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Marine Science Literature for Desalinization Projects

Marine Science Literature for Desalinization Projects

In July of 2018, the Port of Corpus Christi announced they were seeking a permit for a desalinization plant proposed for construction on Harbor Island in Port Aransas, Texas that would allow an average daily output flow of up to 95,600,000 gallons per day. Currently, the plant has yet to be designed there are many unknowns.

Seawater intake and output of brine have the potential to impact larval fish and invertebrates. The circulation of the estuaries, ocean and ship channel would play a role in the magnitude of the impact. The following studies are relevant research that have been completed or are ongoing in the Harbor Island area:

 

The importance of salinity as a signal for movement of larvae from ocean to estuary.

Cheryl Brown, who received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2001, completed her dissertation on the transport of fish larvae: Brown, C.A. 2001. The transport of fish larvae to estuarine nursery areas: A modeling study Dissertation. Texas A&M University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Kimberly Bittler, who received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas in 2013, completed her dissertation on the transport of blue crab and the impact of salinity signals: Bittler, K. 2013. The ecology of blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) megalopae in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, Texas : salinity, settlement, and transport. Thesis, The University of Texas at Austin.

Local Circulation Models

The University of Texas Marine Science Institute completed a study of the physical mixing process between estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico at the Aransas Pass tidal inlet. This project was supported by the Mission-Aransas Reserve. You can view the study at: NERR Report by Dr. Kim: Kim, I. 2009. Analysis of physical mixing process between estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico at the Aransas Pass tidal inlet, TX. Informal report to the mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Professor Ben Hodges at The University of Texas at Austin, has studied the hydrodynamics of brine plumes and salinity circulation in Corpus Christi Bay. The following are relevant journal articles:

Hodges, B.R. 2010. The importance of mixing and isolation time for desalination brine discharge. International Engineering Conference on Hot Arid Regions

Hodges, B.R. Furnans, J.E., Kulis, P.S. 2011. Thin-Layer Gravity Current with Implications for Desalination Brine Disposal. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Pérez-Díaz, B., Palomar, P., Castanedo, S., Álvarez, A. 2018. PIV-PLIF Characterization of Nonconfined Saline Density Currents under Different Flow Conditions. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Long-shore Currents

The currents in the Gulf of Mexico would have an impact on brine discharge into the Gulf of Mexico. The currents along our beaches are seasonal and are referred to as longshore.

The Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has completed research in the Coastal Bend region. A powerpoint presentation by Dr. Philippe Tissot and explain the coastal currents is available here. They also published the following related papers:

Tissot, P.E., Dell, L. 2016. Coastal Currents and Waves along the Texas Coastal Bend; Measurements and Model Comparisons. American Meteorological Society 2016

Tissot, P.E., Williams, D.D. 2015. Conference Paper. Nearshore wave and current measurements/predictions on the Texas coast. 95th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, 13th Symposium on the Coastal Environment, Phoenix, AZ 95th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, 13th Symposium on the Coastal Environment, Phoenix, AZ

The Autonomous University of Baja California, in partnership with The University of Texas Brownsville, recently established a coastal radar station on at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute to measure longshore currents and transport. Data will enable them to model the circulation in the Gulf of Mexico. This data is currently being collected and is not yet synthesized.

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