Sid W. Richardson Foundation Makes $1 Million Grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation for the Maintenance of Cedar Bayou in Aransas County, Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas – The Sid W. Richardson Foundation has made a $1 million grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation for the maintenance of Cedar Bayou in Aransas County, Texas.
Through the efforts of a public-private partnership led by the Aransas County judge and county commissioners, Cedar Bayou was opened to the Gulf of Mexico on September 25, 2014, reconnecting the Aransas and Mesquite Bays and Vinson Slough to the gulf.
The massive dredging effort removed over 750,000 cubic yards of material over its two-mile path of operations in the bayou and slough.
The public-private partnership led by Aransas County funded the nearly $9.4 million project with state, local and private resources. The Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas), Save Cedar Bayou, Inc. and numerous private donors joined with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas General Land Office and the county in providing the funds necessary to complete this historic conservation initiative. The flows through Cedar Bayou will improve the quality of the bay system and enhance the habitat for bird and marine life, and the quality of life for residents and visitors.
The Richardson Foundation grant will help ensure that the improvements to the bayou will be maintained over the years ahead and will continue to support the health of the Gulf of Mexico and its bays and estuaries.
Cedar Bayou, which separates San Jose Island and Matagorda Island, was closed in 1979 to protect the bay system from the Ixtoc I oil spill near Campeche, Mexico. According to the Restore Cedar Bayou website, restorecedarbayou.org, since 1979, the bayou had remained closed 70 percent of the time, except for brief periods when it was dredged in 1987 and 1995, and when opened by gulf storms in 2003.
Mr. Pete Geren, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, presented a ceremonial check today for $1 million, made payable to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, to Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills, Jr. and Jay Kleberg, associate director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, during the County Commissioners’ meeting in Rockport, Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation will allocate the funds to Aransas County, which will oversee the maintenance of Cedar Bayou.
Geren congratulated Judge Mills and the county commissioners for their leadership role in the effort to restore Cedar Bayou. Geren also recognized the CCA Texas and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for contributing to the success of this significant environmental project.
“The Sid W. Richardson Foundation is committed to the long-term maintenance of Cedar Bayou and grateful for the commitment of Aransas County to ensure its proper maintenance,” said Geren. The foundation was established by Sid W. Richardson in 1947 to support organizations that serve the people of Texas. Directors of the foundation are Chairman Edward P. Bass, Sid R. Bass, and Lee M. Bass, who are grandnephews of Sid Richardson. Their late father, Perry R. Bass, was Richardson’s nephew.
“The Gulf of Mexico and Aransas County hold a special place in the hearts of the Bass family,” Geren said. “The Cedar Bayou grant is an extension of the Bass family’s commitment to the health of the marine life of the gulf, its bays and estuaries, which was instilled in them by Perry Bass.”
While serving as chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Perry Bass helped to change the landscape of coastal conservation in Texas by championing the protection of fish in Texas’ coastal waters. In 1981, the Texas Legislature passed the Redfish Bill, designating redfish and spotted sea trout as “game fish” to protect them from commercial harvest.
His continuing interest in and contributions to the commission led to his designation in 1988 as Chairman Emeritus. In 1991, he helped to establish the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. He was also an active supporter of the CCA Texas, University of Texas Marine Science Center, Texas State Maritime Museum, American Fisheries Society Friends of Fish, Atlantic Salmon Federation and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
Once quoted on the basis for his devotion to conservation, Bass said, “These are the things—the building of such hatcheries as this [referring to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s world-renowned hatchery program], the protection of our wonderful bottomland hardwoods, the protection of our wetlands, the protection of our wildlife—these are the things that we’re doing; we’re saving them for future generations.”
Contact: Bill Lawrence, 817.879.0515, BLawr1@charter.net