GALVESTON, Texas — A Texas effort to restore hundreds of acres of ecologically important wetlands in the Delehide Cove area of West Galveston Bay will receive one of two National Wetland Conservation Awards to be bestowed this year at a June 30 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Delehide Cove team received a $939,862 grant from the National Wetlands Conservation Grants Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2000. The grant, along with an additional federal contribution of $50,000 from the USFWS Coastal Program, was matched with funds and in-kind contributions from state and local sources that included the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act (CEPRA) Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, Galveston Bay Estuary Program, Pirates Homeowners Association, Fish America Foundation, Restore Americas Estuaries, NOAA Fisheries, Blackard Development, Reliant Energy and Texas GenCo. A total of more than $2 million was provide from these federal and state contributors to protect and restore the area’s coastal wetland habitat.

Approximately 8,100 linear feet of sand-filled geotextile tube breakwaters were constructed to protect existing intertidal marsh, tidal bayou, and subtidal flats from erosion. One year after construction, 200 acres of habitat have been protected from erosion, 2.4 acres of sand flat have been restored, 3.2 acres of seagrass habitat have been enhanced and 48 acres of salt marsh and open water complex have been restored or enhanced. A total of 250 acres of estuarine marsh complex in the West Bay area of Galveston Bay were protected, and another 55 acres were restored or enhanced.

“It’s a well-deserved recognition of a partnership between federal, state and non-profit organizations to achieve a conservation goal,” said Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and TPWD coastal fisheries division director. “I’m pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized all that effort on a national level.”

Each year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives two wetland conservation awards, one to a team and one to an individual. Matt Hogan, acting director of USFWS, will present the awards this year, and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton is expected to participate in the ceremony.