Presenter: Robin Riechers

Commission Agenda Item No. 14
Oyster Restoration Rules for East Bay
August 27, 2009

I. Executive Summary: In order to protect the restoration efforts of the damaged oyster reef(s) in the East Bay area of the Galveston Bay Complex, the Coastal Fisheries Division is recommending that the area be closed for two harvest seasons until the restoration efforts which are beginning this year can produce market size oysters.

II. Discussion: Hurricane Ike caused extensive damage to the oyster reef habitat (reefs) in East Bay within the Galveston Bay Complex. The damage is mainly caused by siltation on the reefs or a covering of the reef material with sediments. This does not allow for spat (juvenile oysters) to set on the reef and to begin the process of oyster reef repopulating in the area. In order to repopulate the reefs in East Bay, the department is beginning restoration work that is being funded with a federal disaster relief grant from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Restoration activities will be conducted by placing additional cultch (reef) material on these damaged areas. This will allow spat to attach to the material and for restoration to begin. The Coastal Fisheries Division is asking to close the East Bay approved area as designated by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in Galveston Bay for two harvest seasons which will allow for the oyster habitat to repopulate with oysters and for those oysters to reach market size. The closure boundary currently is used to mark the approved area for harvesting but since it is a commonly known boundary it will mark the closed area to the east of the ling.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts proposed amendments to §58.11, concerning Definitions and §58.21, concerning Taking or Attempting to Take Oysters from public Oyster Beds: General Rules, with changes as necessary to the proposed text (located at Exhibit A) as published in the July 24, 2009, issue of the Texas Register (34 TexReg 4843)."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Rule as Published
  2. Exhibit B - Map of Closed Area

Commission Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit B

Proposed East Bay Closure Site

Location of proposed closure line and shellfish markers in relation to oyster leases.

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Robin Riechers.