EPR turns dredge materials into an ecological asset

Sandy beaches and dunes are the dominant coastal landform in Texas and the Gulf Coast. They’re home and nesting grounds for hundreds of important wildlife species and provide us with spacious places to live and recreate.


Beaches and dunes are also the first-line defense against storms and flooding common to coastal areas, by protecting homes, businesses, roads, and other infrastructure.

As part of routine maintenance dredging, the Texas Department of Transportation has removed accumulated sediment from around the Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry landings, to maintain the safe operation of the ferry.

During the works, prime contractor for the project Callan Marine removed 369,000 cubic yards of dredged material, returning the landings to the required depth of 22’.

For many years, this sandy material was considered unusable and placed offshore or in confined placement areas as waste.

Through extensive collaboration with state and federal agencies, Ecosystem Planning and Restoration (EPR) developed a conceptual plan, acquired needed permits, and conducted agency coordination for a new beneficial use site to include marsh, beach, and intertidal flat adjacent to the ferry landing.

Within weeks of placing the material, community members, as well as resident and migratory birds were documented using the new site.

EPR continues to assist the State in maintaining permits and monitoring this ongoing effort. Once completed the beach will be replenished every ten years with material from ongoing dredge operations.