GALVESTON, Texas (Feb. 20, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District will meet with non-federal sponsors, customers and agency partners to collaborate on best practices regarding programs ranging from environmental to flood risk management, dredging the Texas coast and regulatory oversight of U.S. waters during a Stakeholder Partnering Forum Feb. 25 at the district’s headquarters building in Galveston.
“Fostering effective working relationships with these agencies is critical to the success of our district’s missions,” said Col. Richard Pannell, commanding officer of the USACE Galveston District. “We construct, maintain and operate key infrastructure projects that contribute to the nation’s economy, environment, safety and quality of life and are always seeking opportunities with our partners to improve these services. Hosting a partnering forum affords stakeholders a venue to understand and interact on the latest information about our programs, projects, business processes and capabilities.”
The one-day forum will identify opportunities to better synchronize and integrate the district’s support of stakeholder commitments and emergency interests such as the Coastal Texas Feasibility Study and the Freeport Harbor Preconstruction, Engineering and Design plan. It is a unique opportunity for non-federal sponsors, customers and agency partners from the Sabine to the Rio Grande Rivers along the Texas coast to network and exchange ideas from the whole community perspective on ways the Galveston District is able to improve value delivery to the nation across civil works and regulatory business lines.
“This partnering forum will allow us to hear direct feedback from our sponsors and stakeholders on issues that are key to the successful execution of projects and to move forward on integrated solutions,” said Bill Wise, chief of the Project Management Branch for the USACE Galveston District.
According to Joe Hrametz, chief of the Operations Division for the USACE Galveston District, this forum will enable him to update stakeholders on the fiscal year 2015 budget and how this funding will impact future dredging projects along the Texas coast.
“The FY15 President’s Budget for the O&M Program was increased $19.7 million in the work plan,” said Hrametz. “The partnering forum will provide an excellent venue to interface with our customers face to face to address their issues and concerns and to provide an explanation on how the extra money will be used to reduce critical backlog.
Facilitated stakeholder breakout discussions relating to partnered progress and needs will include Texas coastal resource management; Texas ports; the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Texas floodplain management support for non-federal investment. Partnering panel discussions will engage the participant community and culminate in a synthesis of successes, challenges, lessons learned and strategies for working with the district.
“The upcoming Stakeholder Partnering Forum provides an important opportunity for TxDOT and the district to better understand the unique processes and capabilities of our agencies in order to improve coordination that will facilitate and expedite the navigational safety and efficiency of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, an economic engine for the state and nation,” said Dan Harmon, director of the Maritime Division at the Texas Department of Transportation. “We look forward to continuing and growing our partnership with the district.”
With increasing constrained financial resources, both stakeholders and district representatives expressed that they will continue to seek ways to efficiently spend resources responsibly to ensure that taxpayer-provided funds maximize value to the nation. The next stakeholder forum is scheduled for August 2015.
The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The district is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 250 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates. Its main missions include navigation, ecosystem restoration, emergency management, flood risk management and regulatory oversight. The Corps also supports a robust Regulatory Program that interacts with the local community through a variety of public outreach opportunities.
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