Building the RGV Reef: What a Fisherman and His Many Friends Can Do

February 6, 2022

The power of a motivated citizen-activist on full display!

On this episode, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham check in with Gary Glick, President of Friends of the RGV Reef, a coastal-citizen-led 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to building and restoring fish habitat, including nursery reefs, with the clear eyed goal of increasing the Gulf's fish stocks. Founded in 2015, the RGV Reef is now one of the largest artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, thanks in large part to the Gary's leadership in assembling a broad coalition of community supporters, including an inventive approach to sourcing donated reefing materials and suitable deepwater port frontage, and fostering science and research partnerships with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Texas A&M's Harte Research Institute. We talk to Gary about how it did it, what he has learned along the way, and where the RGV Reef goes from here. Hint: there's plenty of room to grow!

Show Transcription
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Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.