Form Letter to POHA Commissioner
(This format used by permission from www.ourgalvestonbay.com)
Possible Letter Text:
Re: US Corps of Engineers Permit Application No: SWG-2011-01183
Applicant: Port of Houston Authority
Project: Proposed Bayport Ship Channel Dredge Island – Proposed new “Beneficial Use Marsh”
Dear Jim Edmonds, Steve Phelps, Jimmy Burke, Case Lawal, Elyse Lanier, Janiece Longoria, Jim Fonteno
I am contacting you to request that the Port of Houston Authority NOT pursue the above referenced “Beneficial Use Marsh” as a permitted option for dredge spoil disposal for this project. This alternative is the most environmentally damaging of the proposed disposal options and the MOST expensive. Many of the future costs of the Marsh are not included in the analysis, and there is no clarity on how this will be financially sustained.
The Port of Houston Authority is solely responsible for presenting this option and can remove it from the project. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the TCEQ each play a role in the process, however, the Port of Houston remains responsible and has the discretion to remove the option.
The alternative disposal site east of the Houston Ship Channel is already permitted, would have no new environmental or human impacts, and is the most cost-effective alternative. In contrast, the current public notice provides very little information or analysis of the potential impacts of this proposed project. No supporting materials are provided that demonstrate the feasibility or effectiveness of the open bay marsh concept. The proposal is so vague and the cost assumptions are so speculative, that the Marsh cannot be considered a practicable alternative at this time.
Some of the issues that require further examination include:
- Water quality impacts of dumping silt into a placement area that is below the water line
- Stability of the island/marsh during regular weather as well as storms
- Effect on storm surge conditions in the local area
- Impacts on fish and oysters in the area due to short- and long-term turbidity
- Economic impacts in the region from the impacts to recreational boating, including fishing
- Property value impacts from the aesthetic impacts of the dredge spoil disposal, the diminished usability of the adjacent waters, and the depression of the local economy from reduced recreational boating tourism
- Siltation of adjacent shorelines from the dredge spoil disposal, including the beaches at Sylvan Beach Park and Miramar Park
- Impact on Little Cedar Bayou, Pine Gully, and other area bayous from silt inflows
- Impact on wastewater treatment facilities whose outflow may be silted up (e.g., La Porte’s Little Cedar Bayou wastewater facility)
- Safety hazard created by the submerged marsh in a heavily used portion of the Bay
- Safety hazard created by funneling recreational boating traffic into the Houston and Bayport Ship Channels
- Whether the cost assumptions for the Marsh are anywhere near accurate given the failure of two previous open bay marshes in Galveston Bay and the likelihood of the need to armor the dredge disposal in the future
I am a Texas citizen and a person very interested in the above referenced Permit Application and proposed project. I live on the shores of and am frequently out in a boat on Upper Galveston Bay. I believe that the creation and installation of the so-called “Beneficial Use Marsh” option in the Application (the “Marsh”), would adversely affect the water quality of the Bay and would have very detrimental environmental, economic, esthetic, fishery, and recreational boating impacts on Upper Galveston Bay.