CCA Texas Steps Up

Word of this development is traveling fast but if you haven't heard; CCA Texas dropped a long-awaited bomb a few weeks ago with their pledge of $500,000 to assist in the opening of Cedar Bayou and Vincent's Slough. I say long-awaited because proponents of opening this historic pass have been praying for more than a decade that somebody - some organization or agency - would step up and grab this bull by the horns.

Cedar Bayou is located between Matagorda and San Jose Islands on the middle coast, and is believed by many to be a vital migration corridor to species that spawn in the Gulf, move into the bays as larvae, and then live to adulthood in the nearby Guadalupe estuary of Aransas and San Antonio Bays.

Down through time, the coming and going of Cedar Bayou and its tributary, Vincent's Slough, are nothing new if you dig into Texas Mid-Coast history. Some records indicate Cedar Bayou silting shut as early as 1913 and being blasted open again by a powerful tropical storm in 1915.

Texas Parks and Wildlife made four attempts over a period of nearly sixty years to keep this pass flowing, dredging it in 1939, 1959, 1987 and 1995. The event that perhaps stands out most boldly in the history of Cedar Bayou is that is was bulldozed shut in 1979 in the wake of the famous Ixtoc oil spill an event similar to the more recent BP Deepwater Horizon rig disaster and spill. Given the location of the runaway Ixtoc-10 well and prevailing currents, it appeared the plume of crude would wash up on Matagorda and San Jose Islands and be swept into local bays. Lots of folks claim Cedar Bayou was never restored correctly during the 1987 and 1995 dredging as these did not include re-establishing the connection between Cedar Bayou and Vincent's Slough.

If and when the intervention and financial assistance of CCA Texas can ever help bring about another dredging project, the question of the Ixtoc closure will finally wash away as the new permit sought by the Aransas County Commissioners and granted by the Corps of Engineers last August includes re-establishing the connection between the Bayou and Vincent's.

Aransas County Judge C.H. Mills says the $500,000 pledge from CCA is a great start and will be used to fund the final engineering and permitting phases of the project. Still, the dredging work itself will likely run into the neighborhood of $6,000,000; the source of which has yet to be identified. CCA has offered to partner with Aransas County officials in providing additional funds to secure the services of professional fund raisers who specialize in assisting municipalities in such matters.

Cedar Bayou is not flowing yet but thanks to the dedicated members and volunteers of CCA Texas it is closer right now than it has been in a very long time. Donations to this project can be made by contacting Aransas County Commissioners Court Judge C.H. Mills. If you are not already a member of CCA Texas, I cannot think of a better reason or time to join the team and put your hard-earned Texas dollars to work restoring and conserving Texas coastal resources.