HOUSTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded a federal grant to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for a more than $1.2 million project to restore wetlands on North Deer Island, the largest bird rookery island in the Galveston Bay system

The Texas grant was part of more than $15 million in grants to 12 states to help acquire, restore and protect coastal wetlands for long-term conservation benefits to wildlife and habitat under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.

North Deer Island in West Galveston Bay is used each year by up to 30,000 breeding pairs of 19 species of coastal-dependent birds, including more than 1,000 nesting pairs of federally listed brown pelican.

The North Deer Island project will protect and restore over 135 acres of fish and wildlife habitats. In Phase II to be funded by the federal grant, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and project partners, will protect 82 acres of island habitat from erosion and restore eight acres of estuarine marsh.

The total cost of the project is $1.24 million, with $653,300 of that paid by the federal grant. The partners share of the project will be $587,000. Project partners include the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, Gulf of Mexico Program, USFWS Coastal Program, Texas Genco’s EcoCenter, Shell Marine Habitat Program and Houston Audubon,.National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants are awarded to states through a competitive process. The program is funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, with money generated from excise taxes on fishing equipment, and motorboat and small engine fuels.

“These are win-win projects,” said Dale Hall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director. “I’m very excited when we’re able to leverage the taxpayer dollar with our partners and get a lot more value for the money.”

For more information on this project please contact Jamie Schubert at (281) 534-0135 with the Coastal Fisheries Habitat Program.

– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide