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East Bay Shoreline Restoration Project to receive Cooperative Conservation Award
Southwest Region, April 21, 2008
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The East Bay Wetland and Water Quality Protection Project Team was selected to receive the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award. The Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes achievements that involve collaborative activity among a diverse range of partners.  Teh Project partners will receive the award in a ceremony on April 21, 2008 in Washington DC.

In 2002 a group of partners that included Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations and private industry, began working to address habitat loss in East Bay, Galveston, Texas. Nearly 8,000 acres of diverse coastal habitats along East Bay are now protected from severe erosion and habitat degradation. This protection required more than 3 miles of erosion control structures along the north shoreline of East Bay. Placement of these structures provided critical protection to one of the most remote and pristine areas in the Galveston Bay system. Shorelines along the project area were experiencing severe erosion that left much of the shoreline with erosive bluffs and almost no intertidal wetlands. The protection of this shoreline is critical to the protection of adjoining marsh habitats. Marsh habitats protected and restored by the project provide important nursery grounds for recreationally and commercially important aquatic species such as Gulf menhaden, sea trout, southern flounder, red drum, bay anchovy, and other marine forms. They also provide critical wintering habitat for waterfowl and grassland bird species, along with critical stopover habitat for neotropical migratory birds, and support resident wildlife such as local mottled duck.

Collaborative efforts brought forth in accomplishing this project serve as a prime example of how conservation can be achieved. Intertidal marsh has been restored in the shallow, protected waters behind the newly-constructed breakwater by planting smooth cordgrass. In an effort to involve and educate the public regarding habitat issues and the need for restoration, multiple public planting events were held. From the outset, all project partners worked diligently on project objectives to achieve the overall project goal. With logistical and experimental complexities involved in the project, partners continually strived to achieve the greatest net benefit for the Nation's resources. This project has grown from its original scope of protecting the shoreline along East Bay to also providing a model for shoreline protection in similar settings not only in the Galveston Bay system but in other estuaries in Texas.

Project Partners include: Environmental Protection Agency, NRG Texas, LLC., Natural Resources Conservation Service, Galveston Bay Estuary Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and Coastal Program.

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



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