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Title: Maintenance dredging Clear Creek and Clear Lake, Texas : final environmental statement
Authors: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Galveston District.
Keywords: Dredging
Environmental effects
Environmental management
Clear Creek
Clear Lake
Publisher: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Galveston District.
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Description: Technical report
Statement of Findings: (1.) I have reviewed and evaluated, in the light of the overall public interest, all pertinent data, documents, and information available, as well as the stated views of other interested agencies and the concerned public, relative to continued periodic maintenance dredging of the Clear Creek and Clear Lake, Texas, Federal navigation project. Periodic maintenance of the shallow-draft channels is required to permit continuation of existing commercial and recreational vessel traffic over the waterways. As District Engineer, U.S. Army Engineer District, Galveston, Texas, I am the Federal official responsible for determining what actions, if any, should be taken with regard to this project. After completing my review of all available information, it is my responsibility to examine previous actions in light of new policies and regulations and to determine that course of action which I believe to be in the best interests of the public. (2.) My staff has taken all reasonable steps to assemble the statement and to include therein all known possible environmental consequences of the proposed action in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. In preparing this statement and in planning the proposed action my staff has complied with all applicable rules, regulations, and public laws, including Federal dredging regulations (33 CFR 209.145). Consideration has been given to connnents received from Federal, State, and local agencies, and private organizations. These comments have been weighed carefully in forming any recommendations. (3.) Every reasonable effort has been made to acquaint the public and all interested agencies and organizations with the details of the proposed work. Coordination required by the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Acts, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws and regulations has been accomplished. A draft statement has been circulated, and a public notice was issued on 8 November 1974. As a result of these efforts, many recommendations concerning the proposed work have been received. Of these recommendations, all but one will be implemented. The recommendation not adopted was to delete Disposal Area No. 1 to eliminate adverse effects associated with its use and enlarge Disposal Area No. 2 to eventually accommodate a public park. However, since disposal area No. 2 is located in highly productive shallow waters and disposal area No. 1 is located in the deeper, less productive waters of Galveston Bay, it is considered preferable from an environmental standpoint to continue to maximize use of disposal area No. 1. (4.) In my investigations I have utilized a professional staff well versed and experienced in the applicable fields of engineering, economics, environmental science, and dredging operation and construction. Available data related to the project have been supplemented by extensive field investigations and sampling programs. Established procedures for sampling and testing have been utilized in the analysis of marine biota and physicochemical data in the affected project area. Because of concern expressed by other agencies over possible adverse effects on water quality, monitoring programs will be accomplished. (5.) Generally, the effects of maintenance dredging on the environment have been sufficiently evaluated to determine the expected results and impacts. Additional investigations conducted prior to the next scheduled dredging could not be expected to produce information that would contribute significantly to the final statement. However, studies will be accomplished in the future as required to insure· that the quality of the natural environment in the project vicinity is protected to the maximum practicable extent. These investigations are discussed in the statement and include monitoring of effects on water quality, periodic surveying of disposal areas for concentrations of oysters, and investigating the adjacent land areas for suitable upland disposal sites as alternatives to the designated sites in Clear Lake should dredging of the Clear Lake Channel ever be required. (6.) I have studied and analyzed the possible alternatives to the action as proposed, including cessation of maintenance as well as alternate methods of dredging and disposal. In my evaluation I have considered engineering feasibility, environmental effects, economic factors, and social well being. In the decision making process a specific effort has been made to weigh the merits of each alternative. Each element has been evaluated on a multi-disciplinary basis by qualified personnel. I find that no alternate plan, either cessation of maintenance or other methods of dredging and disposal, would fulfill the social, economic, and other needs of the public as well as the proposed plan. (7.) The investigations indicate that various degrees of environmental alterations, both in the channels and in the disposal areas, are justified in order to sustain the recreation assets and the economy of the project area. Adverse environmental effects will include a temporary increase in local turbidity, loss of benthic organisms in affected areas, continued low biological productivity in the channels and disposal areas, and possible eventual emergence. of 23 acres of bay bottom. These adverse effects constitute a real, but relatively small, reduction in the number of marine animals available for man's use. In considering needs for economical marine transportation in support of existing recreation facilities and commercial establishments and the employment and income dependent on such developments, I find that the benefits of maintaining the Clear Creek and Clear Lake project outweigh the adverse effects. (8.) I find that the action proposed, as described in the Final Environmental Statement, inciuding monitoring studies proposed, is based on a thorough analysis and objective evaluation of the various alternate courses of action for achieving the stated objectives; that wherever adverse effects are found to be involved, they cannot be avoided by following reasonable alternative courses of action; that where the proposed action has an adverse effect, this effect is either ameliorated or substantially outweighed by other considerations of national policy; that the reconunended actions are consonant with national policy, statutes, and administrative directives; and that, on balance, the total public interest should best be served by implementation of the reconunendation. DON. S. McCOY Colonel, CE District Engineer 2 June 1975
Appears in Collections:USACE Collection

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