Jefferson County Marsh Restoration

Siphons will carry freshwater across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

The GIWW has cut off natural flows of freshwater to coastal marsh.

© Kristen Boyd

The GIWW has cut off natural flows of freshwater to coastal marsh.

Ducks Unlimited is supporting a project to construct two siphons under the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Jefferson County, Texas. The siphons are significant components in the Salt Bayou Watershed Restoration Plan to protect and restore Chenier Plain marshes within the 139,000-acre Salt Bayou ecosystem. Lack of freshwater inflows to the Salt Bayou Marsh remains a critical impediment to its overall restoration. Construction of the siphons will provide for the necessary inflows of freshwater to this ecologically significant marsh complex.

Construction of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in 1930s split the Salt Bayou Marsh system and blocked the natural flow of freshwater to marshes south of the GIWW. The siphons will allow excess freshwater from marsh north of the GIWW to flow into marsh south of the GIWW that has been cut off from this source of freshwater inflow for more than 75 years. Fresh and intermediate salinity marshes provide significantly more waterfowl benefits than salt marshes.

Siphon one will provide hydrological restoration for 3,182 acres of estuarine wetlands in a portion of McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Siphon two will restore 2,955 acres of coastal marsh on J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. DU secured two North American Wetland Conservation Act grants to support the projects. Other partners on the project include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Jefferson County, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.