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Restoring Environment- Maintaining Infrastructure; Tradeoffs for Long Term Sustainability Bob Stokes President Galveston Bay Foundation

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Presentation on theme: "Restoring Environment- Maintaining Infrastructure; Tradeoffs for Long Term Sustainability Bob Stokes President Galveston Bay Foundation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Restoring Environment- Maintaining Infrastructure; Tradeoffs for Long Term Sustainability Bob Stokes President Galveston Bay Foundation (281)

2 Do you know Galveston Bay?  Averages 7-feet deep  660 square miles of water  4 counties: Brazoria, Harris, Chambers, Galveston  24,000 square mile watershed

3 Galveston Bay Foundation Mission: To preserve, protect, and enhance the natural resources of Galveston Bay and its tributaries for present users and for posterity. Four target areas:  Advocacy  Conservation  Education  Research

4 Galveston Bay Infrastructure Issues  Two Main Issues of Balance between Environment and Infrastructure Massive Industrial Complex  Galveston Bay hosts nearly 1/2 of the total petrochemical manufacturing and 1/3 of the petroleum refining in the U.S. Navigation Needs of that Complex  ~50 mile channel from Port of Houston to Gulf of Mexico

5 Subsidence Caused by Groundwater and Oil & Gas Extraction  Domestic and Industrial Water Needs  Highly Accelerated Rates of Subsidence Loss of over 35,000 acres of wetlands  Recognition of Problem and Behavioral Change More surface water, less groundwater

6 Habitat Restoration  Identified as number one goal in Galveston Bay National Estuary Program Galveston Bay Plan

7 GBF Habitat Restoration  Actively restoring habitat since 1991  Diverse habitat types: wetland, sea grass, & reef  Working directly with local citizens for “community based” habitat restoration

8 Burnet Bay Restoration Project Burnet Bay

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15 Burnet Bay Plantings with Support from Local Industry

16 Galveston Bay Infrastructure: Major Navigation Channels  Houston Ship Channel  Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

17 Houston Ship Channel  ~50 mile channel from Port of Houston to Gulf of Mexico  Much of the growth and development of the Houston area is attributable to its completion in 1914  Ship channel-related businesses support more than 785,000 jobs throughout Texas while generating nearly $118 billion of statewide economic impact (Martin Associates, 2007).

18 How to Balance Navigation Needs and Environment?  Ultimate need for growth for capacity and safety  Impacts from a wider and deeper channel  How to mitigate those impacts?

19 Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels Beneficial Uses Group (“BUG”)  Coalition of 8 government agencies formed in 1990 to identify environmentally and economically responsible ways to utilize the dredged material  BUG project goals: Create approximately 4,250 acres of intertidal salt marsh in Galveston Bay Create a 6-acre bird nesting and habitat island Partially restore Redfish Island in Galveston Bay Restore Goat Island in Buffalo Bayou Construct 118 acres of oyster reefs

20 BUG Project: Evia Island  6-acre island, one mile north of the Bolivar Peninsula built using materials dredged from the expansion of the Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels  Peak elevation of 12 feet above mean low tide, features a 250-foot beach and a lagoon area for young birds

21 BUG Project: Bolivar Marsh  Several hundred acres of intertidal salt marsh adjacent to the north side of the Bolivar Peninsula  Levees constructed and shaped and erosion protection (geotubes) positioned  Two of the three cells filled with dredge material, third cell is partially filled and will be completed over the next 20 years  GBF and volunteers planted here at Marsh Mania 2001

22 Gulf Intracoastal Waterway  Important navigation artery in Texas and along entire Gulf Coast  Erosion a significant problem along GIWW around Galveston Bay  How to address erosion and avoid negatively impacting waterway and shipping?

23 Erosion Control Project on GIWW  Construct rock breakwaters along 34,700 feet of unprotected shoreline on the Anahuac NWR’s GIWW shoreline  Adjoins with East Bay Shoreline Protection Project, which recently completed 32,772 feet, or 6.21 miles, of rock breakwaters  Barge access and placement similar to recent work at McFaddin NWR

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