “From what I have been told, the project was pushed through ASAP to get the dredging done as soon as possible which made it a one-time abbreviated Environmental Assessment (EA) good only for one project. Thus, to reopen the mouth would require another EA before work can be performed.”
A meeting, discussing the river mouth issues, will be held at Congressman Randy Weber’s office in Lake Jackson. Attending will be Texas Department of Transportation, Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Chevron Phillips, Port of Freeport and FOR representatives.