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New Research Center Planned for Port Aransas

A view of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas taken in early February 2019 as it undergoes renovation and rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Courtesy photo

Still in the process of rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey wiped out facilities in 2017, the University of Texas Marine Science Institute announced plans to build a Center for Coastal Ocean Science in Port Aransas. The institute is applying for grants to the Economic Development Administration for the project and seeking public input by advertising.

An ad in the Port Aransas South Jetty, a weekly newspaper, states the grant money will be used to “renovate an existing laboratory building on University property adjacent to the Fisheries and Mariculture laboratory.”

“This project is a renovation of an existing building, and very little site disturbance will occur,” the ad reads, “but since federal funding is a potential source of the renovation budget, we are doing our due diligence to seek public comment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Located at 1300 Port St., the center would study “the chemical language of the sea,” expanding existing research goals.

Before Hurricane Harvey, the Port Street address was leased as a shrimp farm to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

The institute is hiring a marine chemical ecologist who will be supported by students, researchers, and technicians.

Anyone with information about the potential impacts to historic properties or environmental resources associated with the project should write to:

Regional Environmental Officer

Department of Commerce

Economic Development Administration

903 San Jacinto Blvd., Suite 206

Austin, TX 78701

Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, March 22.

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