GALVESTON, Texas (September 3, 2019) –Just shy of three years working for the Corps, Emily Drastata considers herself the “environmental voice” for the Operations and Maintenance projects at the Galveston District. As a physical scientist at USACE Galveston District, Drastata and her teammate Lisa Finn, environmental project manager, coordinate with the project delivery teams (PDTs) to ensure that compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act is achieved for all projects.
“I enjoy having visibility of all of the O&M projects going on in the District,” said Drastata, “It is a privilege to work with the different operations managers and have a hand in work taking place all along the Texas coast,” she said.
Currently Drastata is working on a concurrence request to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“This coordination will allow us to continue disposing material from Sabine Pass Outer Bar and Sabine Channels into the offshore disposal areas,” she said.
The EPA is just one of many agencies that the operations’ environmental team coordinates with. While performing emergency maintenance dredging of the Brownsville Channel, Drastata experienced one of the most interesting things she has encountered with the Corps, her first dredge.
“I was able to tour and be trained in our environmental inspection procedures on the McFarland, one of four oceangoing hopper dredges that is owned and operated by the Corps,” said Drastata.
Since her first dredge experience, she has been able to conduct environmental inspections on five other hopper dredges.
“My goal is to eventually see all of the hopper dredges and, hopefully, make it back to the McFarland to remind myself of where my career in civil works started.” said Drastata.
Drasta explains that her favorite part of working for the Corps is being a part of the Navigation mission and have a role in keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce. Her interest in working for the Corps was piqued when she heard guest presenters from the Galveston District speak in her classes while attending Texas A&M University at Galveston.
“It seemed like everyone in my degree program wanted a job with the Corps,” said Drasata. “I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to start working as a regulatory specialist in the Compliance Branch through the DoD Pathways Program during my second year of grad school.”
A native of New Braunfels, Texas, Drastata earned a degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geosciences in 2015 from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas and a Master of Marine Resource Management in 2017 from Texas A&M University at Galveston.
In her free time, Drastata enjoys sand volleyball, dancing, riding her bike and being a leader of her church’s young adult group.