CCA Texas’s Executive Board recently approved three funding requests that will provide great benefits to oyster habitat, research, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement in the Upper Laguna/Baffin/Lower Laguna Madre region.
$5 Million for Oyster Restoration
The CCA Texas Executive Board recently pledged $5 million for oyster reef restoration across the Texas coast. With unanimous approval by all board members present at their August meeting, the CCA Texas board proudly dedicated the funding for future projects in areas that are protected from commercial harvest.
This level of funding would not be possible without the fundraising efforts at the grassroots level within our community chapters and we hope the membership takes satisfaction in knowing their efforts are returning to the water.
“We are excited to make this announcement and would like to thank our members, volunteers, sponsors and industry partners for their continued support,” said John Carlson, Chairman of the CCA Texas Board. “This level of funding would not be possible without the fundraising efforts at the grassroots level within our community chapters and we hope the membership takes satisfaction in knowing their efforts are returning to the water.”
“CCA Texas and the Building Conservation Trust, the CCA National Habitat Program, have already spent over $2.2 million for oyster reef restoration and oyster reef research in Texas,” stated Robby Byers, Executive Director of CCA Texas. “Understanding the natural and man-made threats to our bay systems, this additional $5 million is justified and necessary for the recovery of our oyster reefs.”
CCA Texas will work with non-profit, institutional, and governmental partners to identify specific areas of need to ensure that project funding is complimentary to efforts with shared goals.
$80,000 Approved for Vessel to be Used in Bringing Back Baffin Initiative
The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) submitted a proposal to CCA Texas requesting $80,000 for a Haynie 23’ Big Foot bay boat. Since 2013, HRI has led a monitoring program in Baffin Bay to understand causes of a long-term decline in water quality that is negatively affecting the health of the bay. Data collected as part of this monitoring program is serving as the backbone of the “Bringing Baffin Back” initiative, which aims to:
- Find solutions to the water quality problems that are contributing to the decline in the health of Baffin Bay,
- Restore key watershed and bay habitat that has been lost due to water quality degradation,
- Foster a stewardship ethos, especially among younger generations of residents, and
- Advance efforts to educate the public on the relationship between watershed and bay health.
With Bringing Baffin Back underway and millions of dollars targeted for Baffin Bay watershed restoration, having access to exceptional water quality data is crucial for its success. To ensure the continued longevity of the water quality program, HRI needs reliable sampling equipment and boats. Currently, HRI only has one boat (2019 Boat Right aluminum hull work boat) that is acceptable for use in Baffin Bay, which creates challenges anytime the boat is out of commission for maintenance and repairs. More problematic is that the Boat Right’s use is limited to relatively calm conditions. Thus, HRI has a need for a vessel that is better suited to working in the frequent windy conditions that define Baffin Bay.
CCA Texas’s commitment will enable HRI to purchase a new bay boat that is optimized for use under everyday weather conditions in Baffin Bay. The new boat will be used for water quality sampling in Baffin Bay, other conservation research endeavors in Baffin Bay, and secondarily for conservation projects located in other bay systems. The bay boat that meets the required technical specifications and stability requirements for working in Baffin Bay is the Haynie 23’ Big Foot, and CCA Texas is proud to fund this valuable piece of equipment. This funding further cements CCA Texas’s support of the Bringing Back Baffin initiative and comes on the heels of CCA Texas’s Executive Board 2022 commitment of three years for $75,000 annually ($225,000 total) for underwriting costs associated with sample collection, sample processing via wet chemistry and or microscopy, data analysis, and data management. Additionally, CCA Texas funded $135,000 in February 2022 to HIR for a Baffin Bay Serpulid Reef Habitat Conservation/Restoration Study, to determine the status of the serpulid reefs in Baffin Bay, and restoration opportunities.
$82,850 Funded for Game Warden Cabin Rebuild in Baffin Bay
CCA Texas Executive Board approved additional funding necessary to construct a new Game Warden’s cabin to be located in Baffin Bay. The total cost of the project is $82,850.00 and will be completed and fully furnished when transferred from the contractor. Hurricane Hanna destroyed the existing cabin in 2020, and since that time TPWD Law Enforcement coverage simply has not been as good in the area due to operating cost limitations associated with day-to-day trips to the area. The cabin provides easy access to the area for patrol purposes and allows the wardens to stay on site for extended periods to execute their enforcement duties.
An original request for construction was funded at the February 2023 State Board Meeting, and the supplemental cost was approved at the August 2023 meeting. The additional costs were due to legal liabilities which restricted the TPWD Wardens from constructing the cabin themselves, and therefore required a turnkey third party construction. CCA Texas believes strongly in supporting the TPWD Game Wardens in the daily task to protect Texas’s coastal resources. The organization looks forward to seeing the completion of the cabin and having a greater enforcement presence in the area on a regular basis.For more information about CCA Texas and what is going on, please visit www.ccatexas.org.