Calhoun Port Authority

An aerial view of the Calhoun Port Authority, which is in the upper half of the photo.

POINT COMFORT — Pre-dredge sampling and analysis for the project to widen and deepen the Matagorda Ship Channel will start within the next few weeks, the Calhoun Port Authority said Tuesday.

The Port’s board of directors awarded a $910,000 contract to Tolunay-Wong Engineers Tuesday for the dredging and sampling analysis, which is required as part of the pre-construction design and engineering phase of the project.

“They met all aspects that were required in the bid,” Port Engineer Felicia Harral said of Tolunay-Wong, which was the lowest bidder.

Port Engineer Felicia Harral said the company will have 15 days to start the project after the Port notifies it to proceed and 60 days for completion.

“They’re going to be off and running to make sure they meet those 60 days,” Harral said.

That timeline aligns with the Port and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ goal to complete the pre-construction and design engineering phase by December, said Port Director Charles Hausmann.

The proposed dredge placement areas have recently drawn environmental concerns from several local residents, including members of the Lavaca Bay Foundation and Matagorda Bay Foundation, who wrote the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detailing their concerns.

The sampling and analysis will be used by the Corps for geotechnical exploration that provides insight into the quality of material, which in part will dictate where sediment dredged from the channel can be placed.

New Calhoun Port Authority board members Dan Krueger and Marvin “Marty” Strakos were elected to the Calhoun County Navigation Industrial Development Authority Tuesday following the resignation of former board members H.C. “Tony” Wehmeyer, Jr. and Shields A. “Tony” Holladay.

Holladay served as president of the industrial development authority, which is the financial arm of the Port.

Following Holladay’s resignation, board chairman Luis De La Garza nominated Jay Cuellar to serve as president and Melcher nominated Strakos to serve as president. Strakos was elected president in a 4-2 vote.

Melcher, who served as the board’s vice president, nominated Johnny Perez for the role while De La Garza nominated Cuellar for the role. Cuellar was elected vice president of the authority in a 4-2 vote, and Perez was unanimously elected to serve as the authority’s secretary and treasure.

The board went into closed session for about an hour and 40 minutes to seek advice from its attorney and discuss both a business prospect that the Port seeks to have locate, stay or expand in or near the Port and the purchase, exchange, lease or value of property.

Upon returning from closed session, the Port took no action on matters discussed.

Board members did vote to approve an amendment of a memorandum of understanding with Ineos Nitriles, which is seeking to lease out several acres of land at the Port’s Joslin Site that Ineos leases from the Port.

Melcher was the only board member who voted in opposition of the amendment.

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Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

I was born and raised in Houston, but spent many summers and weekends in the Crossroads while growing up. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, and feel lucky to cover a region I love dearly.

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