An Observational Study of Ship Channel and Shallow Bay Interactions and their Influence in Corpus Christi Bay

The goal of this project is to understand the turbulent mixing mechanisms in this type of wind-driven exchange
between a shallow bay and deep ship channel through field observation and turbulence-resolving numerical simulations. This project will focus on a primarily observational approach to advance understanding of these processes. As part of this we will also be developing and applying new potentially lower cost and more flexible observational tools and techniques to acquiring sustained measurements of key mixing related parameters (e.g. salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity) in and around ship channels.

The overarching goal of this project is to deploy a cost-effective experimental data array along a transect leading across the edge of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel or as close as permitted. This array will collect key parameters related to mixing in this environment (turbidity, salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen) in real time and send the data to repositories available to the public and decision makers.

We will collaborate with researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston in multiple capacities.

In addition, we will work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers providing our data to decision-makers and allowing the Corps to develop similar sensor arrays to monitor restoration and beneficial-use projects throughout the Bay system. We will plan a strong community integration component, based on publicly shared datasets and web resources.

Together, these activities will explore the present stressors of stratification and dredging in Corpus Christi Bay, collaborate and share results with key decision makers and stakeholders, and develop a new, cost-effective monitoring strategy for understanding water quality challenges in a host of shallow bay environments.