Important Meeting on the Deepening and Widening of the Mobile Ship Channel - Come Prepared!

Sept. 11, 2018 from 5:30-8pm at the Mobile Convention Center

Port of Mobile as seen from the Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge, Mobile, Al.

The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a public meeting on the proposed deepening and widening of the Mobile Harbor Ship Channel on Sept. 11th. The meeting is following the release of the Draft General Reevaluation Report and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to discuss results and receive response and input. Attendance is important! Healthy public involvement will ensure the best project for our entire community.

We understand the economic value and the importance of the Port to our area. The Port’s expansion must be done responsibly and protect our natural resources in order to protect all of the other economies across Coastal Alabama. Mobile Baykeeper has been continually providing recommendations and expressing concerns found through research and conversation with our members. As we finalize our comments on the draft release, we want to provide talking points for the meeting to help us all learn more about this proposed project.

Main Talking Points

  1. Changes to Salinity (deepening can change saltwater levels) - Too much saltwater can have negative impacts on fisheries, wetlands, and grass beds. Studies should include 3 years worth of data to ensure the broadest as well as most extreme weather information is included.

  2. Shoreline Erosion (from increased ship wake) - Stable shorelines are important because they protect us against storms, provide us with beautiful beaches, wildlife habitat, waterfront homes, and more. Ship wakes can cause major impacts that must be well documented and off-set.

  3. Impacts to Sea Life (from dredging activities and saltwater changes) - From the smallest organisms (oysters) to the largest ones (manatees), the Corps should study all of the potential impacts this plan could have on these creatures.

  4. Dredge Placement - The sediment/dirt that is dug out of the channel is set to be placed in several locations including the “Relic Shell Mined Areas” -- east of the ship channel, north of Point Clear in Mobile Bay. Local communities - including fishers, swimmers, kayakers, locals, etc. - must speak up about where this “dredge material” is placed.

  5. Finding “No Impact” from this major project - Several similar projects throughout the country have conducted studies and found negative impacts to their environmental resources. We are concerned with the Corps’ conclusion of virtually no impacts on our resources from deepening the entire channel to 50ft, widening by 100ft for 3 miles, and expanding the turning basin by 250ft.

We will send the community a summary of our comment letter this week so that you may use to send your own or sign on to ours. Follow our Program Blog and Facebook page for updates.

If you have any concerns to share, please contact Laura Jackson at ljackson@mobilebaykeeper.org or by calling (251)-433-4229.