Editors note: The Port of Houston Authority has provided a clarification to this article. Click Here
The Port of Houston Authority will host an open house on the proposal to deepen and widen the Bayport Channel this evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bayport Administration Building at 12619 Port Road in Seabrook. Flyer
Residents of the area, including the Houston Yacht Club, have expressed concerns about the project, especially the plan to use dredge material to create a 475-acre marsh in upper Galveston Bay, which causes recreational, environmental and safety concerns.
The PHA has published a fact sheet on the Proposed Bayport Channel Improvements. Click Here
“The recent trend in container shipping has been toward use of larger, more efficient vessels to reduce costs and benefit industry and consumers,” the port said. “The ongoing Panama Canal expansion project will enable the larger ships to traverse the canal. The Panama Canal improvements are one driver for the proposed Bayport Channel improvements.”
In a section on frequently asked questions, the port addresses the issues raised by the protestors.
“The proposed marsh is preferred by various state and federal resource agencies because it puts dredged material to beneficial use for much-needed bay marsh,” the port said. “The marsh does not involve new impacts to wetlands or special aquatic sites but may potentially impact oyster reefs; therefore, the area was surveyed for oyster reef habitat. The selected options incorporate avoidance and minimization through extending capacity of existing placement areas, siting the new marsh away from the extensive oyster reef adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel, and the benefits to wetlands, fisheries and other aquatic resources that creation of the new marsh would provide.
In addition, the marsh would be expected to reduce wave impact to the shoreline because it would be in the “shadow” of the marsh.”
Several people opposed to a proposal, including Edward Matuszak, speaking for the Houston Yacht Club, addressed the Port of Houston Authority Commission on May 22. Listen
“This plan fills in and makes unusable for sailing about a fifth of the upper Galveston Bay,” Matuszak said.