Ground Breaks on Nueces Bay Rookery Island Restoration!
The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is excited to announce that construction on the Nueces Bay Rookery Islands Restoration Project is underway! This project will protect and restore three critical rookery islands in Nueces Bay, and when completed is expected to support hundreds of additional pairs of wading birds and ground nesting birds each year.
Okploverfest Celebrates and Educates!
CBBEP’s Coastal Bird Program celebrates and educates with Okploverfest! A fun twist on the worldwide festival Octoberfest, the plover-themed event held earlier this month attracted bird and beer lovers alike in celebration of what we consider to be the ploveriest corner of the continent! No place else in the world is as important as right here in the Coastal Bend for 8 of the 9 species of North American plovers, who use our coastal and inland habitats for feeding, resting, sleeping, preparing for migrations, and even nesting.
2nd Annual Packery Flats Clean Up Removes Over 2,600 Pounds of Trash!
The 2nd Annual Packery Flats Clean Up was a huge success, removing trash and harmful debris from intertidal and marsh areas, as well as along 2 miles of Highway 361. The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) and the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation (CBBF) hosted the event to celebrate National Estuaries Week, a nationwide celebration of our bays and estuaries and the many benefits they provide to local communities.
History Shapes the Nueces Delta Preserve
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) becoming a non-profit organization! As we look back through the years, it’s hard not to reminisce about one of our biggest accomplishments, the acquisition and establishment of the Nueces Delta Preserve. It was the vision of CBBEP to create an area that could serve as a living laboratory where both wildlife, research, and education would flourish, and fresh water inflows from the Nueces River could be protected.
CBBEP Hosts First Star Party at the Nueces Delta Preserve
Stargazers flocked to the Nueces Delta Preserve earlier this month for Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program’s (CBBEP) first Family Star Party! CBBEP’s environmental education program, Delta Discovery, partnered with the Corpus Christi Astronomical Society to host the event, which featured a lecture, night hikes, arts and crafts, s’mores, and 7 telescopes set up for families to view the constellations.
Rookery Island Cleanups Remove 8,000 Pounds of Trash and Debris
The fall and winter are packed with all things necessary to prepare rookery islands in the Coastal Bend for the next nesting season, including everything from installing nesting platforms and informational signage, to planting woody vegetation and exotic plant removal. One of the most important efforts, however, is the removal of harmful trash and debris, and this year the Cleanups removed 8,000 pounds of trash and debris!
Packery Flats Clean Up Removes Over 2,000 Pounds of Trash
Packery Flats Coastal Habitat received a much needed deep cleaning earlier this month from volunteers who removed over 2,000 pounds of trash and debris from intertidal and marsh areas, as well as along 2 miles of Highway 361. The recreational hot spot on the backside of Mustang Island adjacent to Packery Channel has lots to offer in terms of public access to our bay, but the 1,000 acre protected area had seen cleaner days.
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program Receives Grant for Brazilian Peppertree Removal
The fight against the invasive Brazilian peppertree ( Schinus terebinthifolious) in the Coastal Bend rages on! This year the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) received a General Land Office Coastal Management Program (CMP) grant to address the problematic species in IB Magee Beach Park and a small portion of University of Texas Marine Science Institute property in Port Aransas.
CBBEP Funds Public Access Improvements at the ARK
The Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute has been rehabilitating and caring for injured birds and marine animals since 1982, and soon they will be opening their doors to the public. The organization recently completed a host of upgrades that were funded by the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) to facilitate public access. The enhancements including a new raptor enclosure, elevated decking around a sea turtle pool for public viewing, and walking paths with interpretive signage.
Rookery Island Recovery Off to a Great Start!
It’s been 8 months since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Coastal Bend turning everything in its path upside down, if not washing it away. Although our bays and estuaries are resilient, initial reports on the status of our rookery islands were grim. High winds and tidal surge washed away protective signs and nesting platforms, killed native vegetation, heavily eroded the islands, and brought in large amounts of debris, setting back nearly 15 years of management progress on the islands.
Egery Flats Restoration Project Will Soon Be Underway
The much anticipated Egery Flats Restoration Project will soon be underway! A favorite among roadside fishermen, crabbers, and birders, Egery Flats sits along the western edge of Copano Bay, near the mouth of the Aransas River. Though seemingly productive to the recreational user, the ecosystem has suffered greatly since the placement of Farm to Market Road 136 in 1945. The CBBEP received a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund for the project that will restore hydrology and reduce salinity to enhance over 600 acres of emergent marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation, and tidal flats at Egery Flats.
Delta Discovery Hosts First Homeschool Days!
Dozens of homeschoolers and their families came out to CBBEP’s Nueces Delta Preserve for Delta Discovery’s newest program, Homeschool Days! Designed to give homeschool families an opportunity to apply science curriculum to our natural environment, Homeschool Days uses guided discovery to connect students to the local ecology and habitats of the Nueces Delta Preserve.
Habitats Recover Nicely After Prescribed Burn
Timing is everything when it comes to prescribed fires, not only for conducting the burn, but also the response and recovery of the environment. Nine days before Hurricane Harvey came ashore in the Coastal Bend, the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) and The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) had planned to ignite a 1,600 acre burn of coastal prairie habitat at the Nueces Delta Preserve.
CBBEP is Discovering the Mysteries of the Black Skimmer
The Black skimmer has long been an iconic species along the shores of our beaches and bays, a sight to see sweeping across shallow waters, lower beak skimming just below the surface for a meal. They are striking, black and white plumage and bright orange and black beak, easy to pick out of a crowd. When they aren’t skimming though, they are fighting the many pressures that colonial waterbirds face, habitat loss from coastal development, human disturbance, and predators, just to name a few.
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program Receives Gulf Guardian Award: The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) was just awarded a Gulf Guardian Award from the EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program for their Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration Project! Gulf Guardian Awards recognize and honor businesses, community groups, individuals and organizations that are taking extraordinary steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. FULL REPORT. July 2017
Celanese Awards $150,000 for Baffin Bay Study: Celanese has stepped up again with another $150,000 for water quality monitoring in Baffin Bay! This is the second grant made by Celanese for a total of $300,000 over a six-year period toward marine research and water quality in the Baffin Bay ecosystem. Baffin Bay is a well known fishing hot spot, producing trophy trout and driving the economy in this isolated region of South Texas. However, in 2012-2013 the bay was plagued with water quality problems that set off a series of unfortunate events. FULL REPORT. July 2017
Volunteers Put Finishing Touches on Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration Project: The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) has just wrapped up the final phase of the Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration Project! This last phase, funded by the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Management Program, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, and Citgo, included an observation deck, interpretive signage, and series of volunteer planting events that offered the community a chance to leave their mark on the project, and that they did. FULL REPORT. VIDEO. May 2017
Matagorda Island Restoration Project Restores 2,300 Acres: The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is excited to announce the completion of the Matagorda Island Restoration Project. The project was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a General Land Office Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant ($700,000), and Coastal Conservation Association of Texas ($70,000), and included 4 levee removals, 2 culvert repairs, and 1 new culvert, restoring water flow and circulation, improving water quality, and increasing wildlife abundance and diversity to 2,300 acres of emergent estuarine marsh. FULL REPORT. March 2017
CBBEP Purchases Whooping Crane Habitat in Mission River Delta: Whoop Whoop! The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) has just completed the purchase of two properties totaling 981 acres in the Mission River delta for conservation. The acquisition is significant for the protection and recovery of the endangered whooping crane and includes approximately 13,000 linear feet of riparian belt along the Mission River, as well as a buffer around Mission Lake. FULL REPORT. December 2016
Thousands of Pounds of Trash Removed from Rookery Islands: As the summer draws to an end and our local colonial nesting waterbirds fledge their last offspring, the work of Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program’s (CBBEP) Coastal Bird Program kicks into high gear. The fall and winter are packed with all things necessary to prepare the rookery islands in the Coastal Bend for the next nesting season. CBBEP biologists work diligently on the islands, tackling everything from installing nesting platforms and informational signage, to planting woody vegetation and exotic plant removal. One of the most important efforts, however, is the removal of harmful trash and debris. FULL REPORT. October 2016
Record Year for Delta Discovery: The 2015-2016 numbers are in and the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program’s (CBBEP) environmental education program, Delta Discovery, has had yet another record-breaking year! Seeing almost 10,000 formal students, 600 teachers, and over 1,000 others through various outreach events, the program is based at the Nueces Delta Preserve and offers classroom curriculum and on-site activities to introduce students and teachers in the Coastal Bend region to issues affecting the bays and estuaries, as well as the local ecology of the preserve. FULL REPORT. September 2016
Packery Flats Improvements Welcome Visitors: Nestled on the backside of Mustang Island adjacent to Packery Channel, Packery Flats Coastal Habitat is a little known gem with lots to offer in terms of public access to our coastal areas. The one thousand acre protected area boasts extensive intertidal habitats that are heavily utilized by fish and wildlife, and also have many features that are appealing to passive recreation. Previous efforts by the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program have constructed parking lots for public access, but a recent increase in the popularity of the Packery Channel area prompted the CBBEP’s Human Uses Implementation Team to prioritize additional improvements. FULL REPORT. VIDEO. June 2016
Coastal Bend Curlews Take Flight: Spring migration is a very exciting, very busy, time for the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program’s (CBBEP) Coastal Bird Program. After months of preparation, the program anxiously watches as Long-billed curlews depart for their breeding grounds, each outfitted with a piece of technology that will help provide answers to questions that have so far eluded scientist about this species. This work is part of an initiative called the Migratory Connectivity Project, led by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center. CBBEP’s Coastal Bird Program is a project partner and has been involved in tagging and placing satellite transmitters on 10 Long-billed curlews in the last few months – 9 in the Coastal Bend, and 1 very special bird in Georgia. Long-billed curlews are a highly migratory bird species that spends its winters on the warm shores of the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, California, and Mexico, and migrates north to the grasslands of the Great Plains and Great Basin to breed. The satellite transmitters allow the birds to be tracked in near real-time, and provide important connectivity information including migratory pathways, locations of stop-over and wintering areas, and the similarity (or dissimilarity) among individuals. FULL REPORT. April 2016
Coastal Bird Program Joins Motus Network – Installs First Gulf Coast Array: Spring migration is upon us and the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program’s Coastal Bird Program is ready! Each spring highly migratory birds fly from their wintering grounds in the south to their Arctic breeding grounds, sometimes travelling up to 14,000 thousand kilometers one way. In the Central Flyway alone, billions of birds will fly from places as far away as southern Chile through Texas on their way north, stopping only to rest and recharge. The uniqueness and productivity of our bays and estuaries makes the Coastal Bend a prime location for these tiny travelers find nourishment, so many of the species we see on our beaches and tidal flats during this time are not actually Coastal Bend residents. FULL REPORT. February 2016
Partnerships Strengthen Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration: Partnerships continue to strengthen the Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration project as the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) prepares to begin another round of enhancements at the 160-acre site near the Nueces Bay Causeway between Corpus Christi and Portland. This latest effort, funded by NOAA and the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Management Program, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Protection Agency, will incorporate volunteer marsh plantings and public access improvements, including an observation deck and interpretive signage. FULL REPORT. VIDEO. January 2016
Nueces Delta Preserve Tops 10,000 Acres: Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) recently closed on the purchase of a 1,970 acre parcel of land in the Nueces River Delta, the final piece in a multi-year effort to acquire the entire 4,737 acres of what once was the Dos Rios Division of Wyatt Ranches. The acquisition of the ranch property nearly doubles the size of the Nueces Delta Preserve and creates more than 10,000 acres of contiguous conserved estuarine habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife species, protecting the fresh water flowing into Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays, and expanding environmental educational opportunities offered by CBBEP. FULL REPORT. January 2016
Partnering to Protect Wetlands and Public Infrastructure at Indian Point Park: Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP), the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and the City of Portland have completed construction on the first phase of the project to protect Indian Point Park from shoreline erosion. Indian Point Park encompasses 55 acres and is a prime location for fishing, birding, and nature watching. This popular nature park is immediately adjacent to the City of Portland’s Sunset Lake Park. FULL REPORT. VIDEO. December 2015
CITGO Caring for our Coast Volunteers Create Wildlife Food Plot: Student volunteers from three area schools dedicated their Saturday morning to creating a wildlife food plot at the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program’s (CBBEP) Nueces Delta Preserve as part of CITGO Caring for our Coast – a yearlong program to promote environmental conservation and restoration through a series of volunteer and educational efforts. FULL REPORT. VIDEO. November 2015
Nueces Delta Preserve Celebrates Improvements: Improvements continue at the Nueces Delta Preserve as board members, program staff, contractors and engineers were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the new restroom facilities, a welcome addition that will benefit the almost 10,000 students and visitors to the preserve annually. Made possible by a private foundation donation, the building includes restrooms, showers, wash stations, and eco-friendly features such as a water bottle refill fountain, rainwater collection system, and a solar water heating system. FULL REPORT November 2015
Prescribed Fire Provides Enhancements at Nueces Delta Preserve: The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is looking forward to all the benefits of fire following a prescribed burn at the Nueces Delta Preserve earlier this month. With funding provided by Delta Land Services, M&G Chemicals, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and CBBEP, program staff worked with The Nature Conservancy’s burn crew to carefully plan and intentionally ignite over 800 acres of coastal prairie habitat. FULL REPORT October 2015
CBBEP Provides Boost for Texas Gulf Region Cooperative Weed Management Area: CBBEP joins local, state, and federal partners in providing support to the newly formed Texas Gulf Region Cooperative Weed Management Area (TGR-CWMA), to address invasive Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolious) from Port O’Connor to Packery Channel on the Texas Gulf Coast. The CWMA seeks to prevent the spread and movement of the species by advocating for cooperative control amongst willing landowners and managers. FULL REPORT October 2015
Water Quality Group Documents High Nitrogen: Baffin Bay’s community-based Water Quality Monitoring Program established in 2013 gains momentum as water samples begin to paint a picture. Volunteers and scientists have wrapped up another year, and the first of a three year effort funded by Celanese to document water quality conditions in the Baffin Bay system. After analyzing the water samples, the group has made what they believe to be a critical finding when it comes to potential causes of brown tide, that concentrations of dissolved organic nitrogen in Baffin Bay are 3-fold higher on average than in other bay systems of the Texas coast. FULL REPORT October 2015