Cedar Bayou is a natural pass located near Rockport, Texas, that provides a connection between the Gulf of Mexico and Mesquite Bay which in turn connects to San Antonio Bay and Aransas Bay, and from there to several other bays in the Texas Coastal Bend Estuary system.
Since 1800, Cedar Bayou was open about 87% of the time, until it was closed in 1979 to protect the bay system from the Ixtoc I oil spill near Campeche, Mexico.
Below is a photo of Cedar Bayou and Vinson’s Slough from 1973 with both the bayou and slough naturally open between the Gulf Coast and Mesquite Bay.
This pass was closed artificially, along with most others along the Texas coast, to protect marine life and the Whooping Cranes found at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Since 1979 the bayou has remained closed 70% of the time, except for brief periods when it was dredged in 1987 and 1995, and when opened by gulf storms in 2003. Currently, Cedar Bayou is closed as you can see below.
The odyssey of Cedar Bayou is not finished. Since the Ixtoc oil spill, man has tried to unplug the barrier created to protect the bays in the 1970’s, however previous attempts did not include necessary engineering information for success. To learn about the plan to restore Cedar Bayou please visit here.