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Modeling the Potential Impact of Dredging the Corpus Christi Ship Channel On Passive Particle Transport
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  • Eirik Valseth,
  • Mark Loveland,
  • Clint Dawson,
  • Edward Buskey
Eirik Valseth
The University of Texas at Austin

Corresponding Author:eirik@utexas.edu

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Mark Loveland
The University of Texas at Austin
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Clint Dawson
University of Texas at Austin
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Edward Buskey
The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute
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We present a study of the potential impact of deepening the Corpus Christi Ship Channel through Aransas Pass; in particular, we study the effect on the transport of red drum fish larvae due to the change in channel depth. The study is conducted by high resolution simulation of the circulation of the seawater entering and exiting the pass for the current and proposed Ship Channel depths. The computer model incorporates tides and meteorological forcing and includes the entire Gulf of Mexico and the North American Atlantic coast. The corresponding transport of larvae modeled as passive particles due to the sea water circulation is established by releasing particles in the nearshore region outside Aransas Pass and subsequently tracking their trajectories. Both models are implemented in supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). Accuracy of the circulation model computations is validated through comparisons to data collected from tidal gauges in the fall of 2020. We compare the difference in the number of larvae that successfully reach appropriate nursery grounds inside Aransas Pass for four distinctive initial larvae positions in the nearshore region. Our results indicate that the change in channel depth does not significantly alter the number of red drum larvae that reach suitable see a net increase of 0.5%.