Port Aransas community upset about new Corps of Engineers dredging project

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Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 12, 2019

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Late Wednesday afternoon, residents and city officials in Port Aransas were surprised to find construction workers showing up at a popular fishing spot near the south jetty.

The Army Corps of Engineers is now working on a new dredging operation there and some in the Port A community aren't too happy about it.

A spokesperson with the Army Corps of Engineers tells us this dredge project is designed to improve coastal waterways. While this stretch of beach is regulated by the federal government, city officials say they would've appreciated a heads up.

Lifeguards were confused to find new construction beginning on the beach around 5 p.m.

But they weren't the only ones caught off guard.

Mayor Charles Bujan was never told about it either.

He, along with residents there, say the corps should've given him a courtesy call.

“They're paid by our tax dollars,” Bujan said. “They're given their authority by the people, for the people.”

Other residents agree.

“Little unfair,” Port Aransas resident Veril Varr said. “They should've notified the city so they could've been a little more prepared for it.”

That agency, under the Department of Defense, is in charge of maintaining infrastructure and improving American waterways.

The area near the south jetty is federal government property, so the corps is not required to include the city in the planning process.

But residents are frustrated and say the giant pipeline is an eyesore.

“It's gonna create smells and everything else,” Varr said. “It looks bad right in the middle of our tourist season.”

Bujan says the federal government allows the Army Corps of Engineers to basically do whatever they want, whenever they want.

“Regardless of what they say or what they do from now on, they won't be very well trusted in this town,” Bujan said.

That spokesperson with the Army Corps of Engineers told us this project will be underway for a few months and that the beach will be closed for one day coming sometime in early 2020 for this dredge project to be removed.

That pipeline is part of the project to deepen the ship channel.

That project's goal is to enhance traffic flow through that waterway.

The Army Corps of Engineers say this could pay off economically for the city of Port Aransas.