Partnership with Several Conservation Groups will Benefit over $3.6 Million in Coastal Habitat
For immediate release
Contact: John Blaha
HOUSTON, Texas – (Thursday, March 15, 2018) – Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) and Building Conservation Trust (BCT), the national habitat program of CCA, have committed to an investment of $895,000 toward marine habitat work along the Texas coast. Through several dedicated partnerships, this will equate to more than $3.6 million in coastal habitat. Click here to view a graphic of all of the projects.
“At the beginning of every year, CCA Texas and BCT meet to determine what projects to fund that year based on need, project type, geographic variety, and the shared mission of CCA Texas and BCT,” said John Blaha, director of habitat for CCA Texas. “We accomplished so much in 2017, and this year is off to an even bigger start with our commitment to habitat.”
BCT and CCA Texas are providing $10,000 in funding toward the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Vancouver Nearshore Reefing Site. This site was one of CCA Texas’ first artificial reefing deployment sites. Anticipated to be completed in March 2018, at least 40 pyramids will be deployed at the site, located just off the Freeport Jetties. Additionally, BCT and CCA Texas are providing the Dickinson Bayou Marsh Grass Planting with funds of $25,000. The original project, which has received previous support from CCA Texas and BCT, restored 10 acres of marsh and protected an additional 18 acres of existing marsh. This effort will replant marsh grasses that were damaged by the historical flooding of 2017. It is expected to take place during the first half of 2018.
Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) is also a past funding recipient of the CCA Texas/BCT partnership. This year, GBF will be receiving a $40,000 investment from them that will be put toward the Trinity Bay Discovery Center Living Shoreline. This project will create 1,200 linear feet of shoreline breakwater and provide the opportunity to restore up to two acres of estuarine intertidal marsh. As part of the Trinity Bay Discovery Center, the project will provide educational opportunities to area teachers, students and the community.
This year, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program is receiving $60,000 from CCA Texas and BCT toward the Nueces Bay Demonstration/Restoration Oyster Reef Project. This effort will serve as a baseline indicator of the ability to construct and enhance existing oyster reefs within the Nueces Bay system. In addition, it will provide community outreach through education by involving local students in oyster bagging events and shell placement. This project is anticipated to reach completion in 2018, and monitoring of the site will continue into the next two to three years.
The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies is the recipient of $60,000 from the CCA Texas/BCT partnership. These funds will be put toward a study titled Baffin Bay’s Unique Serpulid Reef Habitat: Science to Advance Understanding and Conservation. This funding will help create an understanding of the ecological role of serpulid reef communities, in particular as a prey resource. It will improve fishery resource management and our ability to conserve these rare, naturally occurring, hard-substrate habitats.
BCT and CCA Texas are providing funds toward two projects with TPWD in the Sabine area. The first is $100,000 toward the Sabine Lake Restored Oyster Reef Expansion. This project will create additional oyster habitat in the southwest corner of the remaining 27 acres in the lease area of Sabine Reef. The funds will support 833 to 1,666 cubic yards of reef to be laid in Sabine Lake. BCT and CCA Texas are also contributing $200,000 toward the Sabine Pass HI20 Nearshore Reefing Project. CCA Texas, BCT, TPWD, Sabine Pass Port Authority, Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and local volunteer groups are working together to reef the newly permitted HI20 nearshore reefing site. The first phase of reefing will include 200 granite blocks, which will be reefed in the northwest quadrant of the site. The barge will be deployed in the center of the 160 acre site.
Since inception, CCA Texas and BCT have supported the Rio Grande Valley Reef (RGV Reef) just north of the Brownsville Jetties. This project is led by the Friends of RGV Reef and will cover 1,650 acres, making it the largest permitted nearshore site in Texas. BCT and CCA Texas have previously invested $255,000 into the RGV Reef, and they have contributed an additional $150,000 in 2018. These funds will help Friends of RGV Reef continue to deploy low and high relief materials to the site.
BCT and CCA Texas have also committed $250,000 toward Big Man’s Nearshore Reefing site. A partnership with TPWD, Big Man’s Reef is a new 160 acre site off the Galveston coastline. The first phase of reefing at Big Man’s Reef will be the deployment of concrete railroad ties, which will provide complex low and mid relief habitat. Reefing is expected to take place in 2018. With the $250,000 commitment to this site, CCA Texas and BCT have now committed and funded over $1.5 million to nearshore reefing along the Texas coast.
“It is truly incredible to see the growth in the scope of habitat work we are involved in throughout Texas,” said Robby Byers, executive director of CCA Texas. “It is because of our strong partnership with BCT and many others that we are able to be a part of such meaningful projects. This habitat work ensures that our marine resources will be around for many generations to come.”
Through a highly successful matching funds program, BCT has garnered over $18 million toward more than 40 coastal projects in the United States. Click here to view an interactive map of BCT projects. The Building Conservation Trust has a target of investing over $3.5 million toward Texas marine habitat projects by the year 2021, equating to $10 million in projects with similar partner organizations.
“The projects receiving our investments in 2018 will restore degraded habitats, create new habitats, advance the science of habitat restoration and conservation, foster habitat stewardship, and educate coastal communities of the value of conservation,” said Sean Stone, executive director of Building Conservation Trust. “We are thrilled to continue our strong partnership with CCA Texas to restore and enhance marine habitat all along the Texas Gulf Coast.”
The Building Conservation Trust (BCT) was founded in 2013 as the national marine habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association. BCT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to providing funding for local, state and national fisheries, habitat conservation and restoration projects. BCT has created a model for the successful collaboration of business, non-profit organizations and government agencies to revitalize critical habitat and establish a vibrant foundation for the marine ecosystem.
Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) is a non-profit marine conservation organization comprised of tens of thousands of recreational anglers and coastal outdoor enthusiasts. Founded in 1977, CCA started in the great state of Texas and has grown to include state chapters along the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Seaboard and Pacific Coast. The stated purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on the conservation of marine resources. The objective of CCA is to conserve, promote and enhance the present and future availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.