New Facility for Coastal Fisheries by Joyce Rhyne

Archived in the category: General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 20 Feb 14 - 0 Comments

After many years of working in crowded conditions in a rundown former Air Force building, circa 1962, the staff of TPWD Coastal Fisheries finally have a roomy, modern facility in which to pursue their objective: “to provide optimum opportunities from and conservation for the rich biological diversity inherent in Texas’ marine waters.”

The newly-completed building sits at the foot of 16th Street in Port O’Connor, overlooking the waters the staff is charged to monitor and protect, while ensuring that our bays remain the great fishing spots they currently are.

Seven Fish and Wildlife technicians at the Coastal Fisheries office are charged with keeping up with what goes in and what comes out of our bays. They survey the bays, estuaries and near-shore Gulf, and monitor changes in fish population. Part of their job consists of surveying anglers at the docks as they return from their fishing trips. Most of the technicians are our neighbors in the Port O’Connor area: Mark Kelley, Clint Troxler, Justin Pawlik, Jeremy Helms, John Haffernick, and Theresa Krenek, and Brittany Foster, who resides in Rockport.

Biologist Norman Boyd, San Antonio Bay Eco System Leader, heads up the local office, assisted by Administrative Technician Pagie Reeves. The office currently is in the process of filling two more biologist openings, which will bring the total staff to eleven.

All the offices are located on the second floor of the building, with the bottom floor containing a large work room and a laboratory. Mr. Boyd is especially pleased to have a dedicated laboratory since there was not one before. In the old building, the bathroom served as a make-shift lab. Other features include solar panels on the roof which supply some of the electricity needs and rainwater storage tanks which will be used to maintain the landscaping.

Docked beside the building is the 48 foot research vessel and a separate boat barn houses three small skiffs.

The Port O’Connor facility is one of eight Coastal Fisheries field stations up and down the coast. There is also a science research facility near Palacios, Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, a hatchery for trout and reds, and the Marine Development Center in Flour Bluff. The main office is in Austin.

A few details remain to be completed at the new Port O’Connor facility, including completing the landscaping. When this is done, an open house will be held.

The Coastal Fisheries Division manages the marine fishery resources of Texas’ four million acres of saltwater, including the bays and estuaries and out to nine nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal Fisheries management strategies are directed toward optimizing the long-term utilization and sustaining fisheries populations at levels that are necessary to ensure replenishable stocks of commercially and recreationally important species. The Division also focuses on habitat conservation and restoration and leads the agency research, management and inter-agency coordination on all water-related issues, including assuring adequate in-stream flows for Texas’ rivers and sufficient freshwater inflows for bays and estuaries. These priority goals and strategies will assure our marine waters’ health and productivity and protect fish, wildlife and plant resources from degradation or depletion.

Pagie Reeves (l) and Theresa Krenek at the Coastal Fisheries Port O’Connor field office.

Leave a Reply

Untitled Document Visit Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce