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East Bay (Texas) facts for kids

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East Bay
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Galveston Bay.jpg
East Bay (left), off the shore of Bolivar Peninsula cut by the Intracoastal Waterway (center)
Location Texas Gulf Coast
Coordinates Script error: The function "coordinsert" does not exist.
River sources Oyster Bayou, East Bay Bayou
Ocean/sea sources Gulf of Mexico
Basin countries United States
Settlements Gilchrist, Smith Point

East Bay also known as East Galveston Bay, is the eastern extension of Galveston Bay found in Chambers County, Texas. The bay is oriented northeast to southwest, and is approximately five miles wide and twenty miles in length. It covers the area north of the entire Bolivar Peninsula, and south of mainland Texas, including the small community of Smith Point at the western extreme. The bay's one extension is Rollover Bay, which is found to the extreme east near the town of Gilchrist.

History

The Spanish controlled the bay during the course of their conquest of Texas. During their rule, sea captains would customarily land at Bolivar Peninsula and roll imported or exported goods across a small patch of land to or from the aptly named Rollover Bay to avoid the Galveston trade customs. Centuries later, a natural channel in the area was dredged to create Rollover Pass, named for the practice that previously occurred. The pass cut Gilchrist in half and improved flows from the Gulf of Mexico to East Bay. As a result, Gilchrist benefited economically from the pass, which became one of the most productive fishing locations along the Texas coast, and East Bay was supplied with a greater amount of seawater to improve the bay's fish and vegetative habitat.

The Spanish, notably landed on the northern shore of the bay at present-day Smith Point in 1805 to defend their Atascosito settlement. Following the establishment of Mexico about twenty years later, the site of the landing was named for John Smith who protested the Mexican government's claims in the area. Soon thereafter, a small community was established. The residents depended on East Bay to provide sustenance and transportation before the introduction of the automobile. A few ranches were also established on the bay. Fishing and ranching were the mainstay of the economy until oil was discovered in 1944. Since then, numerous oil and gas wells have been constructed both onshore and in East Bay. According to the U.S Census, Smith Point had a population of 150 people in 2000.

Features

East Bay exchanges seawater with the Gulf of Mexico at Rollover Pass in Gilchrist and at Galveston Harbor near Port Bolivar. It is fed by Oyster Bayou, an important nursery for oysters and shrimp, which runs 23 miles from its source near Winnie through the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge to its confluence with East Bay, near the bay's easternmost point. At the easternmost point, the combined waters of East Bay Bayou and the Intracoastal Waterway merge with the bay.

Coordinates: 29°30′31″N 94°40′18″W / 29.508641°N 94.671764°W / 29.508641; -94.671764

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