Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry Dredging

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. They protect homes, businesses, roads, and other infrastructure.

As part of routine maintenance, 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. The sandy material was previously considered unusable and placed offshore or in confined placement areas as waste.

Through extensive collaboration with state and federal agencies, 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. The restored beach and intertidal flat provided a habitat and feeding area for shorebirds, a fishing area and recreation area for residents. The restored beach also provided protection for critical infrastructure including State Highway 87 and the Bolivar Ferry landing, which were threatened by shore erosion. During future dredge events, EPR will provide permit compliance guidance, post-construction monitoring, and sea turtle and bird monitoring during construction. 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.