Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Southwest Region, June 28, 2006
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CCESFO Alamo suboffice staff participated in the Bahia Grande Restoration Committee meeting which was held at the University of Texas Brownsville/Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) to discuss progress of the Bahia Grande wetland restoration project that is currently the largest wetland restoration project in the United States.  Cameron County has submitted a $ 2.2 million Coastal Improvement Assistance Program (CIAP) grant proposal from the Texas General Land Office for the construction of a permanent channel allowing water circulation from the Brownsville Navigation District Ship Channel through Bahia Grande.  The County will commit $ 0.5 million toward this project.  Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (LANWR) gave a progress report on construction of internal channels of Bahia Grande to allow water circulation to other parts of Bahia Grande and placing a series of holding tanks with doors to control the release of freshwater inflow into Laguna Larga which is part of the Bahia Grande Complex.  UTB/TSC is currently conducting wetland research and restoration projects that include, studying the animals of the benthos; infauna, epibentic, and fish.  Currently they are doing a study of molluscan communities in ancient times in the Bahia Grande to get information about the environment in which they thrived, as well as examining the salinities of the soils of lomas and other upland areas to assist in maximizing any plant restoration efforts.  UTB/TSC has 15,000 black mangrove seedlings, ready to plant, when water quality is stabilized.  A Bahia Grande Restoration Greenhouse will be established at the university.  UT Pan American University is gathering sediment samples from San Martin Lake, South Bay, and Bahia Grande to study geochemistry baseline data; sediments at Bahia Grande is very unstable and does not readily grow sea grasses in the laboratory setting.  Texas A& M University at Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) Center for Coastal Studies is performing water quality measurements and gathering meteorological stations that records weather data.  The committee is planning for the Second Annual Bahia Grande Restoration Research Summit for June 2007.  Project participants include representatives from Corpus Christi Ecological Services Alamo Suboffice, LANWR, U.S. Department of Agricuture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Texas Department of transportation. Texas General Land Office, TAMUCC, UTB/TSC, TAMU – Marine Extension Agent, UT Pan American, Laguna Development Group, Ltd, Division of Nearshore Research, M&E Consultants, Shiner Mosely and Associates, Inc., Cameron County Commission, Cameron County Parks, Brownsville Navigation District, and the Nature Conservancy of Texas.                         

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