Public Infrastructure

Sabine Pass, Texas


McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge Shore Protection

Quality. Efforts to save the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge resulted in LJA’s engineering design to restore damaged and eroded marshes, which will positively impact one of Texas’ largest freshwater coastal marshes for years to come.

The McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge is located near Sabine Pass, Texas and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge comprises 55,000 acres, most of which is freshwater and brackish coastal wetland. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) traverses the refuge. Vessel-generated waves and years of hurricanes have caused erosion along the GIWW, resulting in saltwater intrusion into adjacent freshwater marshes, disruption of habitat processes, and loss of this important habitat. To address the problem, shore protection alternatives to control erosion along approximately five miles of the GIWW were developed. The alternative selected was a combination of structural and bioengineering measures consisting of detached rock breakwaters and rock revetments with smooth cord grass plantings.

LJA analyzed the project’s potential environmental impacts and benefits, and prepared an EA in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for environmental review. Permit applications and supporting documents were prepared for federal (Section 404) and state (Section 401, Coastal Zone Management Consistency) permits and approvals. As part of the overall engineering project, LJA designed dune and beach habitat suitable for resident and wintering bird populations, and endangered and threatened bird species (i.e. Piping Plover and Red Knot). It is hope that restored beach habitat will provide additional nesting areas for sea turtles who have suffered habitat loss. LJA conducted wave and storm analysis and modeling for longshore transport rates, wave refraction and possible erosional hotspots, nourishment lifespan, and modeling of offshore borrow area changes. Initial and final design of required dune line and beach face dimensions and volumes were conducted. In addition, LJA prepared construction contract documents including drawings, technical specifications, and bidding documents, and co-authored an Environmental Assessment, and NEPA and ESA documentation for habitat creation, acquiring necessary regulatory federal and state permits.

For more information regarding this project, please contact: Bill Worsham at




Feasibility Engineering including alternatives analysis

Preliminary engineering

Modeling and analysis of hydrodynamic conditions

NEPA compliance and environmental permitting

Data collection – geotechnical, topographic, hydrographic, and environmental

Final engineering design of preferred alternative

Engineering services during construction