12 Jefferson County projects, including Port Arthur levee, reach for Tier 1 Status

Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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Texas Point marshes, Neches River floodplain buyouts and Port Arthur levee repair are among projects in new Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan.

Jefferson County coastal marsh conservation, Neches River forested floodplain property buyouts and Port Arthur levee repairs are among 12 “Tier 1” projects named in the Texas General Land Office’s proposed 2023-26 Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan.

The plan is often referred to as the “Coastal Master Plan” or “CMP” and provides funding guidance for future decisions by natural resource agencies using Deepwater Horizon funds, Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds and other funding such as hurricane disaster relief and private grants.

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Projects that make the Tier 1 planning stage are considered for funding from 2023-26 among the 102 projects on the CMP list.

Funding for the 12 new or continued Jefferson County projects listed in the 2023-26 draft CMP would build upon more than $200 million already invested to conserve Jefferson County’s coastal marshes.

“Flood control and water management are moving up the conservation priorities ladder for the Upper Texas Coast, including Jefferson County,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said. “Hurricane storm surge protection remains a top goal, and we’re adding Texas Point marsh conservation to that ‘to-do list.’ But we’re also seeing more damage from heavy rain sometimes referred to as ‘rain bombs’ that overwhelm our drainage system resulting in frequently flooded homes and businesses.

“Projects funded by the Deepwater Horizon RESTORE Act and GOMESA can include resilient human communities and there are so-called ‘green infrastructure’ and in some cases ‘gray infrastructure’ solutions to flooding.”

The projects adopted in the GLO’s draft CMP were nominated by Jefferson County Commissioners Court, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Big Thicket Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, Drainage District 7 and Lamar University.

The 12 projects made the 2023-26 draft CMP are listed below:

Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan 2023-26 Update

North Pleasure Island Shoreline Protection & Restoration

J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area Shoreline Protection

Texas Bayou Water Control Structure

Texas Point NWR Shoreline Protection Sabine Neches Waterway and Oyster Habitat Creation

Texas Point NWR Beneficial Use of Dredge Material

Texas Point NWR Beach Nourishment Project

McFaddin NWR Willow Lake Beneficial Use of Dredge Material

McFaddin NWR Gulf Shoreline Stabilization

Port Arthur Hurricane Flood Protection Levee

Keith Lake Fish Pass and Baffle Repairs and Upgrades

Southeast Texas Flood Coordination Study – Regional Flood Sensor System

Neches River Forested Floodplain

Other Gulf-wide projects that can help Jefferson County conservation include:

Clean Coast Texas Program

Beneficial Use Master Plan Continuation

Beach Monitoring and Maintenance Program

Longshore Transport Modeling

Long-Term Hydrologic Monitoring Program