Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation, a Texas-based consulting engineering firm, has been providing professional services to municipal, state, and federal agencies, and private clients for over 60 years. Originally founded in Houston in 1945, this private c
Chris Sallese, coastal programs manager at Dannenbaum Engineering, of the proposed levee system at a Tribune event last week.
The recovery district hired the local firm with a $4 million state grant to study how best to protect the greater Houston area from hurricanes, with work beginning in 2014.
But Sallese, a former commander of the Army Corps' Galveston District, also said there are legitimate questions about the high cost of the coastal spine and the environmental impact of installing a massive floodgate between Galveston and Bolivar to help keep storm surge from entering Galveston Bay.He said a big concern is that it would greatly hinder the flow of water between the bay, one of the region's most productive estuaries, and the Gulf of Mexico.
That could "change the hydrodynamics, morphology, and water quality of the bay," according to the recovery district's report.
That could mean non-compliance with federal environmental regulations such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, Sallese said.
Assuming that any storm surge protection project will be federally funded, that would mean the project could not proceed.
Sallese said other proposals that have called for placing massive floodgates at other places in the bay to block surge face similar environmental concerns, so the study team wanted to propose something gate-free for the public and recovery district board to consider and compare to the coastal spine.
And Sallese said the residents who weighed in on such a plan at a series of public hearings last year soundly rejected the idea of installing the entire levee system along the bay-front, which is lined with high-dollar homes and recreational areas.
"We're not trying to take anything away from the coastal spine.
We're just trying to say: If you could not build it, what could you do" instead, said Sallese, noting the study team could not delve any further into environmental impacts because of limited funding.
Asked about past opposition to SH-146 and ring levee concepts, Sallese said no one had ever seriously examined their feasibility or cost before.
According to the recovery district's report, conducted using Army Corps standards, the levee system would provide more than $1 billion in annual benefits, and - at $3.5 billion - cost much less than the coastal spine, which Sallese's team estimated would cost $5.8 billion and have about the same annual benefit.
Sallese's study team will take public comment on both the coastal spine and levee system at a series of public meetings this month before making a recommendation to the recovery district board, which may accept or reject it.
A final report with recommendations is expected in June.
COL (Ret.) Chris SalleseRegional Storm Surge Protection
COL (Ret.) Chris Sallese spent more than 27 years in the U.S. Army before entering the private sector, including more than three years as the Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District.
His extensive background and qualifications include leadership and management experience in engineering; emergency management; coastal operations and management; ecosystem restoration and resource sustainability; risk mitigation; strategic planning; interagency operations; and disaster response and recovery.
During his military career, he was extensively involved in the planning, programming and execution of federal civil works programs along the Texas Gulf Coast encompassing flood damage reduction, navigation, regulatory activities, water quality, environmental conservation, recreation, emergency response services, and economic vitality.
COL (Ret.) Sallese joined Dannenbaum in 2013 and serves as the firm's Coastal Programs Manager.He is currently working with numerous clients both public and private on terminal develop and rehabilitation projects and serves as the Project Manager for the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District's storm surge protection study which encompasses the Texas Coast from Orange to Brazoria County.COL (Ret.) Chris Sallese - April 21, 2016
SAN BERNARD RIVER UPDATE TO BEGIN OCTOBER | mikestexashunt-fish.com
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