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“Write" the Wrong Planned for River by USACE
Posted on Apr 5th, 2018

 
Here's a dozen reasons to "write" the wrong heard at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) public meeting Tue Mar 13, on their proposed modifications to the existing Brazos River Floodgates on the Intracoastal Waterway that will affect the San Bernard River and surrounding areas. (Also see "Mar 13, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Meeting, West Columbia" paragraph below in March Meeting Reports.)
 
Email your comments to BRFG_CRL_FeasibilityStudy@usace.army.mil
Attn: Danny Allen, Environmental Compliance Branch, Regional Planning and Environmental Center
Deadline for public comments is April 11, 2018.
  • There was little or no knowledge of the project to open the mouth of the San Bernard, including the submission to the USACE on March 6 of the project plan that was revised to take into account the effects of Harvey.
  • All modelling studies were done assuming the mouth of the San Bernard would stay closed.
  • None of the studies on water flow and barge and gate collision rates done prior to and after the opening of the San Bernard in 2009 were considered in the feasibility study. 
  • The open mouth of the San Bernard would be transformed into a freshwater estuary rather than a saltwater estuary adversely affecting natural habitat.
  • The study stated that the mouth of the San Bernard had been opened and closed “several” times, but it has only happened twice. Maybe Cedar Lake and the San Bernard got mixed up.
  • The history of the relationship between the Brazos Diversion Channel and San Bernard River was ignored.
  • The effect of the larger channel on the west side of the Brazos without a gate on Jones Creek during high water on the Brazos was not considered.
  • The effect of the larger channel on the west side of the Brazos without a gate on barges attempting to moor during high water on the Brazos was not considered.
  • The effect of the larger channel on the west side of the Brazos without a gate on fuel usage of barges operating “against the flow” during high water on the Brazos was not considered.
  • The effect of the larger channel and gate on the east side of the Brazos on shipping entering or leaving the Port of Freeport during high water on the Brazos was not considered.
  • The potential increase in dredging requirements at the private moorings in the Port of Freeport and mouth of San Bernard was not considered.
  • The primary hindrance to navigating the crooked and narrow intersection of the GIWW and the Brazos Diversion Channel is high water velocity in the Diversion Channel, yet none of the proposals evaluated by USACE address that velocity. Increasing the cross sectional area of the Diversion Channel might proportionally decrease the velocity, e.g., doubling the area by widening and/or deepening the channel could reduce the velocity by almost half. Proper selection of the point to begin could direct silting to occur upstream or downstream of the GIWW intersection and minimize dredging in the GIWW.
 
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