Dredging/Infrastructure Report

Kirby Planning Barge Removals From Island

Privately owned San Jose island, one of the barrier islands off the Texas coast, has its own website, which notes that the island, while “historically a ranch…is managed principally for wildlife. Access is permitted only on public land, meaning that you must stay on the beach below the vegetation line. But that is exactly where a wealth of birding, shelling, fishing and beach combing can be found.”

The island, about 21 miles long and five miles wide, is a short ferry ride from Port Aransas. It reportedly hosts 600 species of fish and 300 bird species. A private herd of cattle still roams the island, grazing on the native grasses.

It currently hosts six unexpected guests as well: barges blown hundreds of yards ashore by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. At the time, the barges were owned by Higman Marine, which was subsequently bought by Kirby Corporation.

According to Matt Woodruff, vice president of public and government affairs at Kirby, the company has acquired all necessary permits to begin the removal of the barges and is currently assembling and positioning equipment. The island’s status as a wildlife refuge means the entire operation will be monitored by several public agencies as well as representatives of the private owners.

Woodruff said the removal operation would probably begin in February or March and would take about 30 days, after which environmental remediation would begin.

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