By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
After much delay and several impassioned pleas from Port Isabel residents, the entrance to The Fingers is set to undergo maintenance dredging in the coming weeks.
Over the last several months, dredging of the channel entrance has been a topic of conversation during numerous Port Isabel City Commission meetings, drawing extended discussion from both the commission and residents alike.
The routine maintenance of the waterway had been held off for lack of a suitable site on which to deposit the spoils. Currently, the City is permitted to use the site of Arturo Galvan Coastal Park for its dredging spoils, but conversion of the site into the park made City officials hesitant to exercise that option.
During several commission meetings, Interim City Manager Jared Hockema reported that he was attempting to pursue alternatives, including having the City’s dredging project added to the permit held by the Port Isabel Public Improvement District (PID), or to have the work done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as part of one of their ongoing projects.
Earlier this year, USACE began taking bids for several dredging contracts in the Lower Laguna Madre, including that of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway (GIWW). “We did develop an option for this contract to dredge just the entrance to The Fingers,” said USACE Operations Manager for the Galveston District, Seth Jones Tuesday. “And we did get good bids, so we exercised that option,” he said, adding that the project will be added to the larger GIWW project.
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