We are happy to share news that the $6.25M Bolivar Nature Trail proposal Houston Audubon submitted for RESTORE Act Direct Component (Bucket 1) funding was included on the draft funding list published on the Restore the Texas coast website on February 17, 2017. The RESTORE Act (the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act) is a United States federal statute that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 6, 2012.
The next step is a 45-day public comment period followed by submission to the federal Treasury for approval as part of the Multi-year Implementation Plan. More information can be found on the RESTORE the Texas Coast website at https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/.
Over the past 18-24 months, Richard Gibbons, Houston Audubon Conservation Director, has been working with the National Park Service and several partners to develop specific projects to include in the proposal. In June, Houston Audubon submitted a proposal on behalf of the partners to enhance or develop 13 Bolivar Peninsula Nature Trail sites. The funding, if received, will be used to install interpretive and wayfinding signage, improve parking areas, build or repair approximately four miles of trails and boardwalks, construct observation towers, develop a High Island visitor center, and acquire and restore sensitive habitat.
Below are specific elements:
• Acquisition of priority conservation property in the High Island area
• Habitat restoration
• Refurbishment of Crenshaw Nature Trail
• Development and construction of a nature-based visitor center in High Island’s Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary, including public restrooms
• Wayfinding highway signage, location signage, boardwalks, parking pads, kiosks
• Refurbishment of Fort Travis bathrooms, new pavilion, and public access to bunkers
• Kayak launch and boat ramp refurbishment at Yacht Basin Road
While we still have to make it through another round of evaluation, this is very promising news! We are cautiously optimistic as we’ve made it through the largest hurdle to be published on the draft list. Future progress will be posted here.