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Corps/Port Partnership Project Reducing Maintenance Dredging

Five years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District and the Port of Bay City in Texas partnered on the study and new construction of an east jetty at the mouth of the Colorado River. The work was needed to stabilize the shallow draft navigation channel and reduce maintenance dredging. Today, the infrastructure saves $200,000 annually in dredging costs.

According to Chief of Project Operations Karl Brown, USACE Galveston District, in the case of the mouth of Colorado River, a federally authorized shallow draft navigation channel located in Matagorda County, Texas, shoaling had become an ongoing issue that required immediate attention for both safety and economic reasons.

“While a weir jetty system was put in place in the early 1980s to stabilize the inlet and provide access to the Gulf of Mexico, our research found that the weir jetty’s configuration was ineffective in minimizing shoaling,” said Brown. “This shoaling required the removal of 590,000 cubic yards dredged material annually to maintain the navigation channel, which was twice the design estimate.”

“This is a great success story,” said Mike Griffith, chairman of the Port of Bay City Authority. “Working together, we were able to reprogram federal hurricane relief money to study, model and design a new east jetty system, and through our combined efforts, we received $22.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding for construction, with a local match from the Port of Bay City for $1.3 million.”

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