Partnership with Several Conservation Groups will Benefit over $4 Million in Coastal Habitat

Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) and Building Conservation Trust (BCT), the national habitat program of CCA, have committed to an investment of $530,000 towards marine habitat work along the Texas coast. Through several dedicated partnerships, this will equate to $4.28 million in coastal habitat.

“It has been exciting to watch the natural partnership between CCA Texas and BCT grow,” said John Blaha, director of CCA Texas’s Habitat Program, Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT). “We are accomplishing so much in 2017 by working together, and this relationship will continue to produce great work.”

BCT and CCA Texas are providing $70,000 in funding towards the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program Egery Island Project. The funds for the $1.2 million permitted project will enable up to seven acres of marsh to be planted off of Copano Bay.

Since inception, CCA Texas and BCT have supported the Rio Grande Valley Reef (RGV Reef) just north of the Brownsville Jetties. This project is led by the Friends of RGV Reef and will cover 1,650 acres, making it the largest permitted nearshore site in Texas. BCT and CCA Texas have previously invested $200,000 into the RGV Reef, and have contributed an additional $55,000 in 2017.

The Harte Research Institute (HRI), a longtime partner of CCA Texas and BCT, is conducting two scientific studies this year that the pair is supporting. The first is a study on the Port O’Connor “Keeping it Wild” Reef, which will provide an opportunity to substantially advance the science of artificial reef creation and show the value of this type of restoration work. The second is an Oyster Restoration Site Locator and Identification Mapping study, which will create a restoration tool for identifying suitable sites for restoration efforts. CCA Texas and BCT have invested $50,000 and $120,000 in these studies, respectively, in 2017.

Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) is also no stranger to the CCA Texas/BCT partnership. In 2017, they are receiving $150,000 from CCA Texas and BCT towards the Moses Lake Shoreline Protection project, which will provide shoreline erosion protection for 1.3 miles of shoreline and restore up to 10 acres of intertidal marsh complex within Moses Lake, as well as $85,000 towards a grass planting event at Bird Island Cove. BCT and CCA Texas have provided previous support to the Bird Island Cove Marsh Restoration project, which will directly benefit approximately 114 acres of existing coastal wetlands in the Bird Island Cove area.

“The projects receiving our investments in 2017 reflect BCT and CCA Texas’s shared mission, cover a diversity of marine conservation goals and are spread along the state coast,” said Sean Stone, executive director of BCT. “They will restore degraded habitats, create new habitats, advance the science of habitat restoration and conservation, and educate coastal communities on the value of conservation.”

Through a highly successful matching funds program, BCT has garnered over $9 million towards more than 37 coastal projects in the United States. In 2016, CCA Texas provided funds of $1.8 million to BCT, which they are leveraging to bring in more funds. The Building Conservation Trust has a target of investing over $3.5 million towards Texas marine habitat projects by the year 2021, equating to $10 million in projects with similar partner organizations.

“CCA Texas and BCT are providing support to projects all along the Texas Gulf Coast,” said Robby Byers, executive director of CCA Texas. “We are proud to partner with all of these like-minded marine conservation organizations, continue to build upon valuable relationships and be a part of the important habitat work they do.”