Evaluating Created Marsh at San Jacinto Battleground SHP




Hollingsworth, Ted

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Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission


San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park preserves the battleground where Texas won her independence from Mexico in a brief but decisive battle on April 22, 1836. The marsh at San Jacinto, which covered about 300 acres at the time, played a significant role in the outcome of the battle, when fleeing Mexican soldiers bogged down in the marshy ground and were slaughtered by Texan volunteers. By the 1980's, a quarter of the marsh had eroded into the Houston Ship Channel, and most of what remained had drowned due to subsidence. Preserving what is left of this floodplain system is a high priority for Texas Parks and Wildlife, due to its unique biological and cultural values. ; After consulting with wetland biologists inside and outside the agency, TPW decided to restore 200 acres of knee-deep water to emergent tidal marsh. This shallow water drained through one narrow channel, called Santa Annas Bayou. By constructing two (2) low-water dams and water control structures across Santa Annas Bayou, dividing the area into two 100-acre cells, it became possible to control the hydraulic placement of dredged sediment to create new marsh substrate. The upstream cell, Cell I, was filled with sediment from the Houston Ship Channel and the Bertrand Power Station of H,L&P, in early 1997. The downstream cell, Cell II is being filled as clean sediment becomes available.; Since 1997, the sediment placed into Cell I has dewatered significantly, creating tidal channels and ponds as intended. Most of the new marsh is revegetated with smooth cord grass, native sedges and rushes. Some areas which are still above high tide elevations are infested with salt cedar, although marshhay cord grass and native upland species have also become established.; The purpose of this report is to review the procedures used in restoring this wetland complex, assess the changes taking place in the biological values represented in the new marsh, and discuss management implications for this and other hydraulically created marshes in southeast Texas.


pgs. 25-28