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Bahia Grande Dedication Celebration and Award Ceremony Held at Laguna Atascosa NWR
Southwest Region, June 22, 2007
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Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bahia Grande Event. (Stacy Sanchez, USFWS, 06/22/07, Bahia Grande Unit, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas)
Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bahia Grande Event. (Stacy Sanchez, USFWS, 06/22/07, Bahia Grande Unit, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas) - Photo Credit: n/a

A wetlands dedication and awards ceremony event was held at the Bahia Grande Unit of the Laguna Atascosa NWR on June 22, 2007.  The event recognized the more than 75 partners that have made the restoration of the 10,000-acre South Texas estuary a possibility.  Two national awards were presented at the ceremony.  Ocean Trust, a national marine conservation foundation, received the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "National Wetlands Conservation Award".  The award was accepted by Thor Lassen, President of Ocean Trust.  The Bahia Grande Restoration Team, a community based partnership of  federal, state, and local governments and organizations, received the prestigious "Coastal America Partnership Award" from the executive office of the White House for it's outstanding efforts to restore and protect the coastal environment.  Also receiving recognition with a Coastal America Partnership Award were more than 100 other organizations, groups, municipalities, educational institutions, and individuals that contributed to the restoration project (see attached list).  The event also dedicated three newly constructed channels, which restored an additional 3,000 acres of wetlands, within the wetland system.  These channels were dedicated with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting performed by the young members of Cub Scout Pack 74 of Brownsville, Texas.  Between 150 to 200 people attended the event.

Groups and individuals receiving Coastal America Partnership award recognition were as follows: Cameron County Bahia Grande Restoration Committee; Cameron County Judge and Commissioners Court; Cameron County Parks and Recreation Department; Cameron County Sheriff's Department; Port Isabel-San Benito Navigation District; Brownsville Navigation District; Texas Department of Transportation; Texas General Land Office;
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz; Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge; The Conservation Fund; Coastal Conservation Association - Texas Chapter; Gulf of Mexico Program, Environmental Protection Agency; Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA; Ocean Trust; Marco Sales, Inc.; Gulf of Mexico Foundation; Shell Marine Habitat Program National Fish & Wildlife Foundation; NOAA Restoration Center, Southeast Regional; Texas Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership; Texas Coastal Program - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College; The Garcia Dougherty Families; The Yturria Family; 3M Company; Ambiotec Civil Engineering Group: American Electric Power – Texas; Ben F. Vaughan; Betta Thomas; Billy & Claudette Thomas; Brownsville-Port Isabel Shrimp Producers Association; Bruce B. Baxter, III; Cameron County Commissioner, Precinct 1; Cameron County Commissioner, Precinct 3; Cameron County Constables Office, Precinct 1; Cameron County Constables Office, Precinct 2; Cameron County Irrigation District No. 2; Cecilia G. & Donald J. Schulz; City of Port Isabel, Texas; CRRC Brownsville; Ducks Unlimited; Episcopal Day School of Brownsville; ESCO Marine, Inc.; Father Stephen Tarlton Dougherty; Fausto Yturria, Jr.; Foremost Paving Company; Frances Carr Tapp; Frank Daniel Yturria; Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge; Garmon Enterprises; Genevieve Tarlton Dougherty; Genevieve Vaughan; Girl Scout Troop 85 of Brownsville; HDR Shiner Moseley & Associates, Inc.; Houston Endowment, Inc.; Jimmy W. & Harl T. Asaff; John Anthony Garcia Family; JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. - Rio Grande Valley Region; Kevin Dougherty; Lennox International, Inc.; Lillie M Tijerina Family; Maria Lee Semelsberger; Marion (Pansy) Yturria Kimbro; Martin E. & Celia F. Garcia; Mary Patricia Dougherty; May Dougherty King; MBW Mallet Investments; Melissa Dougherty; MGB Royalty Partnership; Mike Neal; MWS Consultants; National Fish & Wildlife Foundation; National Fisheries Institute; Oil Patch Fuel & Supply, Inc. - Carl "Joe" Gayman; Peter S. Pauley & Caroline Baxter Pauley; Point Isabel Independent School District; Port Isabel-San Benito Navigation District; Red River Service Corporation; Reliant Energy; Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone Corporation; Robert B & Isabel G Vezzetti; Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation; Shell Marine Habitat Program; Shell Oil Company Foundation; Southwest Community Investment Corporation; Stella G. Zarate; Stephen T. Dougherty; Texas A&M University - College Station, Department of Civil Engineering; Texas A&M University - College Station, Department of Rangeland Ecology; Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, Center for Coastal Studies; Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, Division of Nearshore Research; Texas Center for Policy Studies; Texas Commission for Environmental Quality; Texas Historical Commission; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Texas Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service; Texas Shrimp Association

The Nature Conservancy of Texas; The Sierra Club; Thomas B. Baldwin & Felicia G. Baldwin; Town of Laguna Vista, Texas; Town of South Padre Island, Texas; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Oklahoma-Texas Area Office; University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College; University of Texas Pan American, College of Science and Engineering; UTB/TSC Department of Biological Sciences; UTB/TSC Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences; UTB/TSC The JASON Project; Virginia Lee Heath; Wild American Shrimp Incorporated; Zimco Marine


Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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