USACE Galveston District awards $5.7 million contract to dredge Matagorda Ship Channel; material used to enhance bird habitat

Published Sept. 3, 2014

GALVESTON, Texas (Sept. 3, 2014) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District awarded a contract in the amount of $5,774,000 to Orion Marine Construction Inc., for the maintenance dredging of the Matagorda Ship Channel in Matagorda and Calhoun counties, Texas.

“Shoaling in the Matagorda Ship Channel can be unpredictable and maintenance dredging of the channel is required annually to provide adequate channel availability,” said Operations Manager George Dabney, USACE Galveston District. “All dredged material from this contract will be placed in open-water, unconfined placement areas and we’ll use a portion of the material to enhance bird habitat.”

According to Dabney, the dredging job features cooperative partnering with the Audubon Society as well as state and federal resource agencies for the beneficial use of approximately 126,000 cubic yards of dredged material on Sundown-Island (an Audubon Society colonial waterbird sanctuary).

The contractor is required to remove approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of material from Matagorda Peninsula to Point Comfort beginning this month with an estimated completion date of December 2014. A portion of the contract is paid for with non-federal funds from the Calhoun Port Authority for the dredging of port berthing areas.

The Matagorda Ship Channel was constructed in the 1960’s to allow deep-draft vessels to travel between the Gulf of Mexico and Matagorda and Lavaca Bays. The channel is part of Port of Port Lavaca – Point Comfort, a major sea port in the state and nation, and carries approximately 11.6 million tons of commerce annually.

The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The 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 as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates.

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Release no. 14-049