Development of a Multi-Purpose Deep-Draft Inshore Port on Harbor Island, Texas to Accommodate VLCC Vessels - REVIEW DRAFT
Oppenheimer, C. H.
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The Nueces County Navigation District 1, a political subdivision of the State of Texas and owner and operator of the Port of Corpus Christi, has proposed that the area in the vicinity of Harbor Island near Port Aransas, Texas be expanded to accommodate LVCC vessels of 275,000 to 300,000 DWT with lengths of about 1200 feet. Such vessels will require a channel depth of 72 feet. The present channel depth is 45 feet. An aerial photograph of the area (Figure 1) shows the present development of the Harbor Island area. The Harbor Island area and Corpus Christi ship channel will presently accommodate vessels of up to 45 feet depth requirements. The Port expansion will be in two phases. The total proposed expansion is shown in Figure 2 with Phase 1 outlined in red and Phase 2 in black. The circulation channel will be built in Phase 1 to provide through circulation in the harbor. The dredged material will be placed for land improvement or will be placed offshore in designated areas. An environmental impact statement has been prepared for the proposed port expansion. It covers the historical development of the area to show physical changes and possible environmental effects and includes a description of the activities required to expand the port and their effect on the environment and man. This report has been prepared as a contribution from the Marine Science Institute as a part of a joint project (NSF-RANN and Office of the Governor Coastal Resources Management Program) under the direction of Dr. Gus Fruh on the management of Texas bay and estuarine systems. The matrix for Activities and Effects (Table 3) was taken from a Conceptual Report on the Management of Bay and Estuarine Systems, Phase 1, March, 1972. The report was prepared using material from a wide variety of sources, both in coversation and in documents. The Biotope mapping and much of the original proof-reading was done by Mr. Tom Isensee and associates, Dorothy Paul and Pam Scott. This environmental impact statement is based on personal communication with environmental sources and a literature search throughout the past several years and reflects considerable opinion that is based on this environmental information. Reasonable care has been used in estimating and assessing the probable environmental impacts. The statements are based on my impression of the events leading to the past and present status of the Harbor Island environment and express only an opinion of effects of the harbor development on the environment. It must be emphasized that only that area in the vicinity of Harbor Island was considered and therefore the following statement has no relation to any other environment unless definite analogies are made. Cycles of events which may occur in the future that may affect the environment are not considered because of a lack of detailed information at this time.