The Coastal Conservation Association Texas recently announced a $500,000 matching grant to initiate a new push in generating the funding to open Aransas County’s Cedar Bayou and Vincent Slough. After decades of negative impacts from siltation and low water flows, an estimated $6.5 million effort will be required to open the vital connection from Mesquite and Aransas Bays to the Gulf of Mexico.
“It is not often that there is an opportunity to reopen a vital and iconic pass,” said Robby Byers, CCA Texas executive director. “There is still a lot of money to be raised and a lot of work to do, but CCA Texas kicked off a critical next step with this financial support.”
Cedar Bayou is a natural pass that separates St. Joseph’s 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 Vincent Slough being sealed.
Along with the kick-off funding, CCA Texas will partner with Aransas County in providing funds to secure a professional fundraiser to pursue the needed dollars to complete the dredging project. To date, Aransas County has already secured $500,000 in Coastal Impact Assistance Program funds for the project.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the economic and environmental future of Aransas County and the State of Texas,” said Judge C.H. Mills. “Our partnership with CCA in this important effort is a much-needed boost to push this initiative forward.”
After a protracted application and approval process, Judge Mills signed the dredging permit for Cedar Bayou and Vincent Slough on August 3, 2011. Although the pass has been dredged numerous times through history, this is the largest and most comprehensive effort slated to date.
“Anytime you can open a pass between the Gulf and bay, you are creating a tremendous benefit for the bay and the anglers who enjoy it,” said Mark Ray, CCA Texas Chairman. “CCA Texas has supported this important effort for decades and this new support will hopefully reopen this vital pass for generations to come.”