Nueces River Conservation Issue

July 7, 2013 General News 1 Comment

Council members, please read the post from our dear friend Sky Lewey, asking us to get involved and help save the Nueces River. Lets support the cause!!!

Park Chalk Bluff has applied for a sand, marl and gravel permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife to annually disturb 999 cubic yards of sediment over 10 acres of riverbed.  The volume of sediment planed for movement annually is equivalent to about 166 dump truck loads; a small gravel mine.   This level of disturbance can cause morphological deformations for many miles downstream.  As we have all seen, the river reacts to alterations by shifting its meander pattern, cutting away at long stable banks and dropping gravels in heaps.  The impact of the proposed disturbance could have disastrous consequences on the river, even in a good year.  But given the current drought and weak flow conditions, aquatic life and our mutual recreation interests are in jeopardy.

You may remember that Park Chalk Bluff dug holes, channels and built an impoundment in the riverbed a few years ago without permitting.  They were cited for the violation and have been cited twice since that time for similar violations.  The silt generated from those activities has caused significant harm in our area.  The fine sediments generated from these disturbances are finally becoming stabilized in the holes but much material remains in the channel and is easily suspended when disturbed causing less than clear conditions.

Interestingly the permit application (attached) claims plans to minimize harm to aquatic and riparian habitat by stocking bass and catfish.  We would hope that this claim will be investigated by TPWD as stocking non-native fish poses a tremendous risk to the unique genetic strains of Nueces fish.

The Agency is welcoming input and your written comment can impact the proposed permit and help mitigate the impacts of continued bank disturbances in the Chalk Bluff area.   The permit could be denied or issued on a restricted or contingent basis.

Ideas of comment include:

·        Disallow the permit and enhance enforcement for violations.

·        Allow disturbance only if/when the river is verifiably not flowing below site and only a one time well planned restoration project to include bank stabilization/vegetation and mitigation for offsite movement of fine sediments.

·        Require a survey of the site to insure that the 10 acres planned for disturbance does not infringe on adjacent private property.

·        Require engineering for project, not just a bulldozer and operator.  ETC…

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