News: USACE Galveston Regulatory Branch chief retires after 35 years of federal service
Story by Sandra Arnold
GALVESTON, Texas – After 35 years of dedicated service to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fred Anthamatten, chief of the USACE Galveston district’s Regulatory Branch, will close his office door for the last time today, trading in the district’s regulatory program for retirement.
Anthamatten began his career with the USACE Galveston district in March 1977, working as a temporary employee in the engine room of the U.S. Hopper Dredge Gerig, then accepted a permanent position in the Regulatory Branch as a physical scientist technician processing permit applications.
“I worked in Regulatory Enforcement for four years, collecting water and sediment samples for Corps’ dredging projects to ensure they complied with state water quality standards,” said Anthamatten. “Little did I know that I would come to love this profession and remain with the Corps for the next three decades.”
In 1981, he was transferred to the Corpus Christi Area Office to establish a Regulatory Field Office. By 1985, he was promoted to the position of chief of the Enforcement Section and returned to the USACE Galveston District Office to become the first GS-13 regulatory supervisory biologist in the nation.
A lifelong learner, Anthamatten worked diligently to master every position he was selected to lead and by 1998 he was promoted to chief of the Policy Analysis Section, serving dually as the assistant chief of the Regulatory Branch. In 2006, he was selected as the Regulatory Branch Chief – a position he led until his retirement.
“Fred experienced many changes in the Regulatory program evolution during his 35 years of service to our nation,” said Col. Christopher Sallese, commander of the USACE Galveston District. “As one of the original reviewers to develop the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual, he continued to serve our nation as a leader in his field, whose work was often used in establishing new nation-wide rules and regulations.”
Throughout Antahamatten’s career, he was instrumental in countless noteworthy litigation cases that crystallized Corps Regulatory pipeline policy, resulted in a record-setting Clean Water Act penalty, dealt with jurisdiction in coastal flats and mitigation, resulted in use of the Migratory Bird Rule as a basis for jurisdiction over isolated waters, refined wetland delineation methods in depressional wetlands and reaffirmed the National Environmental Policy Act’s regulatory scope of analysis.
“Working for the Corps has been professionally and personally rewarding and I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to make contributions that will impact the future of the Texas coastal environment while working to balance development in the waters along the Texas coast,” said Anthamatten.
A natural leader, Anthamatten was chosen as the sole Corps regulator to oversee the clean up for the 1979 PEMEX Oil Spill in South Texas. He additionally served as a Prospect lead Instructor to develop Regulatory III course materials (1986), organized the initial partnership for the Seaborne Conservation Corps (1986) and partnered with the Galveston Transitional Community (1993).
“Fred has been a catalyst for change and an integral part of this district for nearly four decades,” said Sallese. “His departure will not only leave a void in the district professionally as he will be taking with him a wealth of institutional knowledge, but a void for us personally as he has been an incredible mentor to so many of our current and future district leaders. We are proud of his service to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”
A graduate of Lamar University with a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography, Anthamatten received more than 30 professional awards throughout his extensive career and co-authored numerous publications including the “Successful Restoration of Filled Wetlands At Four Locations Along The Texas Coast,” Journal of the Society of Wetland Scientists, 1981; “Wetland Delineating By Means Of Tide Gauge, South Padre Island, Texas” and “Proceedings Of Wetlands Engineering And River Restoration,” American Society of Civil Engineers (1998).
Following retirement he plans to enjoy his time with his wife of 35 years and his two sons, as well as continue to expand his skills as a self-taught drummer and pursue his passion as a Civil War re-enactor.
ABOUT US: The USACE Galveston District’s Regulatory Branch provides strong protection of the nation’s aquatic environment, balancing economic prosperity with environmental sustainability. The district regulates activities in U.S. waters, including wetlands, navigable waterways and tributaries. Wetlands serve as valuable nurseries for fish and wildlife and are also vital barriers during storms. Through permitting, the Galveston district ensures that economic development in coastal areas can move forward while minimizing the impact on our environment. The USACE Galveston district also carries the responsibility of permitting structures in navigable waterways of the U.S. such as docks and piers and issues approximately 2,500 permits annually.
For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.