Jefferson County projects named Texas Coastal Restoration Master Plan
Neches River forested floodplain acquisitions, North Pleasure Island shoreline restoration and Texas Point marsh preservation are among 12 Jefferson County projects a state agency has included in its major projects plan to receive funding .
Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham announced Monday that the Texas General Land Office has selected 121 projects, including 12 in Jefferson County and five in Orange County, to be included in “Class 1” of the Master Plan of Texas Coastal Restoration 2023.
“I am extremely grateful to Commissioner Buckingham for expediting these appropriations, and I am even more grateful that Jefferson County accounts for approximately 9% of the funding for the coast,” said Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick. “This allows us to continue the great work being done with BP oil spill financing and is a dramatic step forward in coastal resilience.”
RELATED: Jefferson County projects considered for coastal resiliency plan
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Conservation and Restoration in Jefferson and Chambers Counties — $25 million Bessie Heights Wetlands Restoration in Orange County — $7.7 million Hickory Cove Marsh Restoration in Orange County — $21 million JD Murphee Jefferson County Wildlife Management Area — Coastal Conservancy County $13 million Keith Lake Fish Pass and Confused Repairs and Improvements Jefferson County — $3.8 million Lower Neches Wildlife Management Area Lake Street Drive Orange County Beneficial Use — $6 million McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge Bay Shoreline Stabilization in Jefferson County — $38 million. Willow Lake Marsh National Wildlife Refuge Jefferson County Beneficial Use — $8.6 million Neches River Forested Floodplain in Jefferson and Hardin Counties — $30 million North Pleasure Island Shoreline Protection and Restoration in Jefferson County — $4.4 million Restoration of Old River Cove in Oran — $9.2 million Southeast Texas Flood Coordination Study – Regional Flood Sensor System in Jefferson, Chamber and Orange counties — $900,000 Sydnes Island Restoration in Orange County — $10 million Texas Water Control Structure in Jefferson County — $6 million Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge Beach Nutrition Project in Jefferson County — $43.4 million National Refuge Texas Point Wildlife Beneficial Use in Jefferson County – $11.4 million Texas Point Sabine Neches National Wildlife Refuge Protection and Pearl Habitat Creation in Jefferson County – $5 million See More Collapse
According to a press release from the General Land Office, the plan helps create a “framework to address coastal risks and direct investments to protect natural and human-made coastal environments.”
Director of Communications for the Land General Office of Community Development and Revitalization, Brittany Eck said projects’ inclusion in the four-year plan does not necessarily mean they will be funded. It just makes projects a priority.
“The Texas Coastal Restoration Master Plan does not have a funding mechanism, but the evaluation by the Texas Coastal Restoration Plan Technical Advisory Committee and Tier One designation provides additional credibility and priority status when applying for various funding streams,” Eck said. “For example, GLO is currently accepting Coastal Management Program Cycle 29 and Coastal Erosion Planning Response Act Grant applications, which are due June 7.”
The Technical Advisory Commission is comprised of hundreds of local officials, academics, scientists, those from coastal conservation and restoration backgrounds, and others. The committee works together to determine the top priority projects for funding.
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“Having the credibility of being a Tier 1 project will help facilitate funding more quickly than if they weren’t listed on this plan,” Eck said. “It not only says that these projects are a priority for the local community, but it also says that they have already passed a round of verification for various criteria that all these individuals require. So it gives credibility that he has already met a level of examination.”
Projects including Jefferson County total $190 million in work, while Orange County’s $54.8 million.
“Hurricanes Rita and Ike caused a lot of coastal degradation in Jefferson County,” Branick said. “These projects will address many of those issues as well as saltwater intrusion, dune restoration and other issues that will make inland marshes healthier, improve carbon sequestration, restore species threatened and will make our coastal environments more resilient to damage from future storms.”