Dual Benefits

by Dalton Krueger, P.E., Proj. Mgr.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 9, Pg. 40-45


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: When the Port of Houston needed to be dredged to accommodate larger commercial vessels, engineers decided to put the dredged material to use to create wetlands and islands that will serve as habitat for a variety of wildlife. The channel is being dredged for a distance of about 14.4 mi (23 km) out into the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston. The work will also extend inward about 26 mi (42 km) across Galveston Bay to Morgan's Point and 13.9 mi (22 km) from Morgan's Point into the narrow arm of water that leads to Boggy Bayou. In addition, 3.8 mi (6 km) of the Galveston Channel will be deepened. Material dredged from the entrance channel was placed in rows in an existing underwater berm designed for beneficial use. The 14,100-ft (4,300-m) long and 11,100-ft (3,380-m) wide berm will provide the proper habitat for certain aquatic species living in the Gulf of Mexico. Material dredged from the Houston Ship Channel is being placed into three cells for marsh construction and onto the 6-acre (2.4-ha) Bird Island. Two of the cells cover 270 acres (109 ha), and the third is 300 acres (121 ha). Birds are already making use of the island even though it has not yet been planted with vegetation. About 5.6 million cu yd (4.3 million m³) of material from Morgan's Point—which is at the northwestern extremity of Galveston Bay and is bounded by land on both sides—will be placed in existng disposal areas and used to restore Goat Island. Also included in the project is the construction of 118 acres (48 ha) of oyster reef habitat just below the marsh in the middle of Galveston Bay. Two new contracts are scheduled to be advertised shortly, and from them about 5 million cu yd (3.8 million m³) will be placed in an offshore berm, and 5 million cu yd (3.8 million m³) will be used to construct a marsh in the middle of the bay.

Subject Headings: Civil engineering landmarks | Conservation | Dredging | Gulf of Mexico | Texas | Wildlife

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