The Houston Ship Channel is a national asset, thanks to a century of collaboration and continued investment in critical improvements to the waterway. The capacity of the ship channel to safely and efficiently handle commerce has driven the tremendous growth of the Port of Houston and its contributions to the region, state, and national economies.
The 200-plus private and public facilities that today comprise the greater Port of Houston provides significant benefits to the U.S.:
Improvements to the Houston Ship Channel are needed to safely maintain and grow the nation’s economy.
A wider and safer channel that maintains two-way traffic is the backbone of the refining, pipeline, manufacturing, rail, road, and other critical infrastructure at the Port of Houston, supporting the growth of domestic energy production and petrochemical manufacturing, as well as welcoming increasing ship sizes.
Much is at stake – hydrocarbons exports on the Houston Ship Channel are anticipated to more than double by the year 2025. In addition, it is estimated that more than $50 billion has been invested in terminals and facilities at the Port of Houston to handle these increasing volumes. This growth can be hindered without the capability of efficiently exporting these products to the world marketplace, thereby jeopardizing the associated economic benefits of jobs, national energy security, and export growth.
Port Houston works collaboratively with the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal, state, and local environmental agencies to create beneficial uses for materials dredged from the Houston Ship Channel: our channel projects have created more than 3,300 acres of wetlands along with other features in Galveston Bay. Project 11 will continue this effort, with plans for more marshland, three additional bird islands, and creation of oyster habitat.
Environmental features are included in the expansion plans. Along the Channel, two marshes will be constructed, 17 total oyster pads will be designed, and there are new two bird islands, one 6-acres long and one 8-acres long. In addition, there is one combination marsh, bird island, and oyster reef area. All of the environmental features were reviewed and approved by the Beneficial Users Group (BUG).
The oyster pad locations are sites impacted by Hurricane Ike that have been the focus of TPWD efforts for Galveston Bay oyster reef restoration. Dredge material from the channel will be used in these areas to further enhance oyster growth.
The marsh and bird islands will feature a variety of habitats, including bare ground, grass, shrubs, and marshes, so bird populations can forage, nest, and rest.