Bahia Grande Restoration Project, GMP Project #DW14945947
A partnership project between the Ocean Trust, the National Fisheries Institute, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Gulf of Mexico Program.On a windy day, great clouds of salty dust blow across a huge barren flat that runs along Highway 48 between Brownsville and Port Isabel, Texas. This is the Bahia Grande, a shallow dried out bay of over 6,000 acres that was cut off from the Laguna Madre with the construction of the Brownsville Ship Channel in the 1930’s. It was once a productive shallow water ecosystem providing habitat and nursery for sport and commercial fish. Today, a walk across the dry basin reveals shells of several species of mollusks and other remnants of past life from a vanished bay.
The basins will fill with water once again to become productive bays providing habitat for many species of fish, shrimp, crabs, shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl. Plantings of native seagrasses and black mangrove will accelerate the restoration of the wetland plant community. This will be an educational opportunity as well as a critical part of the restoration. School groups, scouts, and university students will be targeted to assist with the actual planting.