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EA and EIS Public Comment Page

This page allows for the public and stakeholders to review Environmental Assessments (EA) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) during the Public Comment period in support of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Please follow the directions within the documents below to provide your comments to the U.S. IBWC.

United States International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) announces Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment Arroyo Colorado at Harlingen Flood Flow Improvement Project, Cameron County, Texas.

Through environmental analysis provided in this document, the USIBWC has selected an alternative to restore the full flood-conveyance capabilities to Arroyo Colorado between Business 77 (Sunshine Strip) to Highway 574 (Cemetery Road).

The draft EA is available for download and public review by clicking here.

Public comment period closes July 24, 2020. Questions or comments should be submitted to Kelly Blough, Environmental Protection Specialist, via email at Kelly.Blough@ibwc.gov or via mail at USIBWC, 4191 N Mesa, El Paso TX 79902.


Restoration of Flood Water Capacity of the Arroyo Colorado in Harlingen Texas Scoping Meeting

RGCP Aquatic Habitat Restoration

Canutillo

 

Restoration of Flood Water Capacity of the Arroyo Colorado in Harlingen Texas Scoping Meeting
This is the location for viewing presentation materials for the Restoration of Flood Water Capacity of the Arroyo Colorado at the Harlingen Environmental Assessment public scoping meeting to be held at the City of Harlingen Community Center, 201 E. Madison Avenue, Harlingen, Texas, on Thursday, December 12, 2019 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The presentation materials in Portable Document Format (PDF) are available for viewing here. A Fact Sheet in English and Spanish summarizing this project is available for viewing here. Please provide electronic or written comments to the attention of Mr. Kelly Blough, Environmental Management Division, United States Section, International Boundary and Water Commission; 4191 N. Mesa; El Paso, Texas 79902.

The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) is soliciting public comment on alternative methods to restore the capacity of the Arroyo Colorado in Harlingen, Texas to carry floodwaters. USIBWC representatives will participate in a public scoping meeting to present alternatives to restore the capacity of the Arroyo Colorado over a 6.3-mile segment from Business 77 (Sunshine Strip) to Highway 574 (Cemetery Road) in Harlingen and Cameron County, Texas.

The public scoping meeting will be held on Thursday, December 12, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the City of Harlingen Community Center, 201 East Madison Avenue. Materials will be presented in an open house format that will describe alternatives under consideration to restore the Arroyo Colorado’s capacity.

USIBWC oversees the Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Project (LRGFCP), which controls floodwater in the Lower Rio Grande and interior floodways in the tri-county region (Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy Counties). During river flooding, Anzalduas Dam south of Mission, Texas is used to divert floodwater from the Rio Grande into the interior floodway system to control flooding along the river. A portion of this water eventually flows into the Arroyo Colorado, a natural channel confined by high banks in most areas. The USIBWC maintains the LRGFCP and its levee systems and removes obstructions from the floodways to maintain conveyance capacity.

USIBWC is considering additional maintenance activities that are intended to restore the Arroyo Colorado’s flood conveyance capabilities. The Arroyo Colorado is an important part of the LRGFCP that protects residents, businesses, and farmland from flooding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Over time, increases in vegetation and sediment caused the Arroyo Colorado to lose more than 50 percent of its capacity to carry floodwaters, which increases flood risk. Recent vegetation and sediment removal has restored some of the Arroyo Colorado’s flood conveyance capacity.

USIBWC is considering the following alternatives, some of which would restore the full design capacity of the Arroyo Colorado:

No Action Alternative

Current vegetation and minor sediment maintenance operations would continue. Between US 77 and FM 509, vegetation maintenance occurs on 53 acres of floodplain and minor sediment maintenance occurs near bridges and other structures. These maintenance operations would continue as part of each of the alternatives currently under consideration. This alternative would not restore the Arroyo Colorado’s flood conveyance capacity, and properties in Harlingen would continue to have an increased flood risk.

Off-Channel Storage Alternative

The Arroyo Colorado’s flood conveyance capacity would not be restored. Water surface elevations would be managed by temporarily storing floodwater in a new detention basin that may require up to 2,204 acres to construct and operate. Properties in Harlingen would have a much-reduced flood risk.

Expanded Vegetation Removal Alternative

Additional flood conveyance capacity would be restored by expanding vegetation removal and maintenance activities downstream to Cemetery Road. This may not fully restore the Arroyo Colorado’s flood conveyance capacity and some increased flood risk may continue.

Expanded Vegetation and Sediment Removal Alternative

Flood conveyance capacity would be fully restored through dredging and expanded vegetation management between US 77 and Cemetery Road. This alternative would provide properties in Harlingen with the greatest decrease in flood risk.

Public comment will be accepted at the meeting and the presentation materials, a fact sheet, and instructions to submit comments will be available for a continuing 30-day period beginning December 12 and ending on January 11, 2020. Public comments received will be used to refine the alternatives and prepare an Environmental Assessment. There will be an additional opportunity for public and stakeholder review and comment on the draft Environmental Assessment once it is completed.

Implementation of the selected alternative will not begin until the Final Environmental Assessment is completed, and the proper permits and funding have been secured.

For more information, contact Mr. Kelly Blough, Environmental Protection Specialist at (915) 832-4734

 

 

Aquatic Habitat Restoration
The Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Aquatic Habitat Restoration in the Rio Grande Canalization Project is available for public review and comment. The public comment period has been extended until July 22, 2019. Seven aquatic habitat restoration sites with varying habitat objectives are being considered for implementation. An environmental impact statement will not be prepared unless additional information which may affect this decision is brought to our attention within the public comment period. The document may be viewed in Portable Document Format (PDF) available here. Please provide written comments to the attention of Ms. Elizabeth Verdecchia, Environmental Management Division, United States Section, International Boundary and Water Commission; 4191 N. Mesa; El Paso, Texas 79902.

The USIBWC will conduct a public hearing on June 12, 2019, 5 to 7 p.m., Las Cruces City Hall, 2nd Floor, Conference Room 2007B, 700 N. Main Street, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

Canutillo
The public comment period for the Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact for Flood Control Improvements to the Rio Grande Canalization Project from Vinton to Canutillo, El Paso County, Texas (Canutillo Phase II) was completed in 2017. The final EA is on hold.

Notice
Please note all written and email comments received during the comment period will become part of the public record, including any personal information you may provide. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.  All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety.