The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, has awarded a maintenance dredging contract of around $3 million to Orion Marine Construction Inc., to dredge the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) across Aransas Bay in Aransas and Calhoun counties, Texas.
The contractor will use a pipeline dredge to remove approximately 1,323,000 cubic yards of material from the GIWW across Aransas Bay and the Lydia Ann Channel.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plays a significant role in keeping America’s waterways open and commerce flowing,” said Seth Jones, an operations manager with the USACE Galveston District’s Navigation Branch. “The Texas portion of the GIWW alone carries 73 million tons of cargo a year valued at $40 billion.”
Work is expected to begin in mid June 2015 with an estimated completion date of October 2015.
According to Jones, a portion of the dredged material will be used beneficially as part of ongoing marsh creation within the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
“Approximately 208,000 cubic yards of material will be placed at Beneficial Use Site J, which will eventually become a 56-acre marsh site,” said Jones. “The goal is to increase the amount of marsh habitat in the refuge which is especially important in the Aransas Bay area considering the endangered Whooping Crane travels from Canada each year to winter there.”
The Corps dredges this particular area of the GIWW between June and October as to not disturb the endangered Whooping Crane, according to Jones.