AUSTIN — Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, today announced grants for 16 projects worth $1.7 million to protect and preserve the Texas coast.
"These projects will get a lot of bang for the buck, restoring vital marshlands, improving public access to the beach and even rebuilding oyster beds with recycled shells, just to name a few of the good things they're going to accomplish," Patterson said.
The grant funding was approved Monday by the Coastal Coordination Council, which oversees Texas' Coastal Management Program. The 16 projects selected are:
The city of Corpus Christi will develop a restoration and monitoring plan to begin implementation of on-the-ground restoration activities within the preserve. Project activities will also include the development and implementation of a public outreach/education program to interpret the restoration effort. $100,000
Armand Bayou Nature Center will carry out The Prairie Rising project, which includes the use of prescribed fire, prescribed mowing and invasive species control via ground-based herbicide application. Opportunities to learn about aspects of prairie management will be provided to volunteers during their work at Armand Bayou Nature Center. $96,419
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program will initiate dredge-and-fill operations (in accordance with its USACE permit) that will create another 15+ acres of marsh complex (with a high percentage of planting area) within the 80-acre containment cell. $399,000
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program will support the development of a San Antonio Bay Watershed Protection Plan. Specifically, funding will be used to develop plan components (subplans or chapters) for two often interrelated subject areas - habitat conservation/restoration and public access to coastal resources. $100,000
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program will design and install a freshwater inflow management structure upstream from a discharge pipeline and implement earth-moving activities as needed to maximize the retention of freshwater inflows in the Nueces Delta. $210,000
The city of Baytown will improve shoreline access, benefit and enhance public utilization, and aid ecotourism development. Specifically, the project entails the removal of chemically treated, submerged and partially submerged pilings from derelict drilling rigs, defunct derrick platforms, and damaged service docks and piers from Tabbs Bay. $81,000
Aransas County will develop Upper Tule Creek West as a "living lab." It will include trails, educational kiosks, timber observation blinds and interpretive areas with educational signage. A bridge being constructed on the city's hike and bike trail adjacent to the new stream will make it easily accessible to students and teachers. $100,000
Cameron County Drainage District #1 will construct a parking area, trail and viewing platforms and install educational signage as part of a storm water retention and biofiltration project to mitigate nonpoint source pollution, protect coastal resources, and provide wetland habitats and educational opportunities. $100,000
Armand Bayou Nature Center will implement Phase IV of the Armand Bayou Watershed Plan. The implementation project will focus on three strategic themes that have been consistent throughout the process: (1) "Continue Strong Leadership" to maintain collaborative stakeholder processes that guide and implement watershed initiatives; (2) "Enhance community commitment" to increase awareness and involvement for greater stewardship, especially for water quality; and (3) "Conserve High Priority Land in the Watershed" to protect and restore valuable habitat, for wildlife, human enjoyment, flood management, and water quality protection. $58,985
The Texas General Land Office will develop a new outreach campaign to help increase public awareness of the threat caused by marine debris on the Texas coast, and to spur volunteer participation in the program's coastwide cleanup efforts. $76,647
Galveston Bay Foundation will continue its marketing campaign for boaters and marinas. The campaign emphasizes (1) environmental harm caused by raw sewage and (2) how boaters can properly dispose of their waste. $31,066
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will initiate a standard sanitary survey program, currently lacking in Texas, to characterize and categorize Texas beaches, assess potential sources of pollution and predict water quality based on existing data. $99,144
The University of Texas - Bureau of Economic Geology will continue implementing "The Texas High School Coastal Monitoring Program," which engages high school students, teachers and scientists to work together to gain a better understanding of dune and beach dynamics on the Texas coast. Students and teachers will learn how to measure topography, map the vegetation line and shoreline, and observe weather and wave conditions. $81,716
The University of Texas at Austin - LBJ School of Public Affairs will: (1) protect human health by ensuring clean water for consumption, irrigation, and safe recreation; (2) encourage the restoration and protection of riparian, coastal marsh and wetland areas, improving water quality and natural flood protection; (3) improve the effectiveness and efficiency of water resource management and pollution control; and (4) encourage sustainable economic growth. $90,160
Texas A&M University at Galveston will develop and conduct workshops across the Texas coast to train personnel required by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to monitor sea turtle nesting activity concurrent to on-beach projects during the nesting season. $19,216
The Coastal Coordination Council sets goals and policies to guide all entities regulating or managing natural resources along the Texas coast. The members of the Coastal Coordination Council are: the commissioner of the General Land Office, the chair of the Parks and Wildlife Commission, the chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a member of the Railroad Commission of Texas, the chair of the Texas Water Development Board, the chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, a member of the State Soil and Water Conservation Board, the director of the Texas A&M University Sea Grant Program and four gubernatorial appointees. The gubernatorial appointees are a local elected official who lives along the coast, an owner of a business located on the coast who lives on the coast, a resident from the coast and a representative of agriculture.
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