Hollaway provided comprehensive communications, interagency coordination, stakeholder engagement and public outreach, and consensus-building services for this $26B coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration program. Effort also included a comprehensive review of economic and benefic-cost analysis for the proposed coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration measures, as well as the development of the 2021 Feasibility Study Final Report.
The US Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Texas General Land Office (TxGLO) initiated the $20M Coastal Texas Study to assess the feasibility of constructing large-scale projects for coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration along the Texas coast. The goal of the Coastal Texas Study is to enhance resiliency in coastal communities and improve capabilities to prepare for, resist, recover, and adapt to coastal hazards, including storm surge, coastal erosion, and sea level rise.
Since 2018, Hollaway Environmental + Communications Services, Inc. (Hollaway) has served as the lead communications and public involvement consultant, under contract to the non-Federal sponsor, for this coastal planning effort recommending over $34B of projects along the Texas coast.
Communication challenges included balancing competing interests across the study area and working to build consensus and support for large-scale coastal flood protection and ecosystem restoration efforts which benefit not only specific locations but the entire region and the national economy. Hollaway’s involvement marked a turning point for the study, switching to a proactive engagement model focused on working in partnership with stakeholders to build consensus and support for what was considered a highly controversial project.
- Planning and facilitation of seven large-scale National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliant public hearings from November 2018 – January 2019
- Planning and facilitation of three large-scale public open houses along the Texas coast in February 2020
- Planning and facilitation of six virtual, NEPA-compliant and COVID-19-appropriate public hearings in November and December 2020
- Planning and facilitation of 20+ Community Working Group (CWG) meetings for four Texas coastal communities. Appointed by elected officials from each community, CWG members were regularly invited to meet with the GLO and study team representatives to establish, maintain, and facilitate a dialogue between the Texas coastal communities and the study team.
- Designing and developing public outreach materials, including study fact sheets, three-dimensional visualizations, social media coordination, video presentations, website support, and technical editing and graphic design/document preparation.
- Design and development of the 2021 Feasibility Study Final Report as a publicly digestible, engaging, and visually compelling document that clearly demonstrated the importance of and need for the project, while maintaining USACE policy compliance.
This mega study received a signed Chief’s Report in 2021 and was subsequently authorized by Congress as part of WRDA 2022. At $34B, this study represents the largest Civil Works recommendation in the history of the nation. The study received the 2022 USACE Planning Award for Planning Achievement.