Water Quality & Marsh Restoration

Assets to
Support Wildlife

Like most urban waterways, the Houston Ship Channel is susceptible to the impacts of littering, mishandled waste, construction materials, and other debris. As stewards of the channel, Port Houston is committed to addressing water quality, marine debris, and responsibly managing our own waste.


Stormwater runoff is water that flows over land during or after a rain event. This runoff carries floatables from all corners of the city into the storm drains, then directly to Buffalo Bayou and the Ship Channel. Maintaining water quality is essential for wildlife, people, and recreational needs.

An innovative stormwater treatment system was added at the Bayport Container Terminal using a first flush detention pond to prevent solids and contaminates from reaching Galveston Bay.

As a part of its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, Port Houston has also developed a Storm Water Management Plan to track all stormwater discharges on
Port property. This plan includes:

  • Regularly testing storm water quality
  • Implementing best management practices
  • Implementing practices to improve storm water quality

Learn more about our stormwater program here.


A new marine debris removal and control technology is in action at Port Houston. The WasteShark is a water drone that collects floating trash near the Ship Channel, and is expected to remove up to an additional 2,000 cubic yards of marine debris per year. Port Houston is the first port in America to acquire this advanced drone and looks forward to seeing it in operation.

Marsh Restoration

As a component of the 1998 congressionally authorized project to deepen and widen the Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels (HGNC), the silt, sand, shell, and clay dredged during the expansion was uniquely utilized as an environmental resource to enhance Galveston Bay. This impressive project was 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 boating 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 midand lower-Galveston Bay
  • Constructed hundreds of acres of oyster reef in Galveston Bay to encourage growth outside the channel area