Channel Development



The Port of Houston Authority is the local sponsor for the Houston Ship Channel. This responsibility encompasses a number of important tasks that help ensure the free flow of commerce in the Port of Houston. Those responsibilities include:

  • Dredged Material Area Management (DAMP) –
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    Dredged Material Placement Areas, commonly referred to as “DAMP” sites or placement areas, are areas that accept soils that have been dredged from the Houston Ship Channel. The term “DAMP” refers to the site management process that includes carefully dewatering and ditching a site to dry, after receiving dredged material.
  • Dredging –
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    project management/coordination of dredging projects of the Port Authority, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and private terminals.
  • Marine Construction Permits —
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    administration of permits for the construction of docks, bulkheads, wharves, etc. that encumber Port Authority property; submerged land leases.
  • Pipeline, Cable, and Transmission Line Licenses —
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    project management/administration of projects that encumber Port Authority property, including seismic exploration and right of entry.
  • Houston Ship Channel —
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    project management/coordination of the project to deepen the ship channel to 45 ft. and widen it to 530 ft. while using the dredged material to create approximately 3,300 acres of wetlands in Galveston Bay.
  • Navigation Safety —
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    advise the U.S. Coast Guard on navigational safety issues of interest to the Port Authority.
  • New Initiatives —
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    Electronic Navigation Systems (ENS) for increased safety and fewer delays during times of low visibility and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for more efficient management of port assets and infrastructure.
  • The area of responsibility
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    includes 42 miles of railroad right-of-way (ROW), Houston Ship Channel with tributary bayous and streams within Harris County, 9,000 acres of dredged material placement areas (13 sites) and all other Port Authority properties where other entities are permitted use by the Port Commission.














The Port Authority owns property as shown on the attached map.

Generally, the Port Authority property is along the Houston Ship Channel and railroad corridors, 13 dredged material areas, and the submerged lands beneath and adjacent to the ship channel in Harris County. The Port Authority manages this property to facilitate commerce and environmental quality at the port. The Port Authority grants licenses and leases on Port Authority property to facilitate future growth while protecting the interests of navigation and the public.

For dredging and marine permits and licenses information, click here.

To receive information about Houston Ship Channel closures from the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service, sign up here.