Corps' partnership with Trinity River Authority saves time, money

Published June 18, 2012
GALVESTON, Texas (June 18, 2012) – With a rich history of water management, the Trinity River Authority is known for providing services to more than 60 cities in the Trinity River basin and for providing approximately 70 percent of the water for the City of Houston. But what you might not be aware of is that the TRA partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District in 1977 to issue permits at the Lake Livingston Project, saving permit applicants a substantial amount of time and taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.

“We have empowered TRA with the authority to issue general permits and make decisions that are compliant with both of our regulations,” said Compliance Section Chief Kenny Jaynes, USACE Galveston District. “Our mutually beneficial relationship enables us to minimize the bureaucratic involvement and expedite the permitting process.”

In addition to streamlining the permitting process, TRA’s partnership alleviates Corps’ regulators from spending hundreds of hours each year on the road and enables 15 permit evaluators to spend more time evaluating approximately 1,500 permit applications that cross their desks each year.

“It’s obviously inefficient for the Corps’ staff to drive two to four hours up here every time someone wants to build a houseboat,” said Area Administrator Richard Gerard, Lake Livingston Project. “The Corps relies on TRA to be its eyes and ears on Lake Livingston and we are happy to be of service."

Encompassing 83,000 surface acres with 463 miles of shoreline, the Lake Livingston Project boasts 3,873 permitted structures (as of May 2012). Additionally, last year was one of TRA’s busiest for issuing permits.

“There are structures being built and modified all the time on Lake Livingston,” said Jaynes. “On average, a couple hundred permits are issued each year on Lake Livingston. That’s a lot of traveling and as a result, TRA’s assistance saves us a tremendous amount of time and money."

For the residents and businesses along the shoreline, TRA’s involvement in the permitting process results in a quicker turnaround time.

“The general permit certainly saves time for applicants,” said Gerard. “If there are no outstanding issues, we usually approve the application in three to five business days.”

With more than 700 miles of coastline, rivers, channels and lakes to oversee, the USACE Galveston District’s Regulatory Branch staff is thankful for TRA’s continued commitment in going the extra mile to combine resources and assure maximum value added to the nation and to the Corps’ biggest stakeholders – the American public.

“TRA is a very valuable partner,” said Jaynes. “The Corps’ relationship with TRA is phenomenal and this partnership is very much a success story.”

Learn more about the Lake Livingston Project at or visit the district’s newly redesigned website to find out about Corps' partnering opportunities