Bayou Chico has experienced considerable environmental degradation from 100+ years of human activity. Deposition of fine sediments during this time has resulted in a layer of "soft" organic material across much of the bottom of the bayou in a layer up to 10-feet thick. Scientific studies have documented significant levels of contamination within this organic layer, including trace metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pentachlorophenal (PCP), dioxins/furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).Environmental regulation and recent restoration efforts have led to improved water quality within the bayou, but pollution from early industry and other sources will remain as a lasting legacy until contamination within the sediment is adequately addressed.
Removal of contaminated sediment from Bayou Chico will act as the foundation of future environmental restoration efforts within the bayou. Improvements to benthic habitat and increased biological diversity and productivity will eventually support the restoration of historic natural habitats such as emergent marsh and oyster reefs.
This project is a multi-year, multi-phase project. Phase I will include planning, design and permitting. Planning will include physical and chemical characterization of bayou sediments and a feasibility study to evaluate contamination removal through dredging and/or other available technologies and potential disposal methods. Future phases will address removal of contamination from the bayou through dredging and/or other available technologies.
- Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council RESTORE Grant for Phase I (Planning, Design & Permitting) - $356,850
- Significant additional funding will be necessary to implement future phases of the project.
- Natural Resources Management Division