Cedar Bayou, which runs from the Gulf to Mesquite Bay is again open along the Texas middle coast. Up until 1979 Cedar Bayou allowed fish, crabs and shrimp to pass from Mesquite Bay into the Gulf of Mexico. The Bayou was legendary as a hotspot to catch trout, redfish and flounder. After the mega oil spill in the Bay of Campeche in 1979 the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers sealed the Gulf side to protect Mesquite and other bays in the area Then a tropical storm hit the area and naturally opened the Bayou. Later the Bayou sealed itself again. “This is the third time it has been dredged by the Corp,” said Christopher Mace, TPWD system leader for Aransas Bay.
Fish are already using the pass. “In sampling conducted by the Coastal Conservation Association migratory fish larvae have been detected coming through the pass and into Mesquite Bay.”
Mace’s sampling team also picked up small red drum juveniles this week that are quite likely coming through the pass into Mesquite Bay.
“Anywhere you have moving water you are going to have moving bait, moving plankton, and that tends to attract predatory fish. Water pouring in and draining out attracts predatory fish. Cedar Bayou historically, when open, was well known for that. You are going to see more fish concentrated in that area.
Mesquite Bay is going to benefit big time. “We expect to see an increase in all of the migratory critters, the estuarine species that need access to the Gulf, like blue crab, native shrimp, red drum larvae,…all of those critters that spawn in the Gulf and then come back into the bays. We expect to see increases. We are not going to get the large swings in salinity, the very high salinities we have had in the bay, which may help the oyster reefs, the salt marsh, maybe sea grass in the area, all good news for the ecosystem.”