Coastal Conservation Association Texas recently announced support for the creation of a nearshore reefing site out of Port O’Connor as the next step in its goal to create a vibrant reef system in state offshore waters.
A key element in this overall reefing plan is having designated areas out of every major port on the Texas coast to place artificial reefs. CCA Texas’ Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow Program (HTFT) has funded a $100,000 joint effort with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to create a new nearshore reefing site.
“Creating a new site off Port O’Connor will allow us to expand Gulf reefing opportunities for anglers along all parts of the coast,” said John Blaha, CCA Texas HTFT Director.
“The TPWD Artificial Program appreciates this opportunity to work with CCA Texas to develop a nearshore reef off Port O’Connor,” said Dale Shively, TPWD Artificial Reef Program Director. “This represents another joint reefing project between TPWD and CCA, which will provide much needed marine habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The cost to permit a 160 acre site is $100,000 which includes all necessary paperwork, archeological and site surveys, lease and USACE permit. CCA Texas has committed to fully funding this initial step in creating a new reefing site. After this initial phase has been completed, CCA Texas’ HTFT program will aid in the continuation of the reefing project.
“Once permitted,” said Blaha, “HTFT will partner with TPWD to secure suitable materials for the site and secure necessary dollars for deployment.”
CCA has a history of supporting similar habitat creation and enhancement projects, having contributed millions of dollars to reefing and marsh restoration projects throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
“CCA Texas’ Habitat program is focused on putting more structure offshore in state waters to create essential habitat for marine life, as well as create more fishing opportunities for recreational anglers,” said Robby Byers, Executive Director, CCA Texas. “With the amount of offshore oil rig structures being removed, it is important to try and replace some of that critical habitat. These artificial reefs will hopefully replenish some of those lost structures.”
The permitting process for the new Port O’Connor nearshore reefing site is slated for completion in TPWD’s fiscal year 2014.