By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The City of Port Isabel had much to discuss in its first meeting of the new year. Chief among the items listed on Tuesday night’s meeting agenda were discussions about the Yacht Club, maintenance dredging of The Fingers, peak season traffic problems on Queen Isabella Boulevard, a retirement incentive for City employees and more.
In regards to maintenance dredging of The Fingers, also known as Modern Venice, City Manager Jared Hockema informed the Commission that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had sent correspondence to the City inviting them to choose one of three possible spoil sites for use in future dredging projects.
Dredging of The Fingers had become problematic in 2015, with the entrance so shallow that few boats could pass through. The City’s existing spoil site, meanwhile, had been converted into what is now Arturo Galvan Park, which features a living shoreline made of native grasses.
With silt piling up and the spoil site repurposed, the City was unable to dredge The Fingers. However, a fortuitous agreement was reached between the City and USACE, which was scheduled to dredge the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway late last year. Because the entrance is part of a federally authorized channel, USACE agreed to add its dredging as part of their larger project.
But before that agreement had been secured, the City scrambled to find alternative sites to deposit dredging materials. Part of those efforts included amending their permit renewal application to include other spoil sites. The correspondence sent just this week by USACE offers the City three options: two sites in the bay and the existing site of Arturo Galvan Park.
The Commission voted to table further discussion of the issue.
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