A $75,000 contribution by the CCA Building Conservation Trust (BCT) is scheduled to add a 1.5-acre oyster reef complex onto the existing 3.8-acre Lap Reef in Copano Bay. The original Lap Reef has been spectacularly productive and the expansion project is expected to increase fish habitat, enhance oyster, finfish and crustacean abundance, and increase recreational fishing opportunities.
“Copano Bay is one of the jewels of the Texas coast and we are excited about the opportunity to enhance the amazing opportunities there for recreational anglers,” said John Blaha, director of the CCA Texas Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow program. “Given how intensely Lap Reef has been monitored since its creation, this expansion project will really provide a unique opportunity for scientists to determine how future projects can be constructed to produce the greatest benefits to the marine environment.”
The BCT-funded project will build a three-dimensional reef complex with high vertical relief, which will enhance oyster and fish abundance while minimizing the impacts of sedimentation. The reef will be constructed using approximately 500 cubic yards of recycled, clean crushed concrete and other suitable base material, topped with reclaimed oyster shells.
The original reef was constructed through a collaborative effort of the Texas General Land Office – Coastal Management Program, Gulf of Mexico Foundation, NOAA Restoration Center, and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department – Kills and Spills Program. The Harte Research Institute (HRI) and the College of Science and Engineering at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi have been monitoring the reef since construction and have found it to be extraordinarily productive for oysters in particular.
“This generous funding from CCA will allow us to build on existing conservation efforts to further enhance recreational fishing opportunities and water quality in the Texas coastal bend,” said Assistant Professor of Marine Biology Jennifer Pollack (HRI), who is conducting the project. “CCA continues to be a strong environmental steward and we look forward to a productive partnership on this project.”