700 tons of concrete on tap to expand HI20 reef site on upper Texas coast
Since its creation in 2018, the HI20 reef site off Sabine Pass has seen a rapid infusion of prime reefing materials that doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime in the near future. The 160-acre site on the upper Texas coast has plenty of room to grow and CCA Texas, the Building Conservation Trust (BCT) – the national habitat program of CCA – and a growing list of partners are intent on filling the site to capacity.
In July 2020, Forterra Pipe & Precast in Houston donated 543 culverts – equal to more than 700 tons of concrete – to the massive reefing project. The material was shipped on 32 tractor trailer loads in late July to a holding facility owned by Eldridge Construction in Sabine Pass where it is being held at no cost for the next phase of the project.
“Forterra is proud to participate with CCA Texas on the HI20 Reef and future projects,” said Jeff Arnold, Vice President and General Manager for Forterra. “We are no stranger to repurposing concrete products for a “Reef of Opportunity”, added Charles Piwowarski, Area Environmental Manager, Forterra. “Over the last eleven years, Forterra has provided concrete products for artificial reef construction from Florida to Texas. These donated culverts are repurposed as living marine habitat and support all kinds of species and the regional fishing and boating industry as well as the economy.
In 2018, CCA Texas, the CCA Music City Chapter and BCT partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Shell Oil Company, Sempra Energy and Friends of Sabine Reefs to provide funding to make the first deployments at the site, which included a 120-foot barge, roughly 200 granite blocks and 50 culverts. In 2019, CCA Texas and BCT joined funding forces with Sempra and Cheniere Energy for Phase II, which will deploy 150 concrete reefing pyramids into the site in late 2020. With the donation and delivery of an additional 700 tons of material in Phase II, the stage is set for another significant expansion of the HI20 reef.
“We are now working to secure funds to deploy the new materials within the HI20 site and are just extremely grateful for the continued support of companies like Forterra and Eldridge Construction,” said John Blaha, CCA Texas habitat program director. “The only way projects like this can work is through cooperation and partnership among industry, local businesses and area anglers. We are proud to be a part of such a great group on this project and excited about the positive impact it will make on the marine ecosystem.”