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By Bridget Brown
The Facts



Published June 23, 2006

A letter-writing campaign endorsing the welfare of the San Bernard River could serve as added ammunition in petitioning for grant money to dredge the mouth of the river.

"The political process takes time, and the politicians need to show proof," said David Stedman, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County. "Our letter-writing campaign will empower them to be able to show the number of businesses and people that care, and the economic impact of the river."

At a recent meeting, the Alliance adopted a resolution of support for the dredging project, and Alliance members hope other community groups will pass similar resolutions and individuals will pen letters to campaign for the river.

All letters and resolutions should be sent to the Alliance office, Stedman said. The group will collect the letters and resolutions and present them to Brazoria County Commissioner Donald "Dude" Payne.

"We are encouraging communities to adopt resolutions of support and business owners to write letters to," Stedman said. "Anyone that has ever enjoyed pulling a fish out of the river or watching the sunset over the river should write in."

Representatives from Friends of the River San Bernard, an organization that wants to return the river to its original state, presented the ecological and economic penalties of the river's current condition to the Alliance's board of directors.

A diversion of the Brazos River in 1929 caused silt to accumulate at the San Bernard's mouth instead of moving toward Surfside and Quintana beaches. The excess sand has clogged the mouth, causing the river to flow into the Intracoastal Waterway instead of connecting straight to the Gulf.

The closed mouth is becoming a navigational hazard as it slows barge traffic along the Intra-coastal Waterway, said Friends of the River San Bernard charter member Roy Edwards.

"Sometime they are moving large quantities of hazardous materials," Edwards said.

Parts of the river are beginning to stagnate, damaging the ecosystem of the area and threatening the quality of life along the river, Edwards said.

"This situation is tenuous. Every time we look at the mouth, it is getting progressively worse," Stedman said. "The purpose of this is to really focus community support and generate the kind of political will it is going to take to keep the river alive."

A study completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined the mouth of the San Bernard River has moved an average of 1.5 feet per day since 1989. The mouth is about 2.3 miles southwest of its original location, the Alliance's resolution states.

River activists must raise $250,000 for a Corps of Engineers survey for the dredging project. Edwards said the letters and resolutions will be attached to grant applications as further proof of the need to dredge the mouth.

"Like Sam Houston said, 'Give me enough bullets, and I'll take care of Santa Anna,'" Edwards said. "It's just another set of bullets for us. The bigger the gun is and the more ammunition we have, the more likely we will be able to come out with an open mouth to the river."

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WRITESTUFF

Send letters and resolutions to:
Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County
201 E. Myrtle, Suite 139
Angleton, TX 77515

For a sample resolution, e-mail info(at)eda-bc.com or call, (979) 848-0560
 
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