Tag Archives: Army Corps of Engineers

The host parish for Mid-Barataria diversion just voted 8-0 thumbs down against it – would destroy economy, culture

The Plaquemines Parish Council has decided to oppose Louisiana’s $2 billion plan to channel land-building sediment and nutrient-laden water from the Mississippi River,,, Members said the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project would destroy their parish’s seafood-based economy and culture. The 8-0 thumbs down from the governing authority in the project’s home parish marks an expected rebuke for Gov. John Bel Edwards, his coastal planners and their nonprofit advocates, who see Mid-Barataria as the flagship project in the state’s 50-year, $50 billion effort to stave off the disappearance of much of the bottom third of Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico. >click to read< 11:13

Saving salmon is a ruse for breaching our dams

In the early 1990s, our small group were researching environmental claims that the lower Snake River dams were devastating salmon runs. At that time, we learned about East Sand Island, a man-made island in the estuary of the Columbia River. This island was formed from dredging deposits in 1983. And by 1984 Caspian terns, cormorants and gulls, which had colonized the island, were feasting on salmon smolts. We thought: “Wow, this is an easy fix. Tear out a man-made island and save millions of endangered fish.” The environmentalists beat us to the punch. They filed in federal court to protect the island and the birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Now we have the largest nesting colony of these non-endangered birds in the world on a man-made island. >click to read< 08:38

Trump Dumps Pebble – administration denies permit

The Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for a controversial gold and copper mine near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska. The Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement that the permit application to build the Pebble Mine was denied under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act.,  The agency “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest,” according to the statement from Col. Damon Delarosa, commander of the corps’ Alaska district. >click to read< 14:41

Trump set to block controversial Pebble Mine

The Army Corps of Engineers office in Alaska is planning to hold a conference call on Monday with groups connected to the proposed mine discuss the decision,,, Corps officials will say outstanding technical issues with a key permit remain, the people said, adding they anticipate Trump will then follow with a public statement opposing the project. The people said they’re not entirely sure what form Trump’s disavowal will take, although they said it is more likely to come as a rejection of the Army Corps of Pebble’s water permits rather than a veto from EPA, which earlier this year indicated it would not exercise that power. >click to read< 06:30

“The Case Against Alaska’s Pebble Mine” – Tucker Carlson goes after Pebble

Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson has become the latest influential conservative to voice concern about the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska. Carlson said in his “The Case Against Alaska’s Pebble Mine” segment, there is a clear partisan split. But not with Pebble. “Suddenly,” Carlson said, “you are seeing a number of Republicans, including some prominent ones, including some very conservative Republicans, saying, ‘Hold on a moment, maybe Pebble mine is not a good idea. Maybe you should do whatever you can not to despoil nature. Maybe not all environmentalism is about climate.'” >click to read< 17:38

Corps of Engineers to complete New White River fish trap, the biggest facility of its kind in North America

At the insistence of tribes and federal fisheries managers, the Army Corps of Engineers will soon complete the biggest facility of its kind in North America, to capture and transport salmon to free flowing stretches of the White River, a tributary of the Puyallup. Big as an aircraft carrier and made of enough concrete to pave a mile and a quarter of Interstate 5, the White River Fish Passage Facility is expected to be completed in October. The $131 million facility includes a complex of gates, chutes, a fish ladder and even a pair of gleaming stainless steel augers pretty as an art piece, custom-made by J. Nelson Enterprises metalworks in Orting. The augers will lift fish into flumes that carry them to trucks for the 12-mile ride from the fish collection facility at Buckley, where they will be released back to the river above Mud Mountain Dam near Enumclaw, to spawn. >click to read< 14:32

Pebble Mine is closer to a federal permit; supporters and critics respond

Lisa Reimers is a board member of Iliamna Natives Limited. She supports Pebble’s development. Her and my dad they’ve both passed now, but they were both big supporters of resource development,” Reimers said. “They thought their families should work. This is a good project, and we want to see something positive happen out in the area. We don’t see any projects coming down the pipeline that would help the area and make it grow, so people can continue to live out there and prosper.”- Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s President and CEO Jason Metrokin says the report fails to really address these concerns. “The final EIS is really no different,” Metrokin says. “To have such significant changes during the process and the later weeks and months of the process just goes to show, at least in our opinion, that the process seems like it’s focused on a political timeline rather than a regulatory timeline.” >click to read< 12:36

Foes of Pebble Mine lose a round in court

Opponents of the Pebble Mine lost one of their lawsuits Friday, when a federal court judge ruled against them. The case is about the so-called “pre-emptive veto” the Environmental Protection Agency issued during the Obama administration, before the Pebble Partnership filed its application for a proposed gold and copper mine in Southwest Alaska.,, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled Friday that the EPA could withdraw its proposed determination from 2014. Her decision was based on how much latitude government agencies have and what is subject to legal review, rather than the merits or dangers of the Pebble Mine. >click to read< 11:12

WTF?!!! A mile wide toxic waste site sits on the ocean floor near Stellwagen Bank

About 19 miles east of Boston Harbor, beside a national marine sanctuary that’s home to one of the world’s richest fishing grounds, lies one of the nation’s largest offshore dumping sites of radioactive waste.,,, David Wiley, the sanctuary’s research coordinator, led a seminal study of the area in the early 1990s. His report, which found that the federal government kept few records of what was dumped there, estimated that there could be as many as 80,000 barrels of toxic waste, most from hospitals, universities, and companies throughout the region. At least 4,000 of them were thought to contain radioactive waste, from the same sources >click to read< 09:11

A New Generation! The Army Corps of Engineers have designed a hydroelectric turbine that’s safer for fish, increase energy efficiency by 4%

They’ve recently installed a new design that’s improving energy efficiency and improving fish survival along the Snake River, with plans to upgrade more turbines over the next several years. The Army Corps installed the first of two designs at Ice Harbor Dam, just outside the Tri-Cities in southeastern Washington. A second blade design should be finished in 2021. “It really is a new generation of turbine design for our hydropower system,” said the Corps’ Martin Ahmann.,, This new turbine has been shown to increase juvenile fish survival rate to more than 98%. >click to read< 10:50

Four Washington Dams Again on Chopping Block

Farmers, fishermen and environmentalists sparred Thursday over a proposal to breach four dams on the Snake River to prevent extinction of salmon born there. The time could be ripe for the proposal long favored by environmentalists, with requirements under decades-running litigation dovetailing with measures called for by a state task force bent on saving endangered killer whales. The government is preparing to take an official position in February on whether breaching the four dams is necessary.  >click to read< 20:31

Army Corps of Engineers’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble Project is inadequate and underestimates potential impacts

Congress yesterday completed a spending deal that includes a stern warning to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding its rushed and flawed permitting process for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The warning, included in a report to the appropriations bill that covers the Department of Interior’s spending,,, >click to read< 15:39

Meet the salmon scientist at the center of the Pebble fight

Beneath the steady static of rain on a tin roof, University of Washington aquatic ecologist Daniel Schindler made some soup. On a clear day, he’d be wading through thousands of hump-backed, hooked-jawed sockeye that turn the pristine waters of southwestern Alaska red every year. Schindler has put himself in the middle of the two-decade fight over the Pebble mine, a proposal to build one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines roughly 100 miles east of Lake Nerka. >click to read<  20:01

Mississippi to sue Army Corps of Engineers over extended opening of spillway

Mississippi’s attorney general said Thursday that he will sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for environmental and economic damage the state experienced after the Corps opened a spillway for two extended periods this year to protect New Orleans from flooding.,, Hood said he does not want New Orleans to flood but the Corps should better assess potential damage to Mississippi when deciding whether to open the Bonnet Carre spillway. He said if the federal government decides to open the spillway often, “they’ll have to pay for it because it’s just about put our seafood industry out of business.” >click to read< 17:11

Hampton-Seabrook Harbor dredging begins – here’s why it’s vital

Work has begun on the dredging of the Hampton-Seabrook Harbor, a project local and state officials have said was urgently needed to protect the Seacoast’s fishing and seaside economy.,,, Keith Johnson of H&L Contracting, whose company is doing the work, said those who use the harbor will still be able to use it while the work is ongoing. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Coral Siligato said the work is scheduled to take place through March 15. The inner harbor work is slated to be completed by Feb. 1. >click to read<  07:14

Pacific Northwest Tribes Want Columbia River Dams Razed

Two Pacific Northwest tribes on Monday demanded the removal of three major hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River to save migrating salmon and starving orcas and restore fishing sites that were guaranteed to the tribes in a treaty more than 150 years ago.,, Proposals to merely curtail operations, let alone remove the structures, are controversial, and the prospects of the Columbia dams being demolished any time soon appear nonexistent. But tribal leaders said at a news conference along the Columbia River that the Treaty of 1855, in which 14 tribes and bands ceded 11.5 million acres to the United States, was based on the inaccurate belief that the United States had a right to take the land. >click to read< 10:18

Floodwaters Diverted from New Orleans Killed Off Marine Life

The federal government’s effort to avoid a flood disaster in New Orleans had catastrophic consequences of its own, causing massive fish kills and habitat destruction along the Gulf Coast, according to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The governors say the Army Corps of Engineers’ diversion of trillions of gallons of water from the swollen Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico killed fish, shrimp, oysters and crab and forced the extended closure of beaches. Dolphins have suffered high death and infection rates, researchers say. >click to read< 15:44

EPA officials visit Dillingham to gather opinions on Pebble Mine

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency arrived in Dillingham Thursday morning, meeting with fishers and community leaders to gather opinions on the proposed development of Pebble Mine. “It’s important to hear people’s views on all sides of the issue,” said Matt Leopold, the EPA’s general counsel. “And here in Dillingham I can tell right away that people are opposed to the project.” >click to read<11:33

Toxic lobsters? – Long Island Sound dumping dispute nears tipping point

Connecticut says the new underwater dump site is needed to maintain the state’s economic development effort – including its lucrative submarine construction business at Electric Boat’s shipyard,,, New York says the site will be harmful to its ecology and tourism, and Connecticut could, and should, dump the material it dredges up somewhere else.,,, Toxic lobsters? Lobstering is still done in Long Island Sound, though there are far fewer lobsters than in the past. >click to read<10:08

‘Carp cowboys’ round up invasive Asian carp as Illinois, federal officials debate costly measures to protect Lake Michigan

In Illinois, current strategies have successfully reduced the leading edge of the Asian carp population by 93 percent since 2012, according to sonar scans. By removing more than 1 million pounds of carp annually in the past several years, the state has contained the adult population to the Dresden Island Pool, 47 miles away from Lake Michigan, near Minooka, Ill. But computer modeling suggests it’s not enough. To repel Asian carp, about four times that amount needs to be removed from downstream.,, On Tuesday, near the banks of Sheehan Island where Asian carp like to take refuge, state-contracted fisherman Shawn Price gunned the engine of his boat while his father hit a wooden stick on the side. Minutes later, Shawn Price began pulling in nets chock-full of Asian carp. >click to read<09:01

Army Corps dredging Moriches Inlet to remove heavy sand buildup

Four storms last winter created a buildup of 300,000 cubic yards of sand, clogging the inlet, which feeds Moriches Bay and sits between Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue Beach County Park in Brookhaven and Southampton towns. The inlet provides access to the Atlantic Ocean and is a major economic driver for marine-related businesses in the region. “Failure to dredge these vital waterways would not only cause economic hardship and create a public safety crisis, but will bring about significant environmental issues,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said at a news conference Friday at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in East Moriches. >click to read<10:28

NH delegation requests Hampton Harbor emergency dredging while Depoe Bay Mayor ready to do jail time for dredging

The congressional delegation from New Hampshire is requesting that emergency dredging of Hampton Harbor be included in the Army Corps of Engineers’ work plan for the 2019 fiscal year. The plan must be submitted to Congress no later than Nov. 20. Sand shoals in the harbor are causing serious issues for those who navigate the waters for work and recreation. The channel is currently only 20 to 30 feet wide in some places and at least two boats have gotten stuck on the shoals this season. >click to read< Declaring her intent to save the town’s harbor from an onslaught of muddy silt, Mayor Barbara Leff said she would do anything — including jail time — to dig the harbor out of trouble following a futile plea for help to federal officials. “We’ve done all the political things we can to get the harbor dredged,”, >click to read<10:49

State won’t support Pebble Mine, unless it can prove ‘zero impact’

Gov. Bill Walker wants to press pause on the controversial Pebble Mine project in Southwest, Alaska. Pebble is seeking federal permits on a smaller mine proposal, about half the size of the one it began pursuing more than a decade ago. But in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, Walker urged suspension of a critical piece of that process — the environmental impact statement — calling for proof of a “feasible and realistic” project first. “This is something that we’ve looked at very carefully, and we feel like even the project proponents are unsure of the size of this project,” said Andy Mack, Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources.,, >click to read<10:45

Local leaders encouraged by water wars arguments in U.S. Supreme Court hearing

Florida lawyers fared well in last week’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the “water wars” between the state and Georgia, officials who sat through the hearing said. Rep. Neal Dunn, who was among them, said he felt Florida has a real shot of winning the case.,, “Georgia came off some pretty harsh questioning – a lot of harsh interrogatories, and a lot of apparent disbelief on the part of the justices in what they were hearing from Georgia.”,,, Florida says a steady supply of water is the last chance for Apalachicola Bay’s struggling oyster industry and endangered species. >click here to read< 17:45

$300 million Asian Carp control plan needs study, says Lt. Gov.

Another proposed step to prevent Asian carp in the Illinois River from invading the Great Lakes needs a careful look, Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said Monday morning aboard the twin-screw tugboat “Windy City” while it plied the Illinois River at Ottawa. In July, the Army Corps of Engineers released a new carp control system that would be installed at the Brandon Roads Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet. Of the $300 million cost of the installation the state is being asked to put up $90 million, she said,  and then pay $10 million annually in maintenance expenses,, “The actual (Asian carp) population has decreased 68 percent because of commercial fishing and other nonstructural solutions that are working,” said Del Wilkins. click here to read the story 15:43

Maryland slashes oyster restoration acreage goal in Eastern Shore sanctuary

Maryland has decided to reduce the large-scale oyster restoration project goal in the Little Choptank River after boaters ran aground at another sanctuary and some of the man-made reefs there had to be rebuilt. The sanctuaries are among five planned to be built as part of a federal-state agreement to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.,, Skeptical of oyster restoration from the start, watermen have complained of trotlines getting stuck in new stone river bottoms and boats being damaged by oyster reef “high spots” in Harris Creek. A trotline is a long, heavy fishing line with short, baited lines suspended from it. They are often used to catch blue crabs in Maryland. click here to read the story 09:46

Sea lions hinder salmon conservation

California and Steller sea lions took a bigger bite out of last year’s salmon run than in any previous year, according to a new federal report. 2015 saw a bigger run, with more than 239,000 chinook and steelhead migrating past Bonneville Dam. That year, the total number of salmon that sea lions ate was he largest ever recorded. The Army Corps of Engineers recorded more than 260 sea lions eating more than 10,000 fish from January to June 2015. The 2016 salmon run was far smaller, but the sea lions’ appetite for salmon didn’t shrink much. They still ate more than 9,500 fish, nearly 6 percent of the run. That’s the largest share of the run eaten by the large marine mammals since Army Corps scientists started watching 15 years ago. Read the rest here 12:43

Apalachicola Advocates, Fishermen Continue Fight For Water

At the end of a river system that feeds booming Atlanta, and farms throughout Georgia and Alabama, sits Apalachicola Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers decides how much water flows here, where the river meets the Gulf. For years, Florida has argued it’s not getting its fair share, and the Bay and surrounding Franklin County are struggling because of it. T.J. Ward is a third generation fisherman who works at his family’s business in downtown Apalach. Over the past ten years, he’s seen the lack of freshwater take its toll, in the form of oyster predators. “One of those are, they call them snails, but we call them oyster drills, the locals do. And they eat oysters. And they’re even cannibalistic, so when they run out of oysters they’ll eat themselves. I mean they’re devastating. That’s one thing that’s killed the end of the bay that our oyster company’s on,” Ward said. Audio report, continue reading the story here 10:15

The Manasquan Ridge – Essential Fish Habitat or Common Borrow, and at what cost?

Beach replenishment is costly and exacts a heavy toll on the environment, depleting underwater ridges that are home to a broad variety of sea life. “This project is another important component of the Christie administration’s plan to bring engineered beaches and dunes to the entire coast,” state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said September 2, as he announced work would start soon on a new project, pumping another 3.8 million cubic yards of sand from the sea floor onto eight miles of beach from Atlantic City to Longport. Fishermen question the cost to the environment from demands for more and more sand on the beaches. A seafloor survey of sand ridges off Manasquan commissioned in June by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management raised alarms that the Corps of Engineers could dredge more sand from undersea hills that are essential fish habitat. Collectively known as the Manasquan Ridge, the hills attract seasonal concentrations of fish, and could be a future “borrow area,” where sand is extracted to pump onto nearby beaches. “They are already planning to use borrow areas closer to the beach,” said captain James Lovgren of the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant Beach, who, with other fishermen, met with DEP officials in late July regarding their concerns about sand mining. Read the story here 09:16

Judge Lets East Sand Island Cormorant Cull Continue

Cormorants3_h7b5woA federal judge will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to keep shooting native cormorants by the thousands, to reduce predation on young salmon, despite objections from environmentalists who say the slaughter doesn’t address the real cause of dwindling salmon populations: hydroelectric dams. The Audubon Society of Portland led an April 2015 lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, claiming that the plan scapegoated a natural predator and had little effect on survival rates of young salmon. Chief among the Audubon Society’s arguments is that there are so many factors that determine whether a salmon will return from sea to spawn in its native waters that the government’s focus on cormorant predation was not only fruitless, but hurt a native bird protected by the Migratory Species Act.   The government’s plan focused on East Sand Island, home to the largest breeding population of double-crested cormorants in North America. The 60-acre island is nestled in the fertile brackish waters where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Read the rest here 14:11