Respecting the Environment - Mitigation Process
Back in 2007, Cheniere developed approximately 70 acres of tidally influenced wetlands south of the terminal that continues today to grow and thrive. 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.By constructing tidal conveyance channels within the contiguous wetlands system an environment was created for the development of an essential fish habitat.
Today, the mosaic of marshlands and channels is being used by dozens of species of fish, crustaceans and birds and increasing the overall productivity and wildlife attraction in the area.
Left: Aerial view of 70 acre mosaic wetlands / Top Right: 2008 aerial view of Louisiana Point / Bottom Right: 2014 aerial of restored shoreline
Beneficial Use of Dredge Material
During the initial construction of the Sabine Pass LNG terminal and during subsequent maintenance dredging of the marine berth, Cheniere used the dredged material to restore the shoreline along Louisiana Point, which lies in the Gulf of Mexico east of the Sabine Pass jetty. This section of the shoreline is approximately 11,000 feet long and ranges from 300 to 900 feet wide, providing numerous environmental benefits to the area. The dredge placement has created an island barrier which absorbs the wave energy and reduces erosion of the shoreline. It also provides protection for wetland and marine habitats, providing food sources for birds, fish, crabs, sea turtles, and the endangered piping plover. Over time, as the soil is carried from the placement area to the shoreline, fish migrate to forage on the nutrients located in the water column and on the soil mounds. These shallow waters provide a good habitat for various marine species like shrimp, mullet, shad, speckled trout and redfish.
Today the area is a unique and valuable recreational fishing area for the users of the Sabine Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. Cheniere continues to build the shoreline through annual maintenance dredging of the marine berth and the construction dock for our liquefaction project.
Shamrock Island Mitigation
Cheniere and its contractors constructed 16 breakwaters to protect bird habitat around Shamrock Island in 2013. Shamrock Island, located in Corpus Christi Bay, serves as one of the top five rookeries on the Gulf Coast. The island is a prime nesting location for many colonial waterbirds, including Black-crowned Night Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Reddish Egret, five species of Terns, Black Skimmer, White-faced Ibis, and Laughing Gull. The breakwaters project is part of wetland mitigation efforts associated with the proposed project and represents an investment of approximately $4 million.
The new breakwaters, along with original breakwaters built by the City of Corpus Christi in 1999, will help protect Shamrock Island from future erosion and loss of bird habitat. The new breakwaters will also promote the growth of important seagrass throughout the island’s waters.
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.