BY JACKIE PENNOYER, Charleston District
After an extended 60-day public review period, the draft report for the Charleston Peninsula Coastal Flood Risk Management Study has received nearly 500 comments from community members and stakeholders across the region.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Charleston District, which manages the three-year, $3 million, fully federally funded study, began investigating coastal storm risks on a low-lying stretch of the Charleston peninsula in October 2018. This area includes the region’s most robust medical district – resting on flood-prone, reclaimed marsh – and historic resources, dating back to some of the nation’s first settlements.
The study was requested by the city of Charleston to augment the community’s proactive discussions about comprehensive, long-term flood reduction strategies. USACE’s study, which integrates findings by the city’s Dutch Dialogues™ effort and considers other city actions and climate-related concerns, primarily examines storm surge and the risks of coastal storm events – both significant threats for the peninsula and within USACE’s jurisdictional scope.
The initial comment period kicked off April 20 after the state and nation had already begun dealing with the uncertainty associated with the coronavirus. In addition to the already-expanded public comment period, the study team mounted a dynamic outreach strategy to help foster an engaging public review and keep the study on a congressionally mandated timeline.
As part of the draft report release, the team designed and launched an interactive online presentation, walking viewers through the report’s exhaustive analysis and presenting findings through geographic information system mapping. The study team dedicated hours each week to taking one-on-one calls with citizens, engaged more than 1,000 community members through joint virtual webinars with the city, and made print copies of the study’s draft report available for zero-contact pick up outside the district’s downtown office.
The district received sweeping and constructive feedback across every facet of the Charleston community. Homeowners, teachers, realtors, engineers, local government officials, and historic and environmental groups all submitted feedback on the draft report.
This input, as well as the study’s partnerships and ongoing collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies, are vital to USACE’s commitment to public service and ensure USACE develops a solution that is both effective and aligned with the interests of the community.
Over the next six months, the team will review all public input, further refine the study’s tentative measures, and conduct successive study analysis. These refinements, including those on storm surge wall alignment, effects on the surrounding communities, viewshed impacts, nonstructural elements, and environmental considerations will be available for comment during a second public review period for that purpose in early 2021.
All submitted comments will be addressed in the final report. In the meantime, the district will update the frequently asked questions section on the study’s website to address the public’s top questions.
This article appears in the 2020-2021 edition of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Building Strong®, Serving the Nation and the Armed Forces
SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION
• 5,337 miles of navigable channels
• 1,268 miles of levees
• 234.4 milllion tons of commerce
• 49 dams
• 32 locks
• 10 major harbors
• 32 deep-draft harbors
• 121 shallow-draft harbors
• 31 lakes (five of 10 most visited in the nation)
• 26 visitor centers
• 469 recreation sites
• 199 boat ramps
• 6,718 campsites
• 14 plants in five states
• 3,131 megawatts capacity
• Approximately 5,714 gigawatt-hours generated
• Approximately $192 million in sales revenue
• Everglades ($9.5 billion)
• 6.1 million acre-feet of conservation storage for municipal and industrial use, hydropower, fish and wildlife, water quality, navigation (this figure does not include Lake Okeechobee or the Water Conservation areas)
• 85% of potable water for Raleigh, North Carolina – from Tony Young and Reallocation Study
• 35% of potable water for Atlanta, Georgia
FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION
• 5% of flood storage nationwide
• 14 dams and reservoirs
• 303 miles of federal channels
• 1,323 miles of local levees/channels
• Five major commands
• 14 Army installations
• 13 major Air Force bases
• 32% Army construction (in the continental United States)
SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION
60 Forsyth St. SW Atlanta, GA 30303
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