Snake Island Cove Habitat Protection and Seagrass Restoration Project
Snake Island Cove is a 900-acre shallow water, marsh-lined cove located in the Galveston Bay watershed just east of the community of Sea Isle and offshore from the newly developed Sunset Cove residential subdivision. Based on review of historic aerial photography using GIS, we estimate that over 200 acres of seagrasses were present in the sheltered waters of Snake Island Cove in 1956. Currently, only small, scattered patches of seagrasses are present at the site, primarily interspersed between remaining fragmented marsh. The estuarine intertidal marsh located within the project area is estimated to be eroding at a rate of five feet per year.
GBF's Snake Island Cove Project will construct up to 5,100 linear feet of geotextile tube breakwater to protect 200 acres of existing estuarine intertidal marsh complex and create approximately 75 acres of protected calm shallow water habitat conducive to the re-establishment of seagrass within the cove. To date 4,100 feet of breakwater has been constructed resulting in the protection of 200 acres of marsh complex and the creation of 65 acres of shallow water habitat for the re-establishment of seagrass. GBF is currently securing funds for Phase II of the project which will complete the remaining 1,000 feet of breakwater construction.
The project was jump started by two large voluntary cash donations from adjacent landowners Ross Novelli with Sunbird Development Company and Mr. Tom Bacon. These landowners challenged GBF to match their donations on a dollar for dollar basis. This private money was crucial in making this project happen and is an excellent example of a jumpstart private dollars can give to a worthy wetlands restoration effort. Other project partners include: Restore America's Estuaries, NOAA Restoration Center, USFWS Coastal Program, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Fish America Foundation, Cheniere Energy, and NOAA Fisheries, Habitat Conservation Division.