Important Public Meeting Concerning Mobile Harbor
by Laura Jackson, Program & Grants Coordinator
When: Thursday, March 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bayfront Pavilion in Daphne
Mobile Baykeeper’s mission is to provide citizens the means to protect the beauty, health, and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed and our coastal communities. That is why we are staying involved in the proposed deepening and widening of the Mobile Harbor Federal Navigation Channel and providing citizens tools to do the same.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District is hosting an open house for the public to provide input and learn more about the proposed deepening and widening of the channel on March 16, 2017 at the Bayfront Pavilion, 6200 Bayfront Park Drive, Daphne, Ala., from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Here's what the open house will cover:
1. An update on the proposed project’s status and upcoming milestones.
2. The ability for the public to voice comments and concerns related to potential impacts associated with the project.
3. Army Corps staff will use posters to explain the studies conducted by the Mobile District and to answer questions about the proposed project.
4. An opportunity for concerned citizens to submit oral or written comments regarding the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS)
On behalf of Mobile Baykeeper’s Board of Directors, officers, staff and more than 4,500 members, we have created a list of issues we would like the Corps to evaluate in the DSEIS. As new information becomes available, we will develop and add comments as necessary.
The effect of increased and larger boat wake of ships:
* On the shoreline of both sides of Mobile Bay including Dauphin Island.
* On the existing and planned living shoreline projects.
* On the health of wetlands and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)
The effect of maintenance dredging and new dredging:
* On adjacent shorelines, including both sides of Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island.
* On the health of SAVs that are vitally needed for healthy fisheries.
* On aquatic species that live on the bottom of the sea floor from increased sediment disposal.
The effect of increased loss of littoral drift sediments:
* On the shorelines of Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island.
* Consider the historical sand deficit caused by dredging and removal of sediment. Take into account the cost of further erosion from additional deepening and widening activities (i.e. reduction of sediment supply to littoral zone).
The effect on air quality:
* Ensure to include air quality analysis in DSEIS
The effect of saltwater intrusion:
* On our local oyster reefs, fisheries, and estuarine habitants resulting from harbor improvements.
Plan to increase public involvement:
* By providing ample time for announcing the times and locations for workshops and commenting periods.
* By hosting the workshops in a variety of locations around Mobile Bay that are easily accessible by all.
* By hosting workshops that enable public question and answers rather than through the poster show format.
* By clearly describing how the Corps plans to incorporate public comments and concerns.
* By ensuring all existing community plans are incorporated in the review to eliminate one plan contradicting another (e.g. Map for Mobile, Alabama Coastal Comprehensive Plan, Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, Plan for Spanish Fort and Mobile Bay Causeway, Watershed Management Plans, etc.)
Incorporate dredged material disposal options:
* Use what is currently included in the Mobile Bay Regional Sediment Management Strategy and include potentially impacted sites not currently in the management strategy.
* Ensure long-term effects of any options are considered.
Use the best data:
* Ensure the development of the SEIS relies upon and utilizes the most up to date techniques for data collection and considers alternative studies to improve understanding.
Consider the impact of going that deep and wide:
* Evaluate alternatives and consider dredging a reduced depth and width as compared to the maximum amount authorized given the potential negative impacts to the environment.
Let us know what you think about this project, what concerns you may have, and how you would like to be informed about these meetings in the future! Contact Laura Jackson at email@example.com or call (251)-433-4229 with your comments.
If you are unable to make the meeting but would like to submit comments, you can do so by emailing MobileHarborGRR@usace.army.mil or sending a letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, 109 Saint Joseph Street, Mobile AL 36602.