As a component of the 1998 congressionally authorized project to deepen and widen of the Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels (HGNC), the silt, sand, shell and clay dredged during the expansion and subsequent channel maintenance will be creatively utilized as an environmental resource to enhance Galveston Bay. This project is one of the largest wetland creation efforts of its kind in the nation.
In order to identify environmentally and economically responsible ways to utilize the material dredged from the HGNC expansion, an unprecedented coalition of eight government agencies, called the Beneficial Uses Group (BUG), was formed in 1990.
Over the next 50 years, the BUG project, sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Port Houston, has:
- Continued to develop approximately 3,300 acres of inter-tidal salt marsh in Galveston Bay
- Created a 6-acre bird nesting and habitat island
- Partially restored Redfish Island in Galveston Bay and re-established it as a wildlife habitat and boater destination location
- Restored Goat Island in Buffalo Bayou and re-established it as a wildlife habitat
- Constructed an underwater berm to enhance fish habitat by providing changes in topography
- Constructed access channels and anchorages for recreational boaters in mid- and lower-Galveston Bay
- Constructed 90 ft. of oyster reef since 2016