The grassroots efforts of local CCA Texas chapters have set the organization up for a monumental year in conservation dollars awarded for projects up and down the Texas coast. The success of CCA Texas continues to be the efforts of the 60 local chapters across the state, and the unwavering support of the membership, donors, and supporters. Local community support and a desire to ensure Texas’s coastal resources are conserved, has been the focus of the organization since the first day fourteen concerned recreational anglers first sat down to discuss their common concerns. What started as fourteen has grown to over 70,000 CCA Texas members from all walks of life and communities across the state. At the time of this article, CCA Texas State and Executive Boards have approved $5,788,560.00 for conservation efforts in 2023.
$125,000 – Texas A&M Galveston Gulf Research Institute for Highly Migratory Species
Funding for the Institute will support research initiatives to aid in the conservation of highly migratory species in Texas and throughout their range in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. This gift will help scientists unravel the unique life histories of these ecologically and economically valuable top predators. Additionally, the funding will support the preparation and training of the next generation of fisheries scientists.
As funds are raised, new studies will be launched, including acoustic and satellite tracking of fishes during the juvenile life phase, captive holding and spawning of dolphinfish and cobia in the Texas A&MGalveston Sea Life Center, and a Gulf-wide assessment of trophic transfer of contaminants, including microplastics, to coastal and offshore fishes.
$82,000 – TPWD Game Warden’s Floating Cabin in Baffin Bay
CCA Texas has a long history of supporting the TPWD Game Wardens up and down the Texas coast. This support often comes in the form of equipment, intern salaries, and in this particular grant, a floating cabin that will give the wardens adequate access to the waters of the Upper Laguna Madre, Baffin Bay and the northern end of the Land Cut areas. Both floating cabins in the Laguna Madre system suffered significant and or total loss after Hurricane Hanna in 2020. Since then, the wardens have felt the loss of these vital assets in reduced efficiency of boat fuel, maintenance, and patrol hours. When overall fishing and water safety cases were compared from the two years prior and two years post loss of the floating cabin in the Baffin area, wardens observed a 28% drop in efficiency. When only speckled trout violations were compared in the same period, wardens incurred a 62% decline in citations written. While other variables play a role in these numbers, wardens can attest that these would have been largely mitigated by the presence of a floating cabin that can allow them to stay on station longer.
$39,000 – CCA Texas Conservation Billboards
Hundreds of thousands of people travel the highways of Texas daily. Public outreach and education are two of the major tenants of CCA Texas, and the coastal highways provide a great outreach opportunity for this tenant. CCA Texas has funded forty-eight billboards on an annual basis to educate the general population of Texas about the importance of coastal conservation and where you can find information about projects and advocacy efforts of CCA Texas.
$225,000 – Harte Research Institute (HRI) Oyster Reef Monitoring Program
CCA Texas has long been a strong advocate for better management and conservation of oyster resources along the coast. CCA Texas played a very active role in the effort to see the Mesquite Bay complex closed permanently to all forms of oystering in November 2022. As an advocate for this effort and with a desire to see sound management in the future, CCA Texas funded $225,000 to HRI over a three-year period to monitor the changes in the reefs in this closed bay system so that a baseline can be established for these types and closures and the benefits they will bring. This project will included monitoring twice a year for a three year period.
$200,000 – Friends of RGV Reef Causeway Reef and MU775 Reefing Efforts
Friends of RGV Reef (FRGVR) has been a shining example of local grassroots efforts and partnership for many years now. With a daunting effort to create a 1,600 acre reef off of South Padre Island almost filled, FRGVR continues to work on reefing efforts in the area and to support those up the coast in the Corpus area. This request for funding will help reef materials already on hand into the new Causeway Reef site off of South Padre Island and in the MU775 site, located just off Packery Channel in Corpus Christi. This reefing will take place in the first half of 2024 and CCA Texas is proud to continually support the efforts to create great nearshore habitat along the Texas coast.
$19,000 – TPWD Seagrass Billboards
CCA Texas partners with TPWD on outreach efforts often and the TPWD Seagrass Billboards has been one long supported. These billboards point the general public to information that is important to the conservation of this type of habitat.
$7,860 – TPWD Game Warden Equipment
TPWD Game Wardens are the front line of defense for our coastal resources. CCA Texas has a long history of supporting the wardens and helping fund the necessary day to day equipment that they need to execute their jobs.
$10,000 – Coastal Brigade
CCA Texas has been a supporter of Coastal Brigade since its inception in 2016. This 5-day program encompasses coastal habitat management, fisheries management, coastal ecology and saltwater fishing. The tried and true Brigades model of leadership development, education, and empowerment continues at Coastal Brigade and CCA Texas is proud to continue its support for the future generations that will support and protect Texas’s coastal resources.
$80,000 – HRI Bringing Baffin Back Work Boat
CCA Texas proudly supports HRI’s staff and the initiative, Bringing Baffin Back. In 2022, CCA Texas approved $225,000 ($75,000/year for three years) to primarily fund continuing water quality sampling and studies. In an effort to improve accessibility and safety, CCA Texas has funded the purchase of a new boat for HRI staff to use as part of the Bringing Baffin Back initiative and other research projects that HRI are a part of.
$5,000,000 – Oyster Reef Restoration Along the Texas Coast
Being at the forefront of oyster reef conservation and management, CCA Texas has stepped to the forefront of private funding. CCA Texas’s Executive Board approved $5,000,000 that is earmarked for oyster restoration efforts in areas closed to oystering along the Texas coast. These funds will be used to help restore critical reefs lost over time due to natural and manmade forces. CCA Texas looks forward to being a leader in this effort and this grant cements commitment to the oyster resources of Texas.For more information about CCA Texas, be sure to visit us at www.ccatexas.org, https://www.facebook.com/CCATexas/, @CCA_Texas (Instagram) and @CCA_Texas (X – formally Twitter).