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Navigation on the Texas Coast


Coastal Custodians

Port of Houston, Courtesy PhotoThe USACE Galveston District plays a key role in America’s well-being by keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce. A priority is deepening and widening waterways, such as ports, ship channels, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, for the safe and expeditious accommodation of commercial waterborne traffic. The Galveston District is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 270 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft. Dredges are constantly at work keeping vital marine arteries open for waterborne traffic carrying cargo ranging from crude oil to coffee. Other priorities include construction of jetties or breakwaters to protect harbor and inlet entrances and the locks along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at the crossing of the Brazos and Colorado rivers.

In the photo: The Port of Houston ranks first in the nation in foreign waterborne tonnage; first in U.S. imports; and second in the nation with respect to foreign and domestic tonnage.

Federal Channel Setbacks

The intent of these Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is to provide a rapid and repeatable procedure for evaluating the construction of structures and/or the deposition of dredge and fill along federally maintained channels in order to preserve the government's ability to maintain such waterway and provide a margin of safety to those who use such waterway by maintaining established setbacks from federal channels. These SOPs apply to all Department of the Army permit applications pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  Graphic representations of the established setback lines are available for viewing in Google Earth. To download a free version of Google Earth or for further information on operating Google Earth, click here.



Navigation Branch Contact

Mailing Address:
USACE Galveston District
P.O. Box 1229
Galveston, TX 77553-1229

Phone: 409-766-3071

District Channel Maps

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District maintains waterways from Sabine to Brownsville. Click here to see 2004 pdf ortho maps with channel overlays including stationing and placement areas.

Dredging Updates

*May 9, 2013 - The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) may be requested on disk (due to large file size). Please e-mail

*GALVESTON, Texas (May 7, 2013) - Review Plan approval for Bayport Channel improvement projects, Galveston, Texas.

2012 Regional Sediment Management, Upper Texas Coast