2020…truly a year of challenge to us all. CCA Texas members, volunteers and staff are all facing times and challenges that we have never faced before. Through it all, the energy and commitment to the organization and Texas’s coastal resources remains as strong as ever. CCA Texas held its first ever “Cast for the Coast” virtual banquet on July 9, 2020. The participation by CCA Texas members and many from other states made this event a great success. Longtime volunteers and members stepped up to offer some amazing trips that prompted spirited bidding throughout the night. CCA Texas offers its deepest gratitude to everyone that participated in this event as a donor or buyer. With this success, CCA Texas is planning two more “Cast for the Coast” events. The first will be held on Wednesday, September 2, and then another later in the fall.
While our local chapter volunteers and staff continue to work around the COVID-19 issues, habitat work continues as well. Project updates:
- Rio Grande Valley Nearshore Reef – The last deployments of reefing materials were completed March 19, 2020. Concrete railroad ties and broken concrete are being deployed in low patch relief areas of the “CCA Texas" corner. The latest effort deployed 10,000 tons of materials in the 400 acre nursery area called the CCA Nursery. This deployment will consist of 54 low-relief durable nursery reef patches. Each patch is made up with 25 tons of concrete railroad ties, 25 tons of broken concrete and 6 pallets (420 blocks) of cinderblocks. In addition, there will be 16 patch reefs made up of 250 tons of concrete railroad ties each in a line north of the reef to provide protection to the nursery reef. Capping it all off will be another 1,500 tons of material placed in the SE corner of the reef site, known as the CCA Corner.
- Corpus Christi MU775 Reef Site (Packery Channel) – 800 tons of durable nursery patch reefs were deployed within the MU775 reef site. CCA Texas/BCT contributions paid for 400 tons and Friends of RGV Reef donated 400 tons. This was completed in March 2020 as part of the last Rio Grande Valley Nearshore Reef project.
- Sabine Pass Nearshore Reef – HTFT / BCT have committed $230,000 to the Sabine HI20 site. This will deploy 150 pyramids into the site and be a part of the much larger TPWD project in the Galveston Big Man and Kate’s Reef sites. The $230,000 in funding comes from: CCA Texas/BCT - $100,000; Sempra Energy - $100,000; and Cheniere Energy - $30,000. TPWD currently has the project out for bid and expects to award it in August 2020 and will be completed by summer of 2021.
CCA Texas and BCT are currently working with Forterra Pipe and Precast and have secured 543 pieces of off-spec concrete pipe for reefing materials. The current work includes securing the funding for transportation, offloading and a storage site. BCT recently secured a $50,000 contribution form a local industry partner that is earmarked specifically for the HI20 reef. These funds will go along with other support from CCA Texas BCT partners to deploy the materials in the near future. If you are in the local area and would like to contribute to this project, please reach out to John Blaha – [email protected], or Patrick Murray – [email protected].
- Big Man / Kate’s Reef Site – CCA Texas, BCT and Shell Oil Company are providing $329,000 in funding for reefing efforts in the Galveston Big Man and Kate’s Reef areas that will provide an additional 155 pyramids and 75 additional low relief modules. This additional funding will supplement a $1.5 million effort by TPWD that will deploy 845 pyramids and 180 low relief modules in these two sites. TPWD currently has the project out for bid and expects to award it in August 2020 and will be completed by summer of 2021.
- Dagger Island Shoreline Protection and Marsh Restoration – CCA Texas / BCT have partnered with Ducks Unlimited to create critical shoreline protection and marsh restoration along Dagger Island in Redfish Bay. This project will enhance 557 acres of continuous seagrass beds, intertidal wetlands and coastal islands in the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area through the use of a 1/2-mile breakwater and beneficial-use materials. The construction was completed in July. Funding for this project is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, CCA Texas, BCT and Ducks Unlimited.
- Oyster Restoration in Sabine Lake – HTFT / BCT have funded $200,000 to this project which will help restore historical oyster beds within Sabine Lake. This funding is being paired with $500,000 in Harvey Relief funds and is scheduled for construction in late spring to take advantage of the natural oyster spat release. Construction was expected to begin by the end of July with completion in August.
- Marsh Restoration Egery Island – This is a currently ongoing project with Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries that has received GLO leases to begin marsh grass plantings. This planting effort will take place in the early fall once tides and salinity levels have begun to drop. The success of the culvert replacements in FM 136 are already seeing results with more water flow, normal salinity levels and growth of some marsh grasses.
- Dollar Bay Shoreline Protection and Marsh Restoration – HTFT / BCT provided $50,000 to this effort from funds through Shell Oil Company. This project is ready for construction and is currently delayed due to a USACE project. USACE project should be completed by the end of August and Galveston Bay Foundation will then proceed with their procurement process.
- Galveston Bay Foundation Headquarters Living Shoreline Restoration - HTFT / BCT provided $50,000 to this effort from funds through Shell Oil Company. This project will restore and create a living shoreline of habitat adjacent to the new Galveston Bay Foundation Headquarters. This project will not only restore and create habitat, but provide excellent community outreach for surrounding community students to better understand the local marine ecosystems. Project work and construction is expected to begin by the end of July and completed by the end of August per update from Galveston Bay Foundation.