Geological Review of Documents Pertaining to the Repoening of Packery Channel, North Padre Island, Texas

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Morton, Robert A.

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This summary report was prepared at the request of the General Land Office as part of a review of documents pertaining to the proposed reopening of Packery Channel on North Padre Island, Texas. The principal purpose of the review was to determine if geological issues were adequately addressed in the environmental assessment report prepared by Shiner, Moseley and Associates, Inc. (1987), hereinafter referred to as SMA (1987).

The analysis of potential environmental impacts of the proposed channel by SMA (1987) relies heavily on hydrodynamic, bathymetric, and sedimentological data collected at the Mustang Island Fish Pass (Watson and Behrens, 1976; Behrens and others, 1977). When it was dredged in 1972, the Fish Pass was approximately 8 ft deep and 60 ft wide at the bottom of the channel. During the first few years of operation, it had an equilibrium cross-sectional area of about 1,000 ft² (Watson and Behrens, 1976, p. 36). As currently designed, reopened Packery Channel would have a bottom width of 140 ft, a depth of 10 ft, and 3:1 sloping sides that would provide an effective cross-sectional area of about 1,700 ft² (SMA, 1987, p. 11.3), or nearly twice the cross-sectional area of the Fish Pass.

Five of the most significant geological and hydrological issues involving a dredged channel across North Padre Island are: (1) general water circulation, (2) storm flooding, (3) shoaling of the dredged channel, (4) shoreline erosion, and (5) potential effects on the stability of Aransas Pass. Because of the complex nature of coastal processes in the area, most of these issues are partly interrelated, but they are listed separately for purposes of discussion.


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