Aransas County, Texas –Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough were opened on September 25, 2014, after having been sealed in the 1970s and enduring decades of negative impacts from siltation and low water flows. Local media were invited to view the ribbon-cutting ceremony and opening last Thursday.
Cedar Bayou is a natural pass that separates San Jose Island from Matagorda Island. Dredging efforts date back to the 1930s, but partial efforts, siltation, and misplacement of spoil materials eventually led to the pass and adjacent Vinson Slough being sealed. The restoration of Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough has created the vital connection from Mesquite and Aransas Bays to the Gulf of Mexico.
“Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) and anglers all over Texas have been looking forward to this day,” said John Blaha, Director of CCA Texas’ Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) program. “Cedar Bayou is finally open, and our financial contribution would not have been possible without our volunteers. This project is going to be incredibly beneficial to the local ecosystem, and we are going to see its positive impact for years to come.”
Through a large membership-wide fundraising effort, CCA Texas contributed $1.6M to the $9.4M restoration of Cedar Bayou in Rockport, Texas.
“CCA Texas was a great partner in our quest for getting Cedar Bayou opened,” said Aransas County Judge Burt Mills. “All of our partners have done an outstanding job in working together to ensure the restoration of this pass.”
Judge Mills signed the dredging permit for Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough on August 3 of 2011. Although the pass has been dredged numerous times through history, this is its largest and most comprehensive restoration project.
“What a historic day this is,” said Joey Park, CCA Texas Lobbyist. “It’s hard to believe water is finally flowing through this vital ecological pass. The coalition of Aransas County, CCA Texas, the Texas legislature, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas General Land Office have made this all possible. I believe the pieces of the puzzle are in place to keep this open not only today, but for future generations.”
“Cedar Bayou is an iconic pass, and it rings very deeply with anglers in this part of the world,” said CCA Texas Volunteer and Chairman of the Board Mark Ray. “We’ll always be there to support the project and help identify funds to keep the pass open.”