Freshwater inflow to Galveston Bay




McFarlane, R.W.

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McFarlane & Associates


Galveston Bay is the most productive estuary in Texas. The Trinity River provides one-half of the freshwater inflow and nutrients, and a substantial aount of the sediment, which reaches Galveston Bay. The Lake Livingston dam and reservoir, to date, have not reduced tha annual river discharge to Trinity Bay but a slight seasonal shift has reduced flow from January to May while increasing flow form August to December. The frquency and duration of floods, important to transport of floodplain nutrients, has not diminished. The purposed Wallisville dam and reservoir, near the mouth of the river, will potentially divert as much as 39 percent of river discharge and entrap substantial, but unknown, quanities of sediment and nutrients, leading to higher salinities in Trinity Bay and erosion of the rivermouth delta. Sheet flow of floodwaters across the delta marshes, an important nutrient transport mechanisims, will be reduced. It is essential that a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, conducted by an independent third-party, be completes to consider the synergistic and cumulative effects of the several in-progress or proposed development projects which currently threaten the Galveston Bay ecosystem.


16 pgs.


inflow, nutrients, sediment distribution, dams, reservoirs, river discharge, deltas, ecosystems