Good Stewardship Leads to Good Conservation

CCA Texas
Good Stewardship Leads to Good Conservation
As we inch closer to the second decade of the 21st century, it is more important than ever for each individual to be a good steward of our coastal resources. Saltwater stamps in Texas now number over 1,000,000 and this correlates to the greatest pressure ever placed on our Texas coastal fisheries and habitat. Opportunities abound for each individual person to do his part in ensuring the sustainability of these resources.

Texas is fortunate to have two individuals that have taken the stewardship task to the ultimate level. Capt. Billy Sandifer and Ronnie Luster are two individuals that had a vision to improve the habitat in the areas they loved to fish and they made it a personal mission to see that their vision be carried out.

Capt. Billy has spent many years and hours walking and fishing the beaches of Padre Island National Sea Shore. His understanding and respect for this area is second to none. Billy's vision is a beach void of society's trash and a beach returned to the pristine state of our forefathers. What began as a small gathering of concerned fishermen cleaning the beach has grown into an annual event that celebrates its 13th year in 2008.

Ronnie Luster has been a visitor and second home owner in Port O'Connor for over thirty years. His love of the bays and estuaries in and around Port O'Connor and Seadrift led him to approach TPWD Game Warden Rex Mayes and address the subject of the continually growing numbers of ghost crab traps. Ronnie saw these traps as never ending killers and knew something had to be done. Ronnie and Rex organized some of the local wardens and friends and set out, under guidelines of TPWD, to remove as many derelict traps as they could. This vision led to the current TPWD crab trap removal program that enters its 7th year in 2008. Over 25,000 derelict traps have been removed up and down the Texas coast in these seven years by hundreds of volunteers. Ronnie's vision and this program is the foundation for similar programs in Louisiana and other states on the gulf coast.

Capt. Billy and Ronnie are examples for all Texas fishermen. Their visions ultimately led to two of the most successful conservation programs in the state of Texas. CCA Texas fully supports these two projects and has been actively involved in several other projects in the state of Texas. These projects include: seagrass plantings; the Bahia Grande project; and help with the funding of studies for Cedar Bayou and the Port Mansfield channel to name a few. Each CCA member and fishermen in Texas has an opportunity to be a steward of the resources. Whether it is stopping during a trip to pick up trash, only keeping a few fish to eat instead keeping your limit every time, getting involved with your local CCA Texas chapter to help raise funds for vital conservation projects across the state or getting involved with any other conservation effort, you can be a steward of the resource as well. Stewardship efforts today will help guarantee the resource for future generations to enjoy.

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