Lovers of Galveston Bay know that the ecosystem has been beset by challenges, after being ravaged by Hurricane Harvey and the Deepwater Horizon spill, and last year, receiving a C grade for its overall wellness.
Even more challenging, Galveston Bay has lost more than 35,000 acres of intertidal wetlands since the 1950s.
But now, hope floats, with the news that the Galveston Bay Foundation has received a $2.3 million award to continue to restore and create marsh habitat in the Dollar Bay/Moses Lake complex in Galveston Bay. The gift comes courtesy of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), with funding through the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, a funding source created from Deepwater Horizon oil spill penalties.
The area has already seen restoration work in the same area, including a 1,600-foot section of rock breakwater structures constructed in 2002, a 2,400-foot section constructed in 2012, and 1.3-mile section completed in 2018. Galveston Bay Foundation volunteers have planted smooth cordgrass to reestablish fringing marsh and will continue to do so in this next phase, according to the foundation.
This project phase will complete the coastal habitat restoration initiated under the previously funded phases for a total investment of more than $5.7 million.
For protection and beautification, Galveston Bay Foundation will construct breakwaters to protect and restore estuarine emergent marsh along 1,500 feet of shoreline and 47 newly created marsh terraces, which will support emergent marsh vegetation.
Construction work will restore 72 acres of intertidal marsh complex and create suitable habitat for oyster growth within the Dollar Bay/Moses Lake complex in Galveston Bay, per a statement.
Pending no further disasters, the work should beautify and protect the ecosystem for decades to come.