CCA Texas Pledges $1.5 Million to Habitat Restoration and Creation

John Blaha
CCA Texas Pledges $1.5 Million to Habitat Restoration and Creation
Volunteers placing oyster shell near Goose Island to create new substrate for oysters and habitat for fish and other species. Photo by Lisa Laskowski.

CCA Texas Executive and State Board approved a $1.5 million grant to CCA National's habitat program, Building Conservation Trust (BCT), at its annual Texas state board meeting in February.

This contribution provides the necessary initial funds to BCT as it moves forward in a three-year capital fundraising campaign. These funds will be dedicated to BCT's conservation mission for Texas-related projects over the next three years and provide important matching dollars as BCT seeks government grants for habitat restoration and creation projects.

"With the incredible generosity of CCA Texas, this is a very exciting time for our habitat program as we are poised to exponentially expand our capabilities," said Sean Stone, executive director of BCT. "Over the history of our program, every dollar from BCT has produced at least $3 in marine habitat creation and enhancement. As the campaign progresses we will be in an even better position to do some amazing things for marine resources."

The Building Conservation Trust was founded in 2010 as the national marine habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). BCT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to providing funding for local, state and national fisheries, habitat conservation and restoration projects. BCT has created a model for the successful collaboration of business, non-profit organizations and government agencies to revitalize critical habitat and establish a vibrant foundation for the marine ecosystem. BCT has partnered with CCA Texas on several projects to date that include Cedar Bayou/Vinson Slough Restoration, nearshore reefing, and oyster reef and marsh restoration projects.

"CCA Texas is extremely excited to be the anchor in the BCT capital campaign," commented Robby Byers, CCA Texas Executive Director. "As BCT uses CCA Texas's gift as leverage in securing more funds, this will allow CCA Texas to expand its efforts to put in place new coastal habitat projects along the entire Texas coast."

CCA Texas volunteers and staff work tirelessly to raise the necessary dollars for habitat restoration and creation, and this capital campaign helps to multiply and give back to those efforts. To date, CCA Texas has contributed in excess of $4.2 million dollars to habitat work to the Texas coast since the inception of the CCA Texas habitat program, Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow. CCA Texas volunteers and leadership look forward to continuing this effort that will help ensure that Texas has a healthy and bountiful coastal resource for current and future generations.

Oyster Restoration at the Grass Roots Level

The oyster recycling program "Sink Your Shucks" held an oyster bagging effort on April 2, 2016 at Goose Island State Park. The day began at 8:30 AM with 120 students from Corpus Christi ISD and other volunteers on hand to bag and place recycled oyster shells into the water. Over 1,000 5-gallon sized bags were filled by volunteers and then moved one by one and placed in the water in St. Charles Bay adjacent to Goose Island State Park fishing pier.

The Sink Your Shucks program was the first of its kind in Texas, gathering oyster shell from local restaurants and returning them to local waters, providing both substrate to form new reefs and habitat for fish, crabs and other organisms. This program was founded by the Harte Research Institute in 2009 by Dr. Jennifer Pollack, Assistant Professor in the Department of Life Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) and Dr. Paul Montagna, HRI's Endowed Chair for Ecosystems and Modeling at Harte Research Institute. For more information about the Sink Your Shucks Program, be sure to visit and or email Dr. Pollack at [email protected].

Sink Your Shucks will hold another event on Saturday, May 7 2016, at Goose Island State Park and encourages the community and students to come out and be a part of the this educational and restoration effort.

RememberYou have to be entered to win!
By CCA Texas STAR Tournament Staff

For those anglers who forget or procrastinate, thinking "It'll never happen to me or my kids," here's a story from Elgin resident, Nick Elliott that should convince you to get your 2016 CCA Texas STAR "fishing insurance" before wetting a line.

On the morning of June 13, 2015, Nick Elliott decided to run out and fish Port O'Connor's jetty walls. The final red Elliott caught to meet his limit that day was a healthy 23-incher that immediately went into the ice chest. Nick and his buddy fished a little longer, then decided they better count to make sure they weren't over their limit. As soon as Nick picked up the last fish, he saw it–CCA Texas 2015 STAR Tag #TA694!

Nick's elation to have landed a STAR tagged redfish changed instantly to deep dismay, realizing he had not registered for the tournament!

The bait shop where Nick usually launches offered instant STAR registration, but since they didn't have live shrimp that morning, Nick went to another shop down the road that had live shrimp. That was probably the biggest mistake of the weekend and everyone at the cleaning table let Nick know it. Even the game warden felt bad for him. Nick plans to mount his tagged redfish as a reminder to sign up every year before going fishing.

Sadly, Nick did not qualify to win a loaded Ford F-150 Texas Edition XLT Super Cab pulling a brand new 23' Haynie Big Foot rigged with Mercury 150L Pro XS OptiMax motor on a Coastline trailer at 2015 CCA Texas STAR Award Ceremony. Our sincere condolences, Nick. Better luck in 2016!