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      Nature Report: Dredge Disposal Kills Seagrass

      The muck rises up out of the placid waters of the Lower Laguna Madre like an underwater volcano.

      Only, this is a man made eruption from a recent dredging operation in the Intracoastal Waterway east of Laguna Vista. Periodic dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs the length of the Laguna Madre from Corpus Christi to the Port of Brownsville is required to maintain the channel to a depth of 12 feet to accommodate barge traffic. However, when the muck dredged from the channel is piped into the open bay it covers and kills seagrasses which angers many fishermen like Captain Janie Petty. Captain Janie Petty, "I think it is in everybody's best interest to put a stop to this. Not only is it silting up the entire bay, but it is bound to be silting the intracoastal right back up again also because as you can see they are just dumping it out into the open bay." Tony Reisinger, Cameron County Marine Extension Agent, "Historically open bay disposal has been controversial for decades|when it is placed in the open bay of course it can cover seagrasses and seagrasses can die and that can take away habitat." There are a handful of upland sites where the dredge disposal is placed when convenient, but throughout many stretches of the intracoastal land is not close enough to easily pipe the sludge into containment areas so it is unfortunately dumped right back into adjacent bay waters. Petty, "You see how muddy it is here. Whenever the wind blows that silt is going to roil and muddy up the bay, and the sunlight is not going to be able to penetrate and it is going to keep the grass from growing." With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore