Final environmental statement. Maintenance dredging: Texas City Channel, Texas.
This statement covers maintenance dredging of the Texas City Channel, an existing Federal navigation project in Galveston County, Texas. The authorized project includes a 6.7 mile long channel, 40 feet deep and 400 feet wide, from Galveston Harbor Channel to a turning basin, 40 feet deep, 1,000 feet wide, and 4,253 feet long, at Texas City, Texas. An authorized shallow-draft portion of the project has been enlarged by local interests to deep-draft dimensions, thus obviating its need for Federal improvement and subsequent maintenance as a barge canal. The deep-draft facility has been authorized for incorporation into the Federal project. Maintenance dredging will be performed by hydraulic pipeline dredge with dredged material disposed of in open water and land disposal areas. The action will maintain the carrying capacity of the channel for efficient movement of commercial navigation and will decrease the chances of vessel collision and grounding which could result in adverse environmental impacts and public health hazards. The action will remove or disturb motile and benthic organisms, cover marsh and land vegetation, and result in an increase in turbidity during dredging and disposal operations. Open water disposal operations could also degrade water quality. Objectionable odors might be released by disposal of dredged material on emergent areas. Such effects, however, will be localized. Dredged material will cover about 4 acres of marsh vegetation of value as habitat and food for fish and wildlife. Dredging and disposal operations will increase turbidities and will degrade water quality in the immediate vicinity. No alternative methods of dredging and disposal are given.