The Coastal Conservation Association is a non-profit marine conservation organization. It is comprised of 17 coastal state chapters spanning the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific Northwest. CCA’s strength is drawn from the thousands of recreational saltwater anglers who make up its membership. From the Mexico border to the upper-reaches of Maine, CCA’s grassroots influence is felt through state capitols, U.S. Congress and most importantly, in the conservation and restoration of our coastal marine resources.

CCA began in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. Fourteen concerned recreational anglers created the Gulf Coastal Conservation Association to combat commercial excesses and conserve the resource. The spirit of conservation and stewardship that started with the “Save the Redfish” campaign soon swept across the entire Gulf coast. By 1985, Gulf state chapters had formed from Texas to Florida. By the mid ’90s, states through the mid-Atlantic and New England were united to address state and national issues as the Coastal Conservation Association. Washington and Oregon opened CCA chapters in 2007.  In 2015, the CCA California chapter was created.  CCA has been active in virtually every national fisheries debate since 1984 and has participated productively in state and federal fisheries management issues for longer than two decades. CCA continues to operate as a three-tiered organization, affecting issues on a local, state and national level.

CCA is unique in that while it has national impact, each state in the organization operates its own organization, funds its own operations, and decides the issues it chooses to address on a state level. Funds raised for CCA Texas do not fund projects for CCA Florida, Louisiana or Maine. Each state retains its own Executive Director, has its own Board of Directors and sub-committees.

CCA’s unmatched breadth and depth of volunteer involvement has made it the largest marine conservation group of its kind. Beyond the tangible accomplishments seen in state and federal legislatures and fisheries management councils, commissions and panels, CCA’s proactive presence defeats many ill-conceived proposals before they bloom. CCA and its state organizations are engaged in hundreds of different programs and projects related to conservation at all times. These programs and projects include scientific studies, scholarship funding, artificial reefs, hatcheries, contaminate studies, hydrology studies, freshwater inflows, and support of local enforcement agencies and others.

Mission Statement

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.

Staff

Robby Byers, Executive Director

Robby Byers has worked for the Coastal Conservation Association for 18 years, where he started as an Assistant Director making his mark in Chapter development. Byers developed chapters across the state for nine years before taking the role of the Executive Director of Texas in 2006. He continues his position as the Director overseeing the state in Fundraising, Membership, Communications and Advocacy.

Byers grew up in Houston and graduated from Sharpstown High School where he was the catcher of the 1982 State Championship Baseball team. Byers played on two Southwest Conference Championship teams at the University of Texas in 1985-86 as well as played for the National Championship in the College World Series. Byers received his Bachelors degree from the University of Houston.

He has been married for 17 years and has 3 children. He enjoys hunting and fishing with his family and coaching his son’s baseball team.

Shane Bonnot, Advocacy Director

Shane Bonnot is the Advocacy Director for CCA Texas, working closely with CCA committees, members and staff on interests and policies that are vital to the long term sustainability of our coastal marine resources. As a 6th generation Texan, Shane grew up in Wharton where he spent his childhood in the woods, on the water, playing sandlot baseball, catching snakes and mostly driving his parents crazy. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in Animal Science in 2000 and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in 2003. After college, he worked for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science for 3 years as the oyster hatchery manager. In 2006 he moved back to Texas to work for Texas Parks and Wildlife – Coastal Fisheries Division in the stock enhancement program at Sea Center Texas, spending 5 years as hatchery biologist and another 5 years as hatchery manager.

Shane has been married for 13 years to his lovely wife Lauren and together they have 3 children, Olivia, Adelyn, and Jules. He enjoys living outdoors, archery, music, guitar, hunting, fishing, eating wild game, and part-time cattle ranching in Jackson County.

John Blaha, Director of Habitat & Assistant Director

John Blaha has worked for the Coastal Conservation Association since March of 2002, serving as an Assistant Director. In addition to his duties as an Assistant Director, Blaha is also the Director of CCA Texas’ habitat initiative, Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT).

Blaha is a life-long Texas coastal resident and currently lives in Rockport, Texas. Prior to coming to CCA Texas, he worked for the Dow Chemical Company and has been an active CCA Texas volunteer and member since 1990. As a lifelong recreational fisherman and advocate for Texas coastal resources, he also sits as a member of the Gulf of Mexico Citizen’s Advisory Committee, the Texas Sea Grant Advisory Committee and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

Chapters: Aransas Bay, Brush Country, Corpus Christi, Redfish Bay, San Antonio,
Events: Babes on Baffin Tournament, Babes on the Bay Tournament, Beeville Fish Fry

Sam Caldwell, CURRENTS Newsletter Editor

Sam Caldwell says he has been involved with CCA since the first GCCA banquet in 1978. The artist/writer/photographer helped begin the TIDE and NEW TIDE magazines and CURRENTS publications. Along the way, he and Fred Carr produced the national award-winning video, “Endangered Crescent” in 1983, and the Best Outdoor Book of 2001, “Change of Tides.”

Sam studied Fine Art at the University of Houston (eat ‘em up, Coogs), and plans to work on his Master’s Degree when he has a little more time. He was named Texas State Artist for 2004, and was the CCA Dallas Conservationist of the Year, 2015. His art can be viewed at www.samcaldwell.com.

Drew Adams, Assistant Director

Drew Adams is an Assistant Director for CCA Texas. He started with CCA back 2011 and is loving every minute of it. It is a true blessing to be working for such a great organization. Drew was born and raised in Victoria, Texas, where he discovered his love for the outdoors. He graduated with a BA from The University of Texas-San Antonio, Go Roadrunners!

Drew loves to spend time with his amazing wife, who is by his side fishing as much as possible. If Drew is not at work or on the water, he is woodworking and doing projects around the house, rooting for the Astros, and eating big plates of Mexican Food. GO ASTROS!

Chapters: Brazoria County, Brazos Valley, Dallas, Golden Triangle, Greater Woodlands, Northwest Houston, Trinity Bay

Blake Burnside, Assistant Director

Blake Burnside joined the CCA Texas staff in January of 2016 first as the Banquet Assistant but quickly moved into the role of Assistant Director. He is passionate about his work and enjoys traveling to all of his different chapters. Prior to his employment with CCA, Blake worked in roofing sales.

A resident of Needville, Texas, Blake’s interests include hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.

Chapters: Bay Area, Helotes, Lower Colorado, Port Lavaca, Tri-County, Saltgrass and Greater Sugar Land

Brian Meuth, Assistant Director

Brian Meuth has worked as an Assistant Director for CCA Texas since September of 2011. His main focus as Assistant Director is working directly with numerous volunteers from chapters across the state in their fundraising efforts through banquets, kid fish tournaments and secondary events. Prior to working for CCA, Brian was a member of the Fort Bend CCA Chapter for roughly 20 years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology from Sam Houston State University, with a minor in Business Management. Before coming to work for CCA, Brian was a Project Manager for 13 years in the residential construction industry. He has also served on his local Little League board as the Boys Baseball Coordinator for the past 8 years.

Brian has two boys, Bryce and Cade, and a loving supportive wife, Christina. They enjoy spending time at their bay house fishing the Matagorda Bay system. When not on the water, Brian can be found at the deer lease, on the baseball field managing his boys teams, or traveling the roads with his boys’ show cattle.

Chapters: Austin, Fort Bend, Laredo, Lee County, Trinity Valley, West Texas

Taylor Rieck, Assistant Director

Taylor Rieck joined the CCA team as an Assistant Director in January of 2016. He graduated with a degree in Business from Sam Houston State University in 2011, Eat ‘em up Kats! Before joining the CCA team, Taylor spent several years as a Golf Professional, and most recently spent three years working as an Account Manager for Coca-Cola.

Taylor has a passion for being outdoors and spends most of his spare time on the golf course or out on his family’s land taking care of the cattle. He is very thankful for the opportunity to work for such a great organization, and with so many great co-workers and volunteers.

Chapters: Brenham, Colorado Valley, Fort Worth, Galveston, Matagorda Bays, Port O’Connor, Sabine-Neches

Erich Schneider, Assistant Director

Erich Schneider has been with CCA for the last three years as an Assistant Director. He graduated with a degree in Business from Sam Houston State University. Prior to working for CCA, Erich was a Golf Professional in the Woodlands area for six years, where he taught, played golf, and ran the operation.

Erich’s hobbies include fishing (of course), golf, music, and sports. He has also been huge Cowboys and Astros fan his entire life! Having grown up in Victoria, Texas, learning the waters of Port O’Connor, Erich has been a lifelong fisherman/outdoorsman. Erich firmly believes that joining CCA was the best life decision he has ever made, and he is thankful every day for the opportunity to work with great people and for an amazing organization.

Chapters: Alvin/Pearland, Hays County, Mainland,  Rio Grande Valley, Sam Houston, Southwestern
Event: CCA Texas Inter-Chapter Challenge Tournament

Matt Still, Assistant Director

Matt Still joined the CCA staff in 2009 as the Assistant Banquet Director, then advanced to become an Assistant Director in charge of chapters, helping them facilitate annual fundraising events. He is currently a board member on the Galveston Bay Council Committee representing CCA Texas.

Matt was born and raised in Nacogdoches, Texas. His passion for fishing started at a young age, when his family would go on summer vacations to Bolivar Peninsula. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics, and he was an active member in the Aggieland CCA Chapter. Matt has a wonderful wife who shares his passion for the water and loves to go fishing with him (even though he makes her wash the boat!). Matt and his wife have 2 beautiful sons who already love the outdoors, and look forward to spending time with their dad on the water. Other than fishing, Matt enjoys woodworking, hunting, cooking, remodeling/construction projects, and playing golf.

Chapters: East Texas, Guadalupe Valley, Katy,  Lower Laguna Madre, San Gabriel, Texas A&M, West Houston

Coleman Todd, Assistant Director

Coleman Todd has worked as an Assistant Director for CCA Texas since 2006. He assists multiple chapters across the state in their fundraising and secondary activities. Coleman is responsible for chapter development, where he has aided in adding 11 Chapters to the CCA Texas Team. Coleman also heads up the Annual CCA Texas State BBQ and STAR Awards Dinner.

A native Texan born and raised in the small gulf coast town of Needville, Coleman began exploring the outdoors at an early age on the beaches and bays of Matagorda, where he spent countless hours with family and friends enjoying our natural resources. This lifelong passion for the Texas Gulf Coast is what motivated Coleman to become involved in marine conservation.

Chapters: Central Houston, Hill Country, Houston Homebuilding, Houston Real Estate, Live Oak, Mid Coast, San Bernard

Brian Weaver, Assistant Director

Brian Weaver has been with CCA since February of 2014. He is currently an Assistant Director for CCA Texas, overseeing seven local chapters.

Brian is a proud graduate of Sam Houston State University, where he earned a degree in Construction Management. Before joining CCA, he spent three years working in the construction industry here in Houston.

Brian enjoys spending time outdoors with his friends and family, whether it is fishing, hunting, or playing golf.

Chapters: Centex, Heart of the Hills, Northeast Houston, Orange County, Prairie, Texas State, Tomball/Magnolia

Liz Bosmans, Executive Assistant

Liz is a Texas native born and raised in Houston. After attending The University of Texas at San Antonio where she majored in Creative Writing, she worked in events and executive support. Most of her free time was spent at concerts and exploring the beautiful state parks of Texas with her husband until they welcomed their first child in 2017. She spent one and a half years home with their daughter until joining the CCA Texas staff in February 2019.

Now her free time to is spent with her family still exploring local parks and traveling. Her interests include camping, hiking, cooking and trying to learn her husband’s native Dutch language.

Darbi Dowell, Banquet Assistant

Darbi Dowell joined CCA Texas in January of 2019 as the state Banquet Assistant. While overseeing merchandise, she will be found traveling the state to various banquets and fundraising events. Prior to coming to work for CCA, Darbi graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in Animal Science. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she spent her free time running a hunting operation in the College Station area during the year. During the summer she fulfilled one of her passions by working as a Wrangler at a summer camp in the Hill Country giving riding lessons to younger children.

Darbi grew up on the bay in Port Lavaca, Texas and her hobbies include fishing, hunting, riding horses, working cattle, and spending time with her Blue Lacy, Dixie.