While the Half Moon Reef project was smaller than many the USACE had
executed, the problems it presented were not.
In 2010, the USACE named Byron D. Williams, PMP, of Galveston, Texas, the
project manager for its Half Moon Reef initiative. First, Mr. Williams created a letter report—a basic feasibility report required by USACE that describes the project
problems and opportunities and recommends a solution. He also put together a
preliminary construction plan. ;e USACE approved the plan in July 2010.
Mr. Williams then needed to secure access to the land beneath the reef—
which is when the di;culties began.
“;e real estate was more involved than I ever could have imagined,” Mr.
;e ;oor of the bay along the coast is owned by the Texas GLO, which
needed to give approval for the project and lease the land for use. ;e GLO
o;ered a 20-year lease—more than su;cient for a reef that would, if all went
well, be self-sustaining in ;ve. However, USACE projects require land to be
acquired in perpetuity, something the GLO didn’t have the authority to do.
To come up with a solution, Mr. Williams enlisted extensive help from the
USACE’s real estate experts.
His team wrote white papers explaining to the legal department at the Army
Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., why perpetuity wasn’t necessarily
applicable for this type of project, as well as maintenance reports to illustrate the
di;culty of perpetuity with a structure that would need no upkeep and could
“We had to be careful that we
didn’t research ourselves out of a
construction project. I anticipated the
risk with [USACE requiring land to be
acquired in perpetuity], but I didn’t
anticipate the length of time it would
take to resolve it.”
—Byron D. Williams, PMP
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY’S
PLAN TO START WITH THE
SMALLER USACE PROJECT AND
THEN DO THE LARGER ONE
HAD TO BE REVERSED AS THE
USACE INITIATIVE BECAME EN;
TANGLED IN LENGTHY
REVIEWS AND APPROVALS
REQUIRED OF FEDERAL