Matagorda Bay

TPR News

Texas Matters: In the last legislative session Gov. Perry threatened to and then vetoed the budget of the state's public integrity unit, a state agency that scrutinizes governmental affairs, when the Travis County district attorney, who oversees the unit, did not step down from her post. A special prosecutor is now looking into the case. Also on this show: The governor's race and pre-K, new addition to Texas public school curriculum, cleanup of oil spill on Texas coast, and endangered species vs. oil prospecting.

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Padre Island National Seashore has reopened its beaches after cleanup of the oil spill that made its way from Galveston to the southern coastline.

But farther up the coast, government agencies and volunteers are still struggling to clean up the oil that settled in at Matagorda Island, while protecting its wildlife.

It’s been more than two weeks since a barge in the Houston Ship Channel spilled 168,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay. It took a while for the oil to drift southward to the pristine beaches that draw more than 300 bird species each spring. 

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

 The Board of Directors for the Lower Colorado River Authority has approved the next phase of a downstream reservoir that will capture some of the water heading to Matagorda Bay.

This week, the LCRA board approved spending $17 million that will go toward finalizing the design of the reservoir in Wharton County.

The LCRA’s Clara Tuma said the reservoir in the lower basin will provide fresh water to the Gulf Coast bays, as well as Texas rice farmers on the coastal plains.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Commissioners with the Texas Commissioner on Environmental Quality spent nearly six hours hearing testimony from those that would be affected by a request from the Lower Colorado River Authority to stop the flow of water coming from the Highland Lakes.

A crowd of about 250 farmers, water planners and state and local officials shared their thoughts with TCEQ about a request from the LCRA to stop the flow of water from the Highland Lakes unless the lakes had a combined storage of 1.1 million acre feet -- more than half full. 

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Matagorda is just another small Texas town, but its bay is one of the key areas in the state for oyster harvesting and processing. It’s also where the mouth of the Colorado River feeds into the Gulf of Mexico, which creates a unique habitat for animals that survive within a careful balance of fresh and salt water.

The area has been hit hard in recent years by drought, and the lack of rainfall has also taken its toll on the aquatic life, whose survival depends on the fresh water to lower the salinity levels of the bay, which is where shrimp hatch and oysters reproduce.

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