Why You Need to Attend the Mobile Harbor Meeting
Mark Your Calendars for an Important Public Meeting!
When: Thursday February 22, 2018 from 6-8pm
Where: Mobile Convention Center
The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a public meeting on the proposed deepening and widening of the Mobile Harbor ship channel this week. The meeting will be held in a “town hall” setting to allow community members to ask questions, express concerns, and learn from one another’s thoughts. This is the last public meeting to be held before the release of the Draft General Reevaluation Report and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (projected for this summer) so attendance is important to ensure good public input on the project.
We understand the economic value and the importance of the Port to our area. Performing these studies and developing a plan for port expansion that also considers the value of the tourism industry, fisheries, and quality of life will ensure we grow responsibly. Mobile Baykeeper has been continually providing recommendations and expressing concerns found through research and conversation with our members. Before the last meeting, issues we brought up included shoreline impacts on both sides of Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island, effects on fish, oysters, and grass beds, and enabling more public involvement by changing the meetings to a “town hall” type setting. We were successful in getting the Corps to change the meeting style to allow for more public involvement.
Main Concerns Ahead of This Meeting
We know The Corps is studying these each of these concerns, but with your involvement, we can ensure they implement necessary measures to protect Mobile Bay’s natural resources. Please consider these topics to discuss:
1. Changes to Salinity (deepening can change saltwater levels) - Too much saltwater can have negative impacts on fisheries including spawning.
2. Bay 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.
3. Loss of Grass Beds (from ship wake and dredging activities) - We need seagrasses because they provide much of our sea life with a food source and shelter, along with other important services such as improving water quality.
4. Impacts to Sea Life (from dredging activities and saltwater changes) - From the smallest organisms like oysters to the largest ones like manatees, we want to make sure The Corps is studying all of the potential impacts this plan could have on these important creatures.
5. Timing and Method of Dredging (associated with deepening and widening the ship channel) - Poorly managed dredging can cause fish kills and create cloudy water conditions that have a negative impact on seagrass growth and fish feeding.
6. Upper Mobile Bay Beneficial Use Site (the disposal of dredged material) - Dredged material has been proposed to construct a marsh habitat, but if undertaken in the wrong location, it could alter already productive fishing grounds.
7. Thin-layer Disposal (the disposal of dredged material) - The amount of “thin-layer” distributed is very important to ensure that we do not cover healthy water bottoms such as grass beds or impact boat navigation.
We plan on reviewing the report and environmental impact statement thoroughly when released and will submit formal comments as necessary. If you would like to be informed about our comments and how to sign on or submit comments of your own, follow our Program Blog and Facebook page. If you have any concerns to share, please contact Laura Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (251)-433-4229.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Alabama State Port Authority are conducting a study to determine the feasibility of deepening and widening the ship channel located in Mobile Bay. The Corps is currently finalizing its General Reevaluation Report (GRR) which will lay out details for deepening and widening the channel up to and including the authorized dimensions.
In addition to the GRR, a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is currently being developed for understanding the environmental impact of such project. The SEIS determines the current status of the environment and then compares it with the environmental impacts that the proposed project would cause along with other possible alternatives. The SEIS will also show the mitigation needed to account for any identified adverse impacts.