From Rockport to Jasper, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) sites, facilities and equipment suffered significant losses from Hurricane Harvey. Damages to TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division facilities alone totaled more than $1.5 million.
Most of the repairs weren’t eligible for insurance or FEMA reimbursement, and there are many competing priorities for limited state dollars. With that in mind, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman Emeritus Lee Bass pledged $500,000 for a private fundraising effort for Coastal Fisheries Division losses, and many other generous foundations and individuals also pitched in. Thanks to these gifts, $1.5 million was raised and is being deployed for repairs up and down the coast.
One of two critically important research vessels that were damaged is already back in the water, and the second one is now being repaired. Facility repairs are underway, and the Dickinson Marine Lab reconstruction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Many other repair projects are also in progress.
“The assistance we have received from Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the generous people who supported the Coastal Fisheries storm recovery effort have been invaluable,” said Robin Riechers, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division Director. “We’re on our way back to 100% operational capabilities. These facilities drive everything we do, which allows us to stock over 24 million fish a year in coastal waters and maintain our sampling and protection of Texas’ coastal resources.”