Mobile Baykeeper recently provided comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (The Corps) on two road projects proposing to fill wetlands and negatively impact local streams:
1) A 1.3 acre wetland fill and stream alteration project in Foley.
2) A 2.4 acre wetland fill and stream alteration in Dawes.
Across Coastal Alabama, we have lost many of our wetland and stream resources due to irresponsible growth. Wetlands filter pollutants out of stormwater and provide us with critical protection against flooding. Streams are fragile resources home to many aquatic plants and fish. We must ensure new projects take all practical measures to avoid impacting our wetlands and streams. Below is an overview of the comments we submitted for each project:
We commented on a plan to fill 1.3 acres of wetlands to extend Fern Avenue from Highway 59 to the Beach Express. (PUBLIC NOTICE NO. SAM-2017-00883-DCH). Our comments include:
- The proposed project only describes wetland fill, however, based on the maps provided by the applicant, it would cross through a stream. We need the Corps to verify any impacts to the stream located in the proposed site path (see image above).
- If they determine such impacts exist, the project needs to look at: 1) Impacts to endangered or threatened species, water quality, and historical value; and 2) Inclusion of proper stream mitigation in the project’s proposed activities.
- We have asked the Corps to ensure the applicant considers all alternatives that reduce the impacts to important wetlands! (i.e. use of bridges, selecting a different route, etc.)
- We highly encourage the use of Low Impact Development (LID) practices in all projects to minimize impacts of stormwater runoff and water quality.
- We believe it is important to require a comprehensive plan so that best management practices are followed and monitoring activities are consistent and regular.
- We want to see all mitigation performed or purchased in the impacted area (i.e. if you fill wetlands in the Wolf Creek watershed you should restore wetlands in the same watershed).
2) West Mobile
We commented on a plan to fill 2.4 acres of wetlands and 233 linear feet of stream. (PUBLIC NOTICE NO. SAM-2017-00777-DCH) Our comments include:
- Alternatives that reduce impact on wetlands and streams exist, eliminating the need for 0.8 acres of wetland fill and 233 feet of stream relocation. The applicant must consider these alternatives to prevent needless fill of wetlands.
- To minimize impacts on wetlands and streams, the applicant should follow general best management practices for wetland and stream crossings.
- We highly encourage the use of Low Impact Development (LID) practices in all projects to minimize impacts to hydrology and water quality.
- All mitigation should be performed or purchased in the impacted area (i.e. if you fill wetlands in the Dog River Watershed you should restore wetlands in the same watershed) so as to minimize the impact.
One of the reasons we comment on these types of projects is to encourage our members and community to do the same because speaking up makes a difference. Together, we can ensure responsible growth in the Mobile Bay Watershed and our coastal communities.
We need YOU to take action and submit comments on the proposed projects so that the Corps can understand YOUR thoughts, interests, and concerns. The easiest way to do that is to send the two letters using the forms below.
If you would like to submit your own written comments, make sure that they reference the project code SAM-2017-00883-DCH (for Foley) and SAM-2017-00777-DCH (for Mobile) (otherwise they will be lost) and do so by 10/26/17. Please feel free to use the information above to construct your own written letter or you can refer to Mobile Baykeeper’s official comment letters below.
USACE Mobile District, Regulatory Division
Attn: Mr. Dylan Hendrix
P.O. Box 2288
Mobile, AL 36628-0001
Or Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have any questions or comments regarding this issue? Please contact Program Director Cade Kistler at (251)-433-4229 or email him at email@example.com.