Dredging in South Padre Island leaves clay behind

When you first arrive at Isla Blanca Park, some might think they are looking at some construction going on.

But actually the pile of clay at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island is what was left of the Brazos Dredging Project that pumps sand out of the Brownsville Ship Channel and onto the beaches of South Padre Island.

It's something the Surf Riders Foundation wants gone.

Rob Nixon, chairman of the Surf Riders Foundation, said, "(the clay) is not beach quality sand, it doesn't belong on our beach, it creates a hazardous environment for beach goers and with turtle season starting soon it makes it very difficult for the turtles to get to their nesting areas."

Town of South Padre Island Coastal Resources Manager Ruben Trevino said the dredging project, which is run by the Army Corps of Engineers, is an ongoing project to allow vessels to get through the Brownsville Ship Channel without getting stuck.

"It was very successful," Trevino said.

"We placed over or approximately 350,000 cubic yards of sand over a half-mile stretch of beach. That area of beach was widened over 200 feet."

Chip Worley of the Army Corps Engineers in Brownsville said the pure clay came from dredging at an untouched site and that it's going to take at least 250 truck-loads to get it out of the area.

That moving date can't come soon enough for island surfers.

"This week there's going to be tens of thousands of people out here using the beach and now they cant use you know - about 300 yards of beach," Nixon said.