In August, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District published a public notice for the Port of Corpus Christi Authority’s proposed channel deepening project, for which an Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared. The project was also determined to be a covered project under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) and Executive Order 13807 – Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects.
The proposed channel deepening project is located within the existing channel bottom of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel (CCSC), starting near the southeast side of Harbor Island, traversing easterly through the Aransas Pass, and extending beyond the authorized terminus, an approximate distance of 13.8 miles.
The proposed project will allow the port to accommodate transit of fully laden, very large crude carriers (VLCCs) that draft approximately 70 feet. It does not include widening the channel; however, some minor incidental widening of the channel slopes is expected to meet side slope requirements and to maintain the stability of the channel.
The channel deepening project, if approved, would create approximately 46 million cubic yards of dredged material. The dredged material judged to be suitable for beneficial use would be used to create several feeder berms in near-shore areas to nourish eroded beach areas; reestablish sand dune areas on San Jose Island that were breached by Hurricane Harvey; restore perimeter portions of placement areas that have experienced erosion; place material in areas adjacent to the interior CCSC that were breached by Hurricane Harvey; and enhance/ armor a perimeter berm along Harbor Island that would absorb erosive forces of waves and ship wakes to protect areas of marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation behind the berm. Dredged material judged to be unsuitable for beneficial use would be placed in authorized placement areas.
The public notice remained open until September 23 to solicit comments from the public, federal, state, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity.