Vancouver Reef expansion splashes down

CCA Texas partners with state to add 250 tons of material to reef off Freeport

Posted on August 18, 2010

HOUSTON, TX – Texas anglers now have more fishing room at Vancouver Reef after more than 250 tons of concrete and granite reefing material were added to the popular fishing site this week through a cooperative effort of CCA Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The addition of the material marks the single largest addition to the reef since the original Liberty ship was sunk at the site off Freeport in 1976.

“This project is a win-win situation for anglers and for the resource. Creating reef habitat is not just about building biomass, it is also about creating a destination for recreational anglers to access the resource,” said John Blaha, director of CCA Texas’s Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) program. “We learned a great deal during this project and will be looking to use that experience to build more habitat and create better angling opportunities for the future.”
 
The effort to expand Vancouver Reef began with CCA Texas securing 23 granite blocks from Texas A&M Galveston in 2009. After CCA Texas contributed $25,000 to moving those blocks to the Vancouver reef site, a private Houston foundation stepped up to support the project with another $25,000 donation. With $50,000 in hand, CCA Texas moved to expand the endeavor and sought additional partners. Ultimately, Old Castle Precast agreed to supply approximately 110 concrete catch basins and Dorsett Brothers Concrete provided storage and use of their docking facilities in Freeport.
 
“Once the ball was rolling, we were fortunate to have Dale Shively, head of the TPWD Artificial Reef Program, to work on an agreement to cover the logistics and costs of actually dropping all that material,” said Blaha. “There are a lot of complex, moving parts to a project like this and the partnerships that were forged throughout this process were key to its success. It was an awesome feeling to watch those rocks finally dropped into the Gulf.”
 
“This is the perfect example of how organizations can work together to improve habitat for marine life,” said Shively. “I look forward to working with CCA Texas on many more reefing projects.”
 
The CCA Texas habitat initiative was launched in 2009 and has already set in motion a number of projects important to Texas recreational anglers. In addition to the Vancouver expansion, CCA Texas has earmarked $50,000 for the Port Mansfield reefing project and another $35,000 for the Matagorda reef project. TPWD is currently securing permits from the Corps of Engineers to proceed with the Matagorda reef. Visit www.CCATexas.org for more information.
 
Detailed maps of the Vancouver and other reef sites are available from TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/habitats/artificial_reef/