ROCKPORT, Texas – July 9, 2019 – Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) and the Building Conservation Trust (BCT), the national habitat program of CCA, have committed $250,000 to support efforts by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Ducks Unlimited to restore Dagger Island and protect important seagrass beds in Redfish Bay.
“Partners like CCA and BCT make the wetland restoration work we do possible,” DU Director of Development Matt Bunn said. “Waterfowl and fisheries often share the same habitats and need the same resources and people who enjoy coastal areas like Redfish Bay appreciate it when organizations can come together and improve these areas for everyone.”
The partners are working together to enhance 557 acres of continuous seagrass beds, intertidal wetlands and coastal islands in the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area. Redfish Bay contains the northernmost extensive stands of seagrass on the Texas coast and is one of only three bays that contain all five species of native seagrass in Texas.
Dagger Island was once a nearly solid island separating Corpus Christi Bay and Redfish Bay. Erosion has decreased the size of the island and broken it into a chain of smaller islands. This decline altered the function and values provided to the Redfish Bay system, including protection of large stands of seagrasses, which are important for water quality in the bay. Ducks Unlimited will construct a half-mile breakwater and use dredged material to restore Dagger Island.
“This iconic island and its surrounding habitat are where generations of anglers have caught everything from their first fish to their biggest speckled trout,” said Patrick Murray, president of CCA National. “It has become a highly degraded area but is still fondly regarded as an important part of our Texas angling heritage, and we are truly fortunate that our partners in this project are just as dedicated as we are to restoring the vital habitat at this site. We are proud to work collaboratively with Ducks Unlimited and TPWD to create a habitat project that will benefit our coast and be enjoyed by anglers and their families for generations to come.”
Restoration and protection of remnant portions of Dagger Island will protect seagrasses from wave energy caused by winds and large vessel traffic on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. These seagrass beds are important for waterfowl and fisheries resources, including finfish, shrimp, blue crab and sea turtles.
“Degradation and loss of these islands has been of concern to TPWD for several years. Because of the ecological and economical significance of this area, TPWD is also concerned about the shoreline erosion on Dagger and Ransom Islands and the subsequent impacts on nearby seagrass beds if these islands continue to erode,” Paul Silva, TPWD natural resource specialist, project manager said. “Ducks Unlimited’s wetland restoration expertise and ability to leverage funding makes them a tremendous partner for us in efforts like this one.”
Funding for this project is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, CCA Texas, BCT and Ducks Unlimited.