Water Quality & Marsh Restoration


The Port of Houston is a highly industrialized area surrounding the Houston Ship Channel. The ship channel also flows through environmentally sensitive Galveston Bay. Maintaining water quality is essential for this important wildlife habitat and recreational asset.Birds flying around the Houston Ship Channel

As a part of its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, Port Houston has conducted a comprehensive mapping project for all its terminals. The project located all storm water drainage features such as inlets, drains, culverts, ditches and trench drains using GPS. The data was then GIS mapped and drainage maps for all terminals have been created. A storm water outfall survey was conducted to ensure that storm water outfalls were in good condition and any non-storm water discharges were identified.

An innovative storm water treatment system at the Bayport Container Terminal uses a first flush detention pond to prevent solids and contaminates from reaching Galveston Bay.

Learn more about our stormwater program here.

Photo of the Port Houston Waste SharkkRegional Water Quality

Port Houston’s Waste Shark
A new marine debris removal and control technology will soon be in operation at Port Houston. The Waste Shark is a water drone that will collect floating trash near the Houston Ship Channel. Port Houston is the first port in America to own one of these amazing little drones, and we are all excited to see it in operation.

The floating trash in the water comes from upstream, from people and roadways. Yet, Port Houston personnel are still proud to do their part to help keep Houston area and Galveston Bay waters clean.

TCEQ continuous regional water quality monitoring stations, data, locations, and photos of monitoring sites can be found here.

Marsh Restoration

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.Marsh Restortation project photo

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