CCA Texas volunteers and staff are busy moving forward in 2021. As the nation continues to deal with the COVID pandemic, businesses and people continue to adapt as needed to live their everyday life and maintain their businesses. CCA Texas is no different and continues to look for new ways to carry on the day to day business of the organization. By the time this issue hits the newsstands, banquets will have been held by Trinity Valley Chapter (Dayton) and San Bernard Chapter (East Bernard). March begins to start getting busy with events on the books for Sabine-Neches Chapter (Port Arthur), Helotes Chapter (Helotes), Aransas Bay Chapter (Rockport), and Port O’Connor Chapter (Port O’Connor). The larger CCA Texas events including Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin are all being pushed back to late summer. Please watch your calendars closely for updates as they come for your local chapter and chapters across the state.
As the chapters are getting busy, so are the staff and committees. The Management, Governmental Affairs, Finance & Budget, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Scholarship, STAR, and Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) committees are all busy wading into the new year.
The CCA Texas HTFT committee met recently to review projects completed in 2020 and those that are ongoing. To date, CCA Texas and Building Conservation Trust (BCT) have funded $8,349,666 for 43 projects and future habitat restoration and creation work. These funds are a direct result of the grass roots efforts of local chapters to raise the money through local banquets and the work with local partners to secure funds for this work. CCA Texas and BCT were recently awarded $75,000 from the Golden Pass LNG facility based in the Sabine Pass area. This contribution was specifically earmarked for the Sabine HI20 Nearshore reefing site. CCA Texas and Friends of Sabine Reefs are working to secure the remaining funds necessary to deploy over 540 culverts, donated by Forterra Pipe and Precast, as well as other materials of opportunity that have been secured. This phase of deployment into the Sabine HI20 area will place approximately 3,500 tons of material into the site. Additionally, another 150 pyramids will be deployed in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. The deployment of the 150 pyramids is being made possible by contributions of $100,000 from Sempra Energy, $30,000 from Cheniere Energy and $100,000 from BCT/CCA Texas. As 2021 evolves, CCA Texas and BCT look forward to continue its work to partner and fund habitat restoration and creation projects along the Texas coast.
Advocacy Update by Shane Bonnot
The 87th Legislative Session is currently underway and State Representative Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) will lead the House of Representatives as its newly elected speaker. Phelan, serving his fourth term for District 21, has proven himself an effective leader and broker in previous sessions, serving as Chairman of the Committee on State Affairs, Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, as a member on the Select Committee on Ports, Innovation and Infrastructure, and as member of the Calendars, Appropriations, and Elections Committees.
During the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Phelan was on the ground in his flood-stricken district, ensuring that aid was provided to his constituents and listening to their needs. In response, he sponsored a much-need relief package for mitigation projects that will help prepare the coast for future flood events. Phelan is a husband, father to four sons, avid angler and a CCA Texas Member.
Prior to each legislative session, committees submit interim reports for incoming members. This year, the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism of the 86th Legislature interim report provided implementation update and future recommendations for HB 1300 (oyster mariculture) and HB 2321 (increased oyster penalties). The charge to the committee was as follows: Monitor the implementation of the cultivated oyster mariculture program, the implementation of increased penalties related to the regulation of oyster harvesting, and the effectiveness of these state laws as related to the protection, conservation, and sustainability of oysters in Texas coastal waters. CCA Texas is keeping a close eye on legislative activity and will keep the membership abreast of any future action relating to the sustainability of the Texas oyster fishery.
Flounder Update by Shane Bonnot
With steadfast determination, CCA Texas and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) are working to turn the tide in the declining southern flounder populations. These efforts have focused on better management of the fishery and supporting TPWD stock enhancement programs. The new flounder hatchery building at Sea Center Texas (SCT) in Lake Jackson came on line in 2020, and the staff at SCT are beginning to see the results of the effort to bring this building to reality. CCA Texas contributed $325,000 to the construction and furnishing of this building and is excited to see the batches of flounder larvae that are now being raised, studied and grown out to harvest size for release back into Texas bays.
CCA members should take pride in knowing they have supported southern flounder enhancement efforts since the early 2000’s and all told have donated over $1 million to support southern flounder research and enhancement. Want to learn more about southern flounder? Check out the CCA Texas Website and search the “News” section for the Southern Flounder Information and Resources page. Click on the QR code that accompanies this update for a behind the scenes look at TPWDs efforts to raise southern flounder.
Over the past 15 years, CCA Texas has donated more than $1 million to support flounder research and stock enhancement projects:
• $740,000 to the University of Texas Marine Science Institute for facilities and equipment to support larvae research.
• $14,000 to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for a skiff to aid in flounder broodstock collection.
• $40,000 to the Sea Center Texas Hatchery in Lake Jackson for flounder larvae culture equipment.
• $325,000 to the Sea Center Texas Hatchery for a flounder culture larvae culture building.
Shane Bonnot, CCA Texas Advocacy Director, recently visited the facility and has provided a video tour with an update on flounder enhancement activities. Be sure to click on the QR code for CCA Texas and see what is going on at this new start of the art facility.
For more information about CCA Texas, be sure to visit www.ccatexas.org. You can also find us on Facebook at @CCATexas, Instagram at cca_texas, and Twitter at @CCA_Texas.