Oyster Update: TPW Commission Approves Closure

November 3rd was a banner day for conservation as TPW Commission voted unanimously to approve the closure of the Mesquite Bay complex as well as the restoration reefs. We traveled to Austin to give our statements of support on these matters directly to the TPWD commissioners, and walked away victorious. This is a huge win for our bays and FlatsWorthy, and it could not have been possible without your support. We want to thank all of you for your help in achieving this goal over the last year and were looking forward to effecting more positive changes in the future! We share this victory with Shane Bonnot and John Blaha, two champions from CCA Texas. Our alliance with them will lead to many conservation achievements in the future. Stay tuned as our next challenge will be in the legisalature.

FlatsWorthy Statement on Sanctuary Reefs

This statement is to highlight the importance of creating sanctuary reefs for the future health of our fishery. Our attempt is to bring this narrative to the attention of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting on January 26th.  FlatsWorthy Statement on Sanctuary Reefs The lowly oyster, submerged under bay waters, has been harvested as a food source for centuries. Coastal Native American tribes, as well as modern man, consider it a delicacy as table fare. The versatile mollusk’s value is not limited to the harvest. They are colonial in that reef structures survive as units, which facilitate the survival of spat, providing a solid base for attachment. A mud or sand flat is not sufficient. Centuries of concentrated annual growth yields vertical relief above the surrounding bottom. This structure becomes extremely resilient to the forces of nature. A vital function of oysters in the ecosystem is filtration. At an optimum, each oyster filters 50 gallons of water per day. This process reduces turbidity, removes particulates, microorganisms, and bacteria. The efficiency of an oyster is directly related to its proximity to the surface. An oyster in five feet of water is not as efficient as one in five inches. The ability of sunlight to penetrate the water is directly related to the clarity of the water, which is essential to the health of all aquatic and marsh vegetation. Structural value is the most important issue in recognizing the oysters’ overall worth. Harvest value should not remain the primary measure of value. Centuries old reef systems, remnants of past geologic anomalies, such as limestone ridges and ancient shorelines, have created flow patterns in the bay which influence currents and velocity. This affects, among other things, shoreline erosion. Think of a reef as a levee, similar to one in a rice field. Reefs are nature’s way of calming and slowing the water currents, while also creating opportunities for fishermen. Five of these systems (Second Chain, Ayers, Third Chain, Cedar, and Carlos) serve as baffles in the movement of water from San Antonio Bay through the subtle venturi in the Straits of Mesquite. They span from the barrier islands of Matagorda and San Jose Islands to the mainland. Excessive oyster harvesting has degraded three of these structures to the point that they no longer function their ecological purpose. To a certain extent, Hurricane Harvey hastened this process. We must consider the bold action of protecting these systems from destruction, from both man and nature. The recovery period for the integrity of the reefs, estimated to be 50 years, must begin now. Ayers and Cedar Reef must be declared zero-harvest sanctuaries to prevent their further degradation, and their loss of function as a baffle. The adoption of sanctuary reefs can be expanded throughout the system to ensure healthy spat is available for recruitment to surrounding reefs to continue the cycle of recovery. The time for action is now, so future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the coast as we have. Oysters are not incidental to the habitat, they are essential.

In the News: Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine

FlatsWorthy is excited to be featured in the April 2021 issue of the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. This publication features news from around the state of interest and importance to all outdoor enthusiasts. Spreading the message of FlatsWorthy is important.

Coastal Community Award Received

FlatsWorthy is proud to announce Chuck Naiser and the FlatsWorthy Community has received the Coastal Community Award from the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation. This award recognizes a person or organization who is dedicated to improving the community where we live. FlatsWorthy member and partner David Sikes has received the President’s Award. His 20+ years of promoting public awareness of conservation issues as a writer and photographer in the Coastal Bend were recognized by the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation. The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation is a public interest organization dedicated to the conservation of freshwater and coastal natural resources for current and future generations through consensus, facilitation, communication, advocacy, research and education. our membership is comprised of representatives of environmental groups, fishing organizations, port industries, government agencies, university scientists and concerned citizens. This broad-based membership helps the Foundation bring diverse interests together to achieve our community’s environmental and economic objectives. The 17th Annual Conservation & Environmental Stewardship Awards Banquet will be held November 12, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. It will take place at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, 402 Harbor Dr, Corpus Christi, Texas.

TPWD Magazine Feature

Pick up your copy of the October 2019 issue of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. In it, you will find FlatsWorthy featured. In this article you can read about what FlatsWorthy President Chuck Naiser has to say about our bays since Harvey. And learn a little about what you can do to help heal our shallows. If you aren’t a member yet, now is the time to join! Photo courtesy of Chase Fountain/TPWD.

Congratulations to a Life Member

FlatsWorthy is a diverse group of anglers, and our members are promoting our guiding principles of respect everywhere they go. We are excited to congratulate Life Member James E Abell on his appointment to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Governor Greg Abbot appointed Abell, along with 2 other, to serve a 6-year terms. The commission manages and conserves the natural and cultural resources of Texas and provides hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Today is the perfect time to Join FlatsWorthy. You will join a group of anglers who are concerned about the shallow bays and flats we all enjoy.

Twice in One Day

The San Antonio Express-News picked up the article about FlatsWorthy and boating behaviors by Shannon Tompkins with the Houston Chronicle. What we are doing is resonating with people. Spread the word about FlatsWorthy and share our link to Join Now. We can’t do it alone.

Bad Behavior

The Houston Chronicle featured FlatsWorthy in Shannon Tompkins’ article “Gulf Coast Group Aims to Keep Bad Boating Behavior at Bay.” Tompkins spent a day on the water with FlatsWorthy President Chuck Naiser and Advisory Board President Troy Utz. …what we’re doing is resonating with people. We know we’re not going to change things overnight. It’s an education process and it’s got to be an ongoing thing. There is no finish line, just continually educating people and making them aware. The Chronicle columnist witnessed firsthand some of the behaviors which led Naiser and local anglers to form FlatsWorthy. This article not only provides a glimpse into a day on the water, but makes it clear why there is a need for FlatsWorthy. Thanks to Shannon Tompkins for a great article. Please share with your fellow anglers and send them the link to Join Now.

Spreading the Message

FlatsWorthy is thrilled to be the subject of a four-page story in the August issue of the Texas Wildlife Association‘s magazine, Texas Wildlife. You can read the article online here. Then share this article with your friends and talk to them about joining FlatsWorthy as a member.

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