On May 21, 2014, Coastal Conservation Association Texas presented Aransas County with a check for $1.6M to help fund the restoration of Cedar Bayou in Rockport.
After being sealed in the 1970s and decades of negative impacts from siltation and low water flows, a $9.4M construction project is underway to open Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough.
“CCA has contributed $1.6M to this project, and all of these funds have come from our local chapter banquets and our volunteers raising those dollars,” said CCA Texas Executive Director Robby Byers. “It is a tremendous effort on everybody’s part.”
This historic effort, which began construction in May 2014, will create the vital connection from Mesquite and Aransas Bays to the Gulf of Mexico. 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 have eventually led to the pass and adjacent Vinson Slough being sealed. The pass is going to be put back to its original state, which has not been done since 1979.
“The restoration of Cedar Bayou is good for everybody in Aransas County, the state of Texas, and I believe around the country,” said Aransas County judge Burt Mills. “The impact of what it is going to do for the ecosystem in the bays here is going to be phenomenal.”
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 throughout history, this is the bayou’s largest and most comprehensive effort to date.
“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.”
The restoration of Cedar Bayou is set for completion by October 15, 2014. To learn more about the ongoing progress of Restore Cedar Bayou, visit www.ccatexas.org/conservation/habitat/cedar-bayou/.