Sabine Pass LNG, L.P. created approximately 70 acres of tidally influenced wetlands south of the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal near the historic Sabine Pass Lighthouse. The area had previously been utilized for dredged material placement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the construction and maintenance of the Sabine-Neches ship channel. The area consisted of a mosaic of coastal pasture and non-tidal wetland habitat. By utilizing this area for wetland mitigation, the existing mosaic of high marsh/coastal prairie was protected and preserved from future dredge placement activities and/or future development. Furthermore, by constructing tidal conveyance channels within the contiguous wetland system, it enhanced the existing wetlands by facilitating tidal exchange and the development of essential fish habitat - spawning areas for marine species such as crabs, shrimp, flounder, redfish and speckled sea trout. The area also provides unique tidal flats that are utilized by a variety of wildlife such as ducks and geese, shorebirds, alligators and snakes, and mammals. The enhancement of this system has contributed to the increase of the overall productivity and wildlife attraction. The preservation of the existing wetlands in this area also increased the aesthetic value of the Sabine Pass Lighthouse for future visitors.
Sabine Pass LNG, L.P. created, enhanced and preserved approximately 272 acres of freshwater wetlands north of where the LNG tanks are located. Levees were constructed or enhanced to capture rainwater to flood the area and generate wetland conditions. The area is now managed to mimic the natural wetland conditions in the surrounding area and the normal wet/dry cycle of southwest Louisiana. Following the creation of the wetlands and over the past three years, the area has become a migratory hotspot for wintering waterfowl - attracting thousands of ducks and geese to the wetland. These ducks and geese begin to arrive in late September and leave around early February. The area is also the permanent home to local birds such as mottled ducks (the only native year round duck on the upper Gulf coast), egrets and herons, reptiles such as snakes and alligators and multiple mammals such as rabbits, coyotes, raccoons and bobcats. Overall, the wetland project has contributed a valuable freshwater mixed habitat within a salt water environment providing a critical link between the bays and the Gulf of Mexico.
Beneficial Use of Dredge Material
Construction of the SPLNG Terminal marine berth included dredging approximately 5.4 million cubic yards of soil. In order to utilize this dredged material in a manner that was beneficial to the environment, it was pumped via pipeline to an area along Louisiana Point, which lies on the Gulf of Mexico east of the Sabine Pass jetty. The material was placed approximately 1,000 feet off the coast to create a chain of barrier islands approximately 11,000 feet long and from 300 to 900 feet wide.
These islands are providing numerous beneficial uses including: 1) Creating a wave barrier to decrease wave energy along Louisiana Point to reduce erosion of the shoreline; 2) Providing protection for wetland habitats located along the shoreline; 3) Providing valuable marine habitat and food sources for birds, fish, crabs, sea turtles, and the endangered piping plover; 4) Rebuilding the shoreline slowly as the soil is carried from the placement area to the shoreline, increasing the wildlife and wetland habitats, and lastly; 5) Providing a unique and valuable recreational fishing area for the users of the Sabine Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, this area has become a favorite among local fishermen in the area.
Shamrock Island Mitigation
Corpus Christi LNG, LLC proposes to protect and enhance existing wetlands and create new seagrass habitat at Shamrock Island. The island is located along the eastern shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, approximately 2 miles west of Mustang Island. The island serves as an important rookery to a number of nesting bird species, in particular, the royal tern. Significant beach erosion and loss of wetlands, which has impacted vital bird nesting habitat. As part of an ongoing mitigation effort involving several agencies and private entities, Corpus Christi LNG, LLC will construct breakwaters surrounding the island. The breakwaters will protect the northern end of the island where most damage is occurring from wave action and the southern reach which will protect the lagoon.
Wetland Mitigation and Beneficial Use of Dredged Material
Creole Trail LNG, L.P. is proposing restoration of up to 1,100 acres of marsh in southwest Louisiana as a combined wetland mitigation and beneficial use project. The restoration would entail beneficial use of approximately 4 million cubic yards of dredged material within degraded marsh and shallow open-water areas east of Mud Lake, restoration of the historic boundary of Oyster Lake, and plugging and/or filling of oilfield canals. Restoration goals include creation of emergent brackish marsh, restoration of historic lake shorelines, reducing tidal exchange and saltwater intrusion, decreasing rates of marsh loss, and enhancing fisheries and waterfowl habitat.
Oyster and Finfish Public Stewardship Plan
Creole Trail’s commitment to the environment, and specifically to Calcasieu Lake, extends beyond the state mandated mitigation and includes a voluntary program to provide additional oyster and fishing habitat. Creole Trail worked with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to develop an Oyster and Finfish Public Stewardship Plan to provide 16 acres of new oyster reefs and fishing habitat in Calcasieu Lake outside the planned area of construction disturbance. To accomplish the plan, Cheniere funded all materials, management and construction of the reefs totaling a one-million dollar donation. These newly created artificial reefs were donated to the state with their primary function for public recreational and commercial oyster and fishing opportunities before, during and after the planned construction disturbance.