The Brownsville Navigation District (BND) Board of Commissioners announced yesterday a provisional commitment by Rio Grande LNG towards the restoration, enhancement and preservation of the Bahia Grande wetland complex through the expansion of a pilot channel into a permanent and enhanced source of tidal flow to the Bahia Grande.
The BND has secured all necessary approvals and permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now has secured the requisite construction services from Rio Grande LNG, who would bear the total cost for engineering and construction of the project in conjunction with their facility works.
The agreed upon environmental project would restart restoration work that had previously stalled due to lack of funding.
“The Port of Brownsville has long recognized the vitality of the Bahia Grande as critical to the area’s environmental health,” said BND Chairman John Wood.
“This memorandum of understanding with Rio Grande LNG secures the future well-being of this tidal basin which in turn will re-establish balance to the ecological sanctuaries we’ve enjoyed for decades.”
Under the agreement, the project would:
- Widen the Carl “Joe” Gayman Bahia Grande Restoration Channel in an effort to increase tidal exchange and restore more natural salinity regimes in the Bahia Grande;
- Enhance the natural hydrology and salinity of the Bahia Grande area to ensure the restoration and preservation of the wetlands habitat for fisheries, waterfowl and other wildlife;
- Provide the local community with public recreational benefits associated with a thriving ecological zone.
The BND commissioners unanimously approved the MOU with Rio Grande LNG at their June 7, 2017 board meeting.