Roving Reporter | "Lawsuit Filed to Halt Massive Barges Parking in Lydia Ann Channel" by Vicki Totten

Photo: Friends of Lydia Ann Channel (source)
All those barges lined up near Lydia Ann Channel are stirring up more than silt. They have also stirred up a lawsuit, along with concerns about the ecological future of the area. If you have boated anywhere near this channel in the past several months, you may have noticed the line of barges now parked along the eastern shoreline of Lydia Ann Channel, and the western shoreline of St. Jo Island. This new barge parking lot is the result of a lease obtained by a private group, Lydia Ann Moorings, LLC, which permits the group to park up to 100 barges in the area while charging $200-$300 per night per barge.

After discovering that the permit for barges to begin parking there was made without any public input, a group called Friends of Lydia Ann Channel (FLAC) filed a lawsuit against the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). According to the lawsuit, the USACE abdicated its responsibilities under federal law to "protect from destruction the environmental, recreational, historical and archaeological treasures located near the Lydia Ann Channel on the Texas Gulf Coast..."

Photo Source
This ecologically sensitive area is also described in the lawsuit as being adjacent to and home to five separate species of endangered sea turtles, whooping cranes, piping plovers, and rufa red knots. The presence of so many barges, many with dangerous chemicals, threatens the wildlife in the area, especially in the case of an accident or spill. According to an article published in the Spring 2016 newsletter of the Texas Rivers Protection Association, "This will eventually destroy one of the best fisheries in the country. It will destroy the Lighthouse Lakes paddling trails. Actually it has the potential to destroy most of the central coast." The project, which was approved last January, stretches approximately 8,000 feet in length along the shoreline, a shoreline that is now no longer accessible.

For updates or ways to get involved, there is a Facebook page set up by the Friends of Lydia Ann Channel as well as an on-line petition at:

Below are some other articles written about the lawsuit.

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