CCA Texas and Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program Host Volunteer Marsh Grass Planting Day
“Protecting and restoring fish habitat is critically important”
Between 70 and 80 volunteers showed up on Saturday, December 4, 2010 to take part in a volunteer marsh grass planting day at the Nueces Bay marsh restoration project located between Portland and Corpus Christi along U.S. Highway 181’s Portland Causeway. This project, led by Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP), will eventually restore approximately 160 acres of lost marsh. CCA Texas’s habitat initiative, Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT), has contributed $24,000 to the project. These funds include $10,000 raised by CCA Texas volunteers in the banquet fundraising process, $10,000 secured by HTFT from the FishAmerica Foundation and $4,000 secured by HTFT from West Marine.
This restoration project will help provide lost intertidal marsh that is a critical part of the bay ecosystem providing essential habitat for juvenile fish, shrimp and crabs and feeding grounds for bigger fish and other animals within the ecosystem. Studies have shown that this area has lost as much as 340 acres of marsh over the last 30 years. In the 1940s, causeway construction and related dredging resulted in the loss of about 180 acres and since then studies show that an additional 160 acres have been lost due to erosion and subsidence.
“Public participation of this sort is invaluable. It not only helps make available funding go further, but also keeps the community informed about what we are doing and gives them a sense of ownership,” commented CBBEP Project Manager Dustin Cravey. CBBEP Executive Director Ray Allen added, “Protecting and restoring fish habitat is critically important. The CCA and CBBEP partnership on this marsh restoration project is the key to a keeping fish in the bay.”
Construction on the restoration project began in mid-July and to date all the terraces have been completed and the outer terraces planted as part of the 76-acre Phase I. Contractors are currently working on the outer marsh protection berm with hopes of completing it by the end of December. Once the outer berm is completed, Phase II dredging will start and the 86-acre open area between the outer berm and the outer terraces will be pumped with dredge material, resulting in up to 80% coverage of intertidal marsh with a lot of edge.
“HTFT is proud to be a part of this restoration effort,” commented John Blaha, HTFT Director. “This project is another great example of partnerships at work to restore Texas’s coastal habitats and the involvement from the community was tremendous. We look forward to working with CBBEP in the future.”