CCA Texas volunteers and staff have had a busy summer as we all continue moving through a different and challenging 2020. As CCA leadership in Texas continues to move along with a cautious approach in its everyday business, some Texas businesses continue to flourish and others are working hard to make the best of the situation. CCA Texas is no different, and with requirements put in place by the state, new approaches to critical fundraising are being explored daily by staff and volunteers.
Through the end of September, approximately 40 online auctions will have been held across the state. The auctions have been successful and have seen participation from individuals all across the state and throughout the USA. In addition, CCA Texas has held two Cast for the Coast events. Both of these events have been very successful, and a big part of those success are the unique packages that have been provided by board members, supporters and staff. These once in a lifetimes experiences have garnered a great response and CCA Texas is grateful for these wonderful donations. These types of trips give our members, supporters, and staff the opportunity to visit and talk conservation on a personal and relaxed level. A big THANK YOU goes out to each and every one of you! You are truly making a difference in the conservation of Texas’s coastal resources during a trying time. Be sure to keep an eye out for messages about our final Cast for the Coast to be held in November 2020.
Habitat restoration and creation projects continue to move forward. CCA Texas and Building Conservation Trust (BCT) projects continue through the contraction and construction processes. Current active projects include:
-Marsh grass planting with Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) at Egery Island in Copano Bay. This project should be completed by the time this issue hits the newsstands (provided salinity levels stay consistent).
-Galveston Bay Foundation Headquarters living shoreline construction. This project will provide not only habitat, but great community outreach opportunities with the Galveston Bay Foundation.
-St. Charles Bay Big Tree Unit shoreline protection and oyster restoration with Harte Research Institute, and other funders including Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, NOAA, and Lone Star Beer, as part of the continuing Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Construction is currently underway and should be completed by mid-September.
-Dollar Bay shoreline protection and marsh restoration ongoing in the contracting process with Galveston Bay Foundation.
-Sabine Lake Deep Reef TPWD oyster restoration is currently on hold as crews work to get mobilized once again after Hurricane Laura.
-Galveston Big Man, Kate’s Reef, and Sabine HI20 Nearshore Reefing Projects continue to move along in the contracting and build process prior to deployment. Contracts will have been awarded in mid-September.
Texas Parks and Wildlife and conservation groups are asking the tens of thousands of people who boat in Texas coastal waters every year to become part of the solution to conserve diminishing habitats. Habitat loss and degradation has been documented for years as a very real problem in coastal bays. The call for conservation comes as people look for a safe outdoor activity during the ongoing pandemic, when choosing to fish or boat in the bays is a popular option.
Compared to last year, the total Texas resident fishing license sales have risen 27.2%, as of the end of June. This increased activity on the Gulf coast means protecting coastal resources has never been more vital. In response to this, a relatively new organization focusing on angler etiquette and behavior called Flatsworthy has emerged. The group’s three tenets are: Respect Fellow Anglers – Respect the Resource – Respect the Law. CCA Texas recently released a podcast, with Flatsworthy president, Chuck Naiser, discussing the importance of angler education, boater safety, mutual respect and habitat loss. Check out Episode 39 of the Coastal Advocacy Adventures Podcast and visit Flatsworthy.com to learn how you can help. Also be on the lookout for more exciting content coming from Flatsworthy and CCA Texas.
On the advocacy front, the CCA Texas Advocacy Team continues to stay busy, and oyster restoration and management continues on the forefront of CCA Texas’s Advocacy Team’s work. In early August, TPWD announced that the Texas Cultivated Oyster Mariculture Program is now active. Under the leadership of CCA Texas Advocacy Director, Shane Bonnot, CCA Texas played key role in developing this plan that holds great promise for future oyster management plans in Texas. Texas was the last coastal state to have a mariculture plan put in place, and this is truly a great milestone. Information is available at:
Don’t forget, new regulations are now in place for southern flounder in Texas. The new minimum length for retaining flounder is 15 inches, effective September 01, 2020. Also, if you haven’t already done so, you need to renew your Texas fishing and hunting licenses before you head out to the water or field.
CCA Texas membership, supporters and staff remain committed to the health of Texas coastal resources. In these trying times, interest in fishing and the outdoors has seemed to grow to all-time highs. Boat and tackle sales are as high and higher than they have ever been, as well as hunting gear. CCA Texas STAR Tournament is a great indicator of the interest in fishing and this year has set a record with participation surpassing 58,600 angler registrations. With the conclusion of the 2020 CCA Texas STAR Tournament, this annual event will have awarded scholarships valued at $7.15 million to youth and teen participants. Fishing is not only a cherished past time of many families, but can be a life changing event for many as well.CCA Texas leadership, local committees, and staff, thank you and every one of our members and supporters for helping make CCA Texas the greatest conservation group of its kind. For more information about CCA Texas, please visit www.ccatexas.org.