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Matagorda Bay Buy Now View of the beach along Matagorda Bay in Palacios.

TX - Matagorda Bay trust announces new funding for local projects

Millions of dollars will go toward coastal environment projects and education programs in the Crossroads this year.

The Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust, created in the wake of an environmental group's legal victory over Formosa Plastics Corp. in December 2019, announced Monday it will provide a total of $5.8 million to 15 projects this year.

Biologists study mercury levels inside and nearby Superfund site

"The trust is really to excited to fund these projects," Trustee Steven Raabe said Wednesday. "We want to embrace projects and programs that are for the betterment of our bays."

This year's selections cover habitat restoration, research projects and accessibility improvements. One project receiving funds from the Trust is a mercury concentration study inside an area of Lavaca Bay closed to fishing.

Biologists study mercury levels inside and nearby Superfund site

The trust also plans to give $25,811 to local public education programs and $186,213 to the Calhoun County YMCA for its Palacios Summer Day Camp.

Raabe said the efforts funded by the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust will begin during the first half of 2023.

Under the terms of its settlement with local environmentalists, Formosa agreed to pay the trust $10 million annually from 2020 to 2024. The payments from the plastics corporation fund the mitigation trust's support of projects and programs benefiting bays and river deltas in the Crossroads.

MBMT news release

"Some of the environmental research projects may take up to three years to complete," Raabe said. "Even if we aren't bringing in any new money after 2024, we will still have funds to provide."

Here are the projects and programs the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust is funding this year:

Habitat restoration

  • $271,280 to the Matagorda Bay Foundation for the Oliver Point and Oliver Reef Restoration Project
  • $500,000 to the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program for Matagorda Island Gulf Shoreline Erosion and Pass Cavallo Exchange Restoration

Environmental research

  • $500,000 to the University of Houston-Clear Lake for a study in mircroplastic distribution and impacts to the diamond-backed terrapin, highlighting public education effects and future levels of sea level rise
  • $416,817 to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for the Sediment Quality Assessment Survey of San Antonio Bay
  • $499,500 to the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute for a study evaluating the photodegradation products of plastic nurdles and their toxicity in Matagorda Bay
  • $396,691 to the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute for research in the reproductive and developmental toxicity of "forever chemicals" to Matagorda Bay's prey fish
  • $499,985 to Texas A&M-Galveston for a study of microplastics in the Matagorda and San Antonio Bay systems
  • $497,818 to Texas State University for a study of sediment mercury concentrations in the Closed Area of Lavaca Bay and the risk to wildlife from mercury remobilization during dredging
  • $454,162 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for assessing the risk to ecosystem health from increasing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in Lavaca Bay
  • $399,998 to the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute for assessing the risks of lithium pollution on estuarine fishes
  • $463,382 to Tarleton State University for assessing impacts of microplastic pollutants across macroinvertebrate food webs in Matagorda Bay

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