A Tribute to Henry Hamman

Henry Hamman, one of the founders of the Matagorda Bay Foundation, passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. Henry was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, and most importantly, Henry was a mentor and a dear friend of mine.
In my academic and professional life, I have been blessed to have had so many mentors that took the time to share their experiences and knowledge with me and encourage and support me in my various pursuits. I will miss my weekly conversations with Henry, and hope to see him somewhere down the road.

We will continue our work to conserve the natural resources of the Matagorda Bay Ecosystem and will do so to honor Henry's dedication to the Texas outdoors.

Our president Jim Blackburn wrote the following tribute to Henry that I'd like to share:

Raising a Glass to Henry

To Henry Hamman I offer this toast,
To me he was simply one of the most
Supportive friends that one could find,
To me there’s no doubt he was one of a kind.

Henry and I did environmental things
That a deeply felt love for nature brings,
Henry was committed to Matagorda Bay,
And helping whooping cranes along the way.

For over thirty years he’s been my friend,
We’d meet for breakfast every now and then,
And talk of the coast and oysters and trout,
And how the quail crop was filling out.

We’d talk of rain and south Texas grass,
And how the river was flowing fast,
We’d talk of the future of the bay,
And how freshwater had been taken away.

He and I started the Matagorda Bay Foundation,
A group we spoke of with elation,
A finger in the Texas environmental dike,
A group that told power to take a hike.

We wanted to protect something that we loved,
A place of marsh and seagrass and mud,
An unsettled place unlike Galveston Bay,
A place a bit wild, a bit out of the way.

The last time we met, Henry had trouble walking,
But he was still eloquent, no trouble talking,
You could see the frustration with his physical condition,
But it did not interfere with his Matagorda mission.

So I raise my glass to a friend I enjoyed,
And wish him well on his final voyage,
And when I go fishing on Matagorda Bay
Henry and I will have a few words to say.

Memorial Donations

Houston Jazz Collective
Brandon Parr
Navarro Well Service LLC - Cindy Herklotz
Bryan Wagner, Wagner Oil
Charles Nash
Charles McCord III
Stormy Stone
George and Kathleen Hardart
Mr. and Mrs. James A. Baker III

Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust Funds Boat Purchase for MBF and Port of Bay City Matagorda Harbor Donates Wet Slip

We recently took ownership of our new 22 ft. Trans Cat boat. The purchase was funded by the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust and will allow us to participate in search and recovery of turtle strandings,  site reviews, environmental response, expand our education and outreach, and serve the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the Port of Bay City Matagorda Harbor (Craig Hlavinka and crew) we have a home base at Matagorda Harbor. We are overwhelmed with the generosity and assistance we have been receiving to build our organization.

Phillips 66 gives $26,000 for East Matagorda Bay Wetlands Project

SWEENY, January 19, 2023 – Phillips 66 recently contributed $26,000 to the Matagorda Bay Foundation for its East Matagorda Bay Wetlands Project in partnership with Texas A&M University and the AgriLife Research Station. Funds were used to purchase freshwater inflow monitoring equipment to develop freshwater inflow standards for the sustainability of East Matagorda Bay wetlands and estuarine waters.

“We are excited about this generous donation and our new connection with Phillips 66,” Bill Balboa, Executive Director of the Matagorda Bay Foundation, said. “These funds will help us understand physical processes at work in one of Matagorda Bay’s largest tidal wetland complexes and help us conserve and protect these critical habitats. Tidal wetlands are important as nursery areas for juvenile fish and shellfish but also help to protect our shores and help sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere. We are very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to working with Phillips 66 in the future.”

"Environmental stewardship is a priority at Phillips 66," Jessica Follett, Phillips 66 Field Communications & Public Affairs Advisor, said. "Matagorda Bay is a vital resource and findings from this project will allow stakeholders to better plan for and manage freshwater resources to preserve the ecosystem."

The study is Phase II of an effort focusing on the Lake Austin watershed that drains into Matagorda Bay, which contains Peyton Creek, Chinquapin Bayou, and Live Oak Bayou, among several other smaller tributaries. Researchers are quantifying average flow rates into and out of the basin, mapping vegetation and hydrologic network changes since the 1940s, and developing volumetric flow rate standards to sustain wetland cover and identify potential restoration actions. The project outcome will inform freshwater inflow standards and the management and restoration actions required to attain wetland sustainability in Lake Austin and East Matagorda Bay.

The project is part of a broader effort to implement the Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan under the Texas General Land Office. Phillips 66 established Focus Areas of Giving includes Environment Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15.1: Life on Land - Conserve and Restore Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems.

Matagorda Bay Foundation Assist TPWD during Xmas Freeze with Sea Turtle Recovery Efforts

Staff from the Matagorda Bay Foundation, and Alyssa Dibbern were able to use the MBF’s newly acquired outboard to assist TPWD  over the Xmas holiday freeze to locate and transport cold stunned sea turtles found in East Matagorda Bay. Fortunately, the number of turtles recovered was a small fraction of previous freeze events.

UPDATE - The Dog Island Project

We have finally executed the purchase and acquisition of the Dog Island property, and in agreement with the terms of the grant, the title has been transferred to Matagorda County. We have a long-term lease with Matagorda County (the new owner) and have been busy building trails and posting signs on the island. If you’d like to help us, please send us an email or post on Facebook.

UPDATE - The Oliver Point and Oliver Reef Restoration Project

We were recently awarded a grant of $272k dollars to complete engineering and design for the Oliver Point and Oliver Reef restoration Project. The funds are from the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust and will carry the project to the construction ready stage. “The Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust was established as a result of a Final Consent Decree in Cause No. 6:17-CV-00047 on December 9, 2019, San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper and S. Diane Wilson, vs. Formosa Plastics Corp., Texas and Formosa Plastics Corp., U.S.A., in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Victoria Division. The funds administered by this program have funded research and restoration in the Lavaca-Matagorda Bay system.

The Matagorda Bay Foundation has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, Texas General Land Office, and Trull Foundation on a project to protect important tidal wetlands habitats and restore a large oyster reef complex damaged by hurricane Claudette in 2003.  The project also provides significant secondary benefits and serves as protection from wave energy for a series of fragile shell ridges, and shallow bay habitats in the adjacent Coon Island Bay complex. Historically Oliver Point and Oliver Reef served as natural breakwaters, the first line of defense, against erosive wave energy destined for the habitats and shorelines north of Oliver Point. This project is the first stage of a multi-staged habitat protection plan to protect, enhance, and restore the shell ridges and wetlands at Coon Island Bay. If you'd like more information or would like to donate to this effort, please click on the "Donate" tab on our website.

Thank you.

Help Us - Donate to the Dog Island Acquisition Fund

We need your help to preserve this unique piece of central Texas coastal habitat. We are in the final stages of fundraising but need additional funds to purchase Dog Island.  Times are hard these days, and money is scarce. If you can afford to donate a few dollars please click on the "Donate" tab and give what you are able. If you cannot afford a donation, please share this with employers or any others that might be willing to help us. Help us help Matagorda Bay - The Heart of the Texas Coast.

Please take a moment to click on this link and view the Dog Island Project Story Map - https://arcg.is/inm1a0


Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts - Matagorda Bay Study

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA) contracted with Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in 2019 to conduct research to: (1) inform the development of effective conservation strategies for endangered sea turtles and (2) explore opportunities for avian conservation relative to potential impacts from flooding and sea rise by implementing a multi-disciplinary ecosystem assessment of Matagorda Bay.

Researchers will compile, collect and analyze abiotic and biotic data to provide comprehensive results to Matagorda Bay stakeholders. Benthic mapping along segments of open water will identify important estuarine habitats, including oyster reefs and seagrass beds, and establish a baseline habitat condition. Mapping will be closely associated with water quality and biological sampling to gather insight on the ecological processes taking place in the bay.

Matagorda Bay hosts several species of endangered and threatened sea turtles that forage on jellyfish, crab and seagrasses sheltered in its shallow waters. Researchers will capture, tag and track sea turtle movement to determine how they utilize available resources. Tissue samples will fit sea turtles into the context of a larger food web analysis. By collecting sea turtle, fish and plant tissues, researchers hope to evaluate energy flow pathways within the bay ecosystem.

Finally, researchers will collect data necessary to establish baseline conditions of marsh productivity. Marshes play a fundamental role in bay health. The productivity of these habitats influences the abundance and diversity of the marine and avian life that enrich the bay ecosystem.