County okays engineering work, maintenance fund for restoration of fish pass

Published: Rockport Pilot

The Aransas County commissioners court approved funding to complete final engineering and surveys for initial restoration of the pass. They also announced it will annually allocate at least $50,000 to a Cedar Bayou Maintenance Fund, a critical component to keeping the pass open in the future. The action was taken at a special meeting Friday, May 25.

Work continues on the restoration of Cedar Bayou and the court’s recent action clears the way for “sand to fly at the earliest possible moment,” CCA officials said.

Robby Byers, executive director of CCA Texas, said, “The County is clearly committed to doing the project right and making sure that it succeeds over the long term.”

He added, “This has not been an easy road, but the pieces are really starting to fall into place. It is a major undertaking, but we have faith that the partnership between the County, CCA Texas and the recreational angling community will get it done.”

Aransas County has pledged $948,000 toward the cost of opening the pass, while CCA Texas pledged an additional $500,000. The County and CCA Texas have partnered to hire a professional fundraiser to secure the remaining $5.5 million. Applications to several federal grant programs have already been made. Additionally, a website dedicated to the project has been launched to provide up-to-date information about the project as well as an opportunity for individuals to make contributions online at www.restorecedarbayou.org.

“We have been very pleased with the pace of progress,” said Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills. “There is a considerable amount of momentum building toward the successful conclusion of this project, and it is good to be able to say that after so many years of frustration with the permit application and approval process. The private/public partnership has worked beautifully so far and it has been the key to moving this project to reality so quickly.”

Coastal Harbor Engineering has been tasked with proceeding with final engineering and surveys for the project, which are expected to take four to five months to complete. When those plans are complete and full funding is in place, the project could start to move sand as early as April 2013.

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