CITING CONCERNS FOR the region’s aquatic resources, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas is opposed to the Port of Corpus Christi’s proposed Channel Deepening Project (CDP), permit application number SWG-2019-00067.
The location of the proposed project is an ecologically sensitive tidal inlet, connecting the Corpus Christi and Aransas Bay systems to the Gulf of Mexico.
These major bay systems support the Nueces and Mission-Aransas Estuaries, home to numerous species of marine shrimp, crabs, and finfish that utilize the varied habitat types offered. This includes oyster reefs, seagrass beds, mud flats, hard structures, shoreline vegetation and unique intertidal mosaics of the aforementioned habitats. An abundance of economically and ecologically important species depend upon the inlet for migration, recruitment, spawning, and other vital life processes.
Flatfish, penaeid shrimp, red drum, blue crabs, Atlantic tarpon, and numerous other aquatic species utilize this pass on a seasonal basis to fulfill biological requirements within their life history.
CCA Texas respectfully requests that the Port of Corpus Christi reconsider their analysis of alternatives C and D in their Purpose and Need Document. These alternatives would allow for the Very Large Crude Carriers (“VLCCs”) to be fully loaded offshore and eliminate the need to bring them into an ecologically sensitive region of the Gulf Coast.
Through the process of conducting public hearings and conducting an environment impact statement, CCA Texas expects that the following impacts would be reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before further consideration:
• Impacts of increased salinities in Corpus Christi Bay on sustainability of oyster reefs.
• Impacts of dredging on southern flounder during annual migration and seasonal larval recruitment.
• Timing of dredging in relationship to resident spawning populations of spotted seatrout and sheepshead.
• Impacts of dredging activities and increased channel depth on larval recruitment from offshore spawning populations of southern flounder, penaeid shrimp species, blue crabs, and red drum.
• Impacts of increased turbidity (reduced light penetration) on seagrasses.
• Impacts of increased saltwater intrusion.
• Impacts of decreased flow through nearby inlets.
Any disturbances in this ecological bottleneck can have significant impact on numerous flora and fauna, so it is paramount that all direct and indirect impacts are fully understood. In the best interest of the region’s coastal resources, we urge the applicant to reconsider this project and plans for a deep-water port at Harbor Island.