Guadalupe River -- channel to Victoria, Texas. Draft feasibility report and environmental impact statement
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District
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The purpose of this investigation has been to determine the need and advisability of enlarging the Federal project known as the Guadalupe River-Channel to Vicotria and its tributary, the Channel to Seadrift, for commercial navigation. The existing Federally maintained project provides for a sea level channel 9 feet deep by 100 feet wide that originates at the junction of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and extends northwestward across San Antonio Bay and then becomes landlocked. The channel terminates 34.6 miles from its origin at a turning basin 7 miles south of the city of Victoria. The Channel to Seadrift intersects the channel to Victoria about 6.5 miles from its origin. It is also a Federally maintained channel and is of the same dimensions as the Channel to Victoria. It extends about 2 miles northeastward from the Channel to Victoria to a turning basin near the town of Seadrift. The primary problems associated with navigation on the Channel to Victoria are the savings foregone from barges now transiting the channel light-loaded, safety, and the inaccessibility of the channel to fully loaded barges which could allow for more efficient movements of cargo. Problems stem from the inability to use fully loaded barges of the same capacity as those that travel the GIWW, which is 12 feet deep by 125 feet wide, and from unsafe passages of barges which commonly use the waterway. Because of the restricted channel width there is very little clearance between vessels when passing. The principal alternative investigated, which addresses the identified problems, is the enlargement of this channel to the same dimensions as the GIWW. Environmental concerns with this alternative relate primarily to the locations of disposal areas for deposit of materials dredged from the channel reach across San Antonio Bay. Navigational improvements to the channel to Seadrift were considered but were found to lack economic justification. Continued maintenance dredging of the Channel to Seadrift is warranted. The recommended plan for the Channel to Victoria is to modify the channel to 12 feet deep by 125 feet wide. Disposal of materials would be primarily in upland areas to minimize environmental problems. The recommended plan also includes the construction of a 60 acre leveed disposal site in San Antonio Bay with features to create a bird rookery and additional wetlands. The recommended plan has an estimated first cost of $20.5 million, of which $5.1 million, under traditional cost-sharing methods, would be required of the local sponsor primarily for disposal easements and levees and spillways. The remaining $15.4 million would be apportioned to the Federal government. Pending legislation in the Congress, however, would provide for full recovery of costs for construction, operation, and maintenance for most shallow-draft navigation projects. When this legislation is enacted, Corps of Engineers expenditures assigned to commercial waterway transportation for the Channel to Victoria will be subject to recovery through user fees. Average annual benefits, stemming from transportation savings, and average annual costs are $2.9 million and $1.9 million respectively, resulting in a benefit-to-cost ratio of 1.5.