Setting the Record Straight: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, informed the Public about Hurricane Harvey

Published Feb. 23, 2018

GALVESTON, Texas (February 22, 2018) – As a result of recent press reports, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District conducted a review of historical records.  The review showed Corps officials worked diligently with local, county, state and federal officials to inform the public on flooding risks.

“Our review confirmed we held daily briefings, assigned trained liaison officers to provide flooding data to County and local officials and kept the public informed of flood risks,” said Dr. Edmond Russo, Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management at the Galveston District, and- Corps spokesperson at Houston Transtar during Hurricane Harvey.

Russo said that in the lead up to and during hurricane Harvey and the ensuing record rainfalls, the Corps of Engineers released critical flooding information to local officials and the public multiple times each day.

He said the public record showed Corps of Engineers’ liaison officers provided reservoir safety data through three daily briefings to local, county, state and federal officials.

Published press releases showed Russo personally participated in daily press briefings, and interacted with city, county and state officials. “Our Public Affairs outreach program was competently staffed and we shared flood information through social media and public telephone response hot- lines.” said Russo.

Because the Corps is prohibited from issuing evacuation orders, it has worked to warn local leaders and communities through the Corps’ Dam Safety Program.  Records show inundation mapping data was routinely provided to local governments for their use in formulating evacuation plans.

 “Since 2010, we’ve held over 66 public outreach and 63 stakeholder meetings to reach targeted audiences that spanned across four zip codes in the area around the reservoirs,” said Galveston District Public Affairs Officer, Lt. Col. Mark Williford.

Williford said during the months of August and September, 13 News Releases were published providing current information on Addicks  and Barker, with approximately 126 Facebook posts with a reach of over 1.6 million and 130 tweets making over 965,000 impressions.

Due to the current litigation, responses to specific questions concerning the releases require referral to the United States Department of Justice.

Lt. Col. Mark Williford

Release no. 18-017