Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) commissioners, at their regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 8, authorized the re-planting of the Little Bay mitigation area with cordgrass to meet the requirements of the district’s Army Corps of Engineers permit.
Hurricane Hanna substantially destroyed the mitigation area, located in Little Bay, off Broadway.
“We will have to replant and put up another barrier (fencing) to protect it,” said Harbor Master Keith Barrett.
The original mitigation site was required when the ACND built the groin at the end of Market Street. Hurricane Harvey destroyed that site.
“We had to come up with an alternative site, and it was doing quite well, until Hanna,” said Barrett. “That storm tore up the beds.”
In order to remain in compliance with its permit, the ACND has to replant the mitigation area.
It will cost between $20,000 and $24,000.
“It’s a necessary evil,” said Barrett. “It’s a chess match we play. These permits can have long-reaching tentacles.”
Before Hanna, the mitigation area met the requirement of 50% survival after 60 days, but had yet to reach the higher percentage required for “coverage” across multiple years.
Commissioner Judy Vlasek asked if that location is the best one for survival of cordgrass.
BEI’s Charlie Belaire answered affirmatively, and added that type grass actually likes the freshwater inflow in that area.