CCA Texas Commitment to Nearshore Reefing Surpasses $1.5 Million

John Blaha
CCA Texas Commitment to Nearshore Reefing Surpasses $1.5 Million
Materials such as concrete pipe and cinder block provide excellent low-profile structure within reefing sites. Photo by Lisa Laskowski.

CCA Texas and Building Conservation Trust (BCT) recently approved CCA Texas’s 2018 Habitat Plan and with that approval, CCA Texas and BCT have now committed $1.565 million to nearshore reefing along the Texas coast.This commitment is cemented by continued active fundraising to provide necessary funds for the deployment of more materials into current and future permitted sites along the Texas coast.

CCA Texas and BCT are and have been active partners in nine nearshore projects along the Texas coast in the last eight years.These projects include: Sabine HI20 Reef; Galveston Big Man Reef; Galveston Kate’s Reef; Freeport Vancouver; Matagorda; Port O’Connor Keeping It Wild; Corpus Christi / Packery Channel; Port Mansfield; and Rio Grande Valley Reef.

Freeport’s Vancouver nearshore project was the first site CCA Texas was involved in.CCA Texas contributed $50,000 to the project and secured over 100 concrete culverts and catch basins of different sizes through donations from Old Castle Precast in Houston.In addition, 24 granite and limestone blocks ranging in weights from 2 to 16 tons were also deployed.Since the material deployments by CCA Texas in August of 2010, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has deployed an additional 800 pyramids into the site.In the 2018 Habitat planning meeting, CCA Texas and BCT recently funded an additional $10,000 to this nearshore reefing area.These dollars will be used to deploy between 40 and 50 reefing pyramids that have been donated by Atlantis Marine Habitats.This work is expected to be completed by the end of April 2018.

As CCA Texas’s Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) habitat initiative began to grow, one of the HTFT committee’s goals was to see a permitted nearshore reefing site out of every Texas port.Some sites were already permitted by TPWD, and others were to still come.CCA Texas approached TPWD about permitting an area out of Port O’Connor and committed the funds to pay for the permitting process.As the permit process was progressing, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s Keeping it Wild Campaign for Texas picked the Port O’Connor nearshore site as one of its project areas.Through the efforts of the TPWD Foundation, CCA, and BCT, $1.0 million were raised to deploy 500 reefing pyramids into the site in early 2017.In addition, Shell Oil contributed the funds to deploy an additional 100 reefing pyramids within the site.CCA Texas and BCT have contributed $700,000 to the Port O’Connor Reefing Site

The Corpus Christi/Packery Channel nearshore site began receiving materials in the spring of 2013 and over 100 culverts and catch basins, and 470 reefing pyramids were deployed.In October 2015, the 155 foot freighter Kinta was sunk within the site, providing more diverse marine life habitat and recreational diving and fishing opportunities.This project exhibits the power of community support and partnerships through the efforts of TPWD, Saltwater Enhancement Association and CCA Texas.

The Lower Texas coast nearshore waters have benefited from the efforts of TPWD, CCA Texas, BCT, Friends of RGV Reef (FRGVR) and others with multiple deployments in the Port Mansfield and Rio Grande Valley Reef out of South Padre Island.CCA Texas and TPWD teamed up to deploy over 4,000 culverts into the Port Mansfield site.These culverts were donated by Alamo Concrete.These culverts provided immediate and close fishing opportunities for recreational anglers out of Port Mansfield and continue to provide angling opportunities.

The Rio Grande Valley site grew from a dream of local recreational anglers Bob and Gary Glick to a 1,600-acre permitted reefing site.This site is the largest ever permitted in the state of Texas and FRGVR is setting the bar high in effort and the amount of materials that have been deployed into the site.To date 50 plus reefing pyramids, over 87,000 cinder blocks, low relief concrete rubble, and a shrimp boat and tug boat have been deployed into this reefing site.In 2018, 7,000 tons of concrete railroad ties will be deployed creating a complex pile of habitat for marine species of all types.CCA Texas and BCT have now contributed $405,000 to this reefing site.FRGVR has laid the foundation of future nearshore reef habitat for the entire Texas coast by implementing varied forms of small, medium and high relief materials that ultimately create at life cycle reef for all age classes of fish.

The Upper Texas coast nearshore waters will begin seeing the benefits of the TPWD Nearshore Reefing Program in 2018.CCA Texas and BCT have committed $200,000 to the Sabine HI20 nearshore site and $250,000 to Galveston’s Big Man and Kate’s Reef sites.Efforts are underway to deploy 200 granite and limestone blocks, and one barge into the Sabine HI20 site in spring of 2018.Several thousand tons of concrete railroad ties will be deployed into the Big Man and Kate’s Reef sites in the summer of 2018.BCT recently met with industry leaders in the Golden Triangle to garner further support for nearshore reefing projects in the area.Partnerships are critical to make these habitat projects reality, and CCA Texas and BCT are leading the way to provide recreational angling opportunities along the entire Texas coast.

For more information about CCA Texas’s and BCT habitat efforts along the Texas coast, please contact John Blaha, CCA Texas Director of Habitat, at [email protected] or Sean Stone, Building Conservation Trust Executive Director, at [email protected].Both may also be reached at (713) 626-4222.

CCA Texas Upcoming Events:

May 3rd – Ft. Worth and San Antonio Banquets
May 4th – Texas A&M Banquet
May 10th – Austin, Home Builders and West Houston Banquets
May 11th – Mainland Banquet
May 17th – Katy Banquet
May 18th – Colorado Valley Banquet and Babes on the Bay Captains Meeting
May 19th – Babes on the Bay and the 7th Annual CCA Concert for Conservation
May 24th – Golden Triangle and Laredo Banquets
May 31st – Greater Woodlands