CCA Texas 2010 Year in Review

Coastal Conservation Association
CCA Texas 2010 Year in Review
CCA Texas entered 2010 with guarded optimism and, like many other non-profit organizations and businesses in general, a watchful eye on the economy. A strong effort by dedicated local chapters and volunteers, communities and supporters helped CCA Texas make 2010 another successful year for the organization. Chapter boards and CCA Texas staff worked tirelessly to find areas where the organization could provide the same great local banquets and at the same time cut unnecessary expenses and frills. This effort, both locally and at the CCA Texas office, proved to be the right medicine for 2010. While some chapters operated at 2009 levels, some had a down year and others set new banquet records for both attendance and money raised for the conservation of Texas's coastal resources.

CCA Texas' Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) initiative continued to move forward in its mission to enhance and restore the coastal marine habitat of Texas. Projects that have been on the table were completed, new projects were approved and long standing projects such as the crab trap cleanup were continued. CCA Texas volunteers once again heeded the call of duty and participated in the 9th Annual Texas Abandoned Crap Trap Removal program. Volunteers up and down the entire Texas coast turned out to once again remove old and derelict traps left in the bays, and at the end of the day many gathered to eat and swap fishing stories of the present and past year.

CCA Texas volunteers participated in a marsh grass planting day at the Goose Island Marsh restoration project in the fall of 2009. In January of 2010, CCA Texas and Texas Parks Wildlife Department (TPWD) contracted Belaire Environmental to professionally plant the remaining marsh mounds in phase one of this project. CCA Texas contributed $25,000 to this phase and facilitated the volunteer day. In August, CCA Texas approved an additional amount of $25,000 to fund Phase II of this project. $20,000 of these funds was secured from a private foundation in Austin, Texas and $5,000 was secured from H-E-B. These funds will be used to plant the last twelve acres of marsh of this project. Once completed, CCA Texas will have provided the necessary funding to plant all marsh mounds in the twenty-four acre restoration project. Another volunteer planting day is scheduled for the spring of 2011, so please watch the CCA Texas calendar and your email for notifications.

CCA Texas/HTFT contributed $23,000 to the 160 acre Nueces Bay marsh restoration project, lead by Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP). This project is currently in the construction phase of work and will eventually restore approximately 160 acres of lost marsh along the Portland Causeway. CCA Texas has contributed $10,000, and through the efforts of the HTFT initiative, has secured another $10,000 from the Fish America Foundation and $3,000 from West Marine's Marine Conservation Grant process. This contribution will go directly to the planting of marsh grasses in Phase I of the project and will have been completed by the end of November 2010. At the time of writing this article, a joint volunteer grass planting day is being planned by CCA Texas and CBBEP.

On the Upper Texas coast, $20,000 in funding was approved for the Snake Island Cove Habitat and Seagrass Protection Project lead by the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF). These funds will go directly to Phase II of the project which is extending the existing 4,100 feet of geotextile tube breakwater by 1,000 feet. This project once fully completed will create 75 acres of protected and calm shallow water habitat and protect 200 acres of existing estuarine intertidal marsh.

CCA Texas and TPWD deployed in excess of 250 tons of materials at the nearshore Vancouver reefing site off of the coast of Freeport, Texas. The first of three major nearshore reefing projects, this reef site is located within Texas state waters and this joint effort is the single largest deployment to the site to date. CCA Texas/HTFT was able to secure partnerships with Dorsett Brothers Concrete, who provided storage and docking facilities; Old Castle Pre-Cast, who provided one-hundred-fifteen concrete catch basins for reefing material; Texas A&M Galveston, who provided 23 granite blocks ranging in size from 2.5 to 13 tons; and helped arrange local transportation of materials as well as provided $50,000 in funding to the project. This project will be followed by projects in Port Mansfield and Matagorda. Materials are currently being staged in Port Mansfield for deployment. This material, concrete culverts, is being provided by Alamo Concrete Products and once all material is on hand, will be deployed with a target date of spring 2011. CCA Texas has committed $50,000 to this project. The new Matagorda project is currently waiting for permitting by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Once permitted, reefing will begin in this new site. With $35,000 committed to the Matagorda site, CCA Texas will have a total commitment to date of $135,000 to nearshore reefing in Texas waters.

CCA Texas has partnered with many like organizations in habitat projects. One of the most recent and newest partners is Texas Ducks Unlimited. CCA Texas recently contributed $50,000 in funds to the shoreline stabilization project at the J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area in Jefferson County. These funds include $30,000 from a private foundation in Austin and $5,000 from the DuPont Foundation. This project will restore up to 3,000 acres of freshwater and coastal wetlands. These CCA Texas funds will go directly to the construction of a 2,500 linear-foot rock breakwater. This breakwater will protect critical marshes that are a vital nursery grounds for many fishery species important to commercial and recreational fisheries.

The Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought the future of coastal habitat to the forefront of all anglers' minds. CCA, and in particular CCA Louisiana, was at the forefront of this tragic event. CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson was invited to testify before the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife on the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. His testimony spoke of the loses and closures following the spill and the effects they had on the local economies, people and ultimately the richness of the Gulf coast ecosystems. In closing Mr. Cresson spoke of the immediate needs for habitat creation and restoration in the areas impacted and the need for a state of the art hatchery and research facility to help as the Gulf coast recovers.

In closing, CCA Texas is thankful for a successful year in 2010. This success would not be possible without the dedicated support and tireless energy of some of the finest volunteers in the state of Texas. CCA Texas leadership and staff wish all of our members, volunteers and supporters a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year in 2011.