Corps of Engineers - Choctawhatchee River clean-up - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 05-06-2015, 09:46 AM   #1
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Default Corps of Engineers - Choctawhatchee River clean-up

Today at 1pm in Freeport at the City Hall the Corps of Engineers will hear public comments on a proposal to clean up Choctawhatchee River and Bay.

Anytime the Corps comes up with a project like this there is politics involved so it's important for the public to participate in any public hearings to have their voices heard.

There are only two locations west of Tallahassee that FWC has named as top bream fisheries : Lake Talquin and the Choctawhatchee River. I am very concerned about what a so called 'clean up' would do to the fishery and environment in general. This river has run wild forever and nature has been it's protector.

The Corps of Engineers does not have a good track record in Florida for protecting the environment and waterways. Such 'clean up' projects like the Everglades, cross Florida Canal, and the Apalachicola River are good examples of massive boondoggles by the Corps. I am sure there are others as well.

So, I hope there will be a good turnout today to hear what they have in mind.

Politics is always involved in Corps projects and much of the time profit is more of a motivator by advocates than protection of the environment or welfare of the public.

Last edited by FishWalton; 05-06-2015 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:52 AM   #2
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I hate they are having it at 1pm. I would be there, otherwise.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:21 AM   #3
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I wish I could attend. Please update
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
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Scary!
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:45 AM   #5
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Do you have a link that describes the proposed project?
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snake 166 View Post
Do you have a link that describes the proposed project?
+1 Good question!
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:40 AM   #7
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Not on Freeport Calendar.
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:27 PM   #8
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First I've heard of this. I to, wonder what a "clean-up" consists of?? Sounds more like death and destruction to me...
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:37 PM   #9
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It was a relatively benign meeting and wasn't much about "clean-up". It started out with Preble-Rish appealing to the corps to dredge the creek in Freeport along the boatyards then ended up about the pros/cons by residents of clearing obstacles in Choctawhatchee. Everybody seemed to agree on the need to dredge the mouth of the river as it has silted in and seems to contribute to the flooding and stagnation. Everybody had heartfelt inputs for the most part and the meeting was relatively civil but with differing viewpoints. The corps had suggestions on funding for projects which I thought was an olive branch. Don't think much will come out of the meeting as it went in many different directions but everybody was genuinely concerned about the river.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:22 PM   #10
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k-p has it just about right on the Freeport meeting. To add a little more depth and detail it was clear to me private real estate developers are a big part of requesting the dredging of 4 Mile Creek in Freeport. There is already a platted large housing sub-division that includes 4 Mile Creek waterfront property. Also, equal or even larger is the Working Waterfront project that has been going on for the past 8 months with city/county and private business interest. This would increase related commercial interest in ship building and repair for facilities already in business, and probably other real estate and business development along the creek. In addition the boat ramp would be enlarged for more parking. I am personally aware a lot of effort has gone into the 4 Mile Creek/Freeport project, but was not aware what all had been done until today.

On the river situation the Corps is not authorized to dredge below Geneva, but they can pull snags and remove trees along the river bank. They can not dredge the mouth of the river without a special act of Congress. Their spokesman said they get about $1 billion a year for projects and they have $20 billion in projects already on a list. Alternative funding sources were mentioned including Restore and NRDA funding which comes from the BP Settlement. I'm sure various private interest, including municipalities, will be submitting project requests to the county Restore Act Committee which is currently accepting applications


I didn't get a lot of vibes that indicated the Corps will be doing much of anything anytime soon. However, I believe the 4 Mile Creek effort will continue full steam ahead by those who are pushing the idea. A good bit of money has already been spent in the planning stage by the county and the city, and the real estate developers have been doing their thing. The contracted advisor who presented maps and movies to showcase the idea works for the city and the county, and maybe even other private interests with a dog in the hunt.

There was no discussion on cleaning up the bay except the septic tank problem around Bay Loop Road which has existed for decades.

The river issue was brought up by a County Commissioner. His District covers the river. He said a number of people have contacted him to do something about safety issues related to snags and unsafe areas. If you use the river you know all about the snags and where most of them are. The problem is tourist and casual users don't know the river at all. While this is a concern it's a condition of mother nature and there will always be natural changes in the river related to snags and sandbars.

As k-p said, the meeting was civil. I think the most passion expressed was related to the river. However, it's my bet little will be done in that regard and the focus will be on the Freeport 4 Mile Creek and the Working Waterfront/commercial. There is a great deal more work to be done and there are several state and federal agencies that would be involved somewhere along the line. There will be a mountain of red tape to overcome.

I do believe there would be public support to pull a few snags where they cause a problem in the middle of the river in low water, but people will get excited if there should be an effort to remove shoreline trees which create fish and game habitat, and there would be a negative reaction to dropping drag lines in the river to clear sandbars and other natural components of the river. One point was noted that most of the river shore is wetlands and finding a place to put the spoils would be a problem.

Turned out this was nothing more than a public opportunity for government to open a dialogue with the community. There was no scientific evidence presented nor actual economic or environmental date available. Also, there were no estimates on costs. This was just a meeting to hear public opinion, and for local government to meet with the Corps in a public way.

That's my take of the situation.

Last edited by FishWalton; 05-07-2015 at 12:11 AM.
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