The Brownsville Navigation District (“BND”) Board of Commissioners announced today a provisional commitment by Rio Grande LNG towards the restoration, enhancement and preservation of the Bahia Grande wetland complex through the expansion of a pilot channel into a permanent and enhanced source of tidal flow to the Bahia Grande (the Bahia Grande Restoration Project).
The Bahia Grande Restoration Project is contingent on Rio Grande LNG’s final investment decision to construct and operate a new LNG liquefaction facility and export terminal at the Port of Brownsville. Texas-based NextDecade, LLC is the owner and developer of Rio Grande LNG.
The agreed upon environmental project would restart restoration work that had previously stalled due to lack of funding. The effort would significantly enhance water flow, improve water quality, enrich thousands of acres of wetlands, and expand critical habitats for marine life and other wildlife in the 10,000-acre Bahia Grande wetlands area. Numerous federal and state agencies have identified the widening of the pilot channel as a critical step to restore the Bahia Grande wetlands habitat.
“The Port of Brownsville has long recognized the vitality of the Bahia Grande as critical to the area’s environmental health,” said BND Chairman John Wood. “This memorandum of understanding with Rio Grande LNG secures the future well-being of this tidal basin which in turn will re-establish balance to the ecological sanctuaries we’ve enjoyed for decades.”
Under the agreement, the project would:
• Widen the Carl Joe Gayman Bahia Grande Restoration Channel in an effort to increase tidal exchange and restore more natural salinity regimes in the Bahia Grande;
• Enhance the natural hydrology and salinity of the Bahia Grande area to ensure the restoration and preservation of the wetlands habitat for fisheries, waterfowl and other wildlife;
• Provide the local community with public recreational benefits associated with a thriving ecological zone.
(Source: Rio Grande LNG)