The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Natural Resources Program has contracted with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) to conduct an ecosystem assessment in Matagorda Bay to inform the conservation of threatened and endangered species. The partnership will develop comprehensive economic and ecological information and tools local governments and communities can use to sustain economic development while protecting natural resources.
Matagorda Bay supports numerous industries important to the Texas economy, including commercial and recreational fishing, agriculture and tourism, while serving as a rich resource for fish and wildlife. Despite its economic value, little research has been conducted on the distribution and health of the bay’s many habitats and their importance to the ecosystem.
“Matagorda Bay directly supports a number of significant industries along the Texas coast, and continued economic development in the surrounding regions will be crucial to the future of our state,” said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. “Now’s the time to safeguard our state’s economic future by gathering valuable scientific research to inform active voluntary conservation efforts and support ongoing economic growth.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Comptroller’s Natural Resources Program on a project that will provide key science to better manage and conserve Texas bays and estuaries,” said Greg Stunz, project principal investigator and chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at TAMUCC.
The Natural Resources Program will provide economic data and analysis to complement ecological research. TAMUCC will study habitats used by a suite of imperiled, threatened and endangered sea turtle and bird species as well as the potential impacts of evolving environmental factors.
“Data generated from this study will be crucial in developing effective restoration and conservation strategies and prioritizing areas for the long-term protection of sea turtles and many other species,” Stunz said.
The comptroller’s office works to encourage stakeholder involvement in species conservation and the development of science-based solutions that balance economic activity and the use of environmental resources. Since 2009, the comptroller’s office has administered state legislative appropriations to Texas public universities to conduct scientific research on imperiled, threatened and endangered species.
For project announcements, including research updates and public meetings, visit the Comptroller’s Natural Resources Program website.