The Land Office provides grants to county sites

Three projects in Cameron County are targeted for grants from the Texas General Land Office to improve facilities and public access at two beaches, as well as improve stormwater runoff at a school in Rio Hondo.

One of the grants will go to improving beach access at County Beach Access No. 3, totaling $120,000 with an $80,000 county match, to build a sidewalk and dune boardwalk that will will comply with Federal Disability Acts.

The second project, also $120,000 with a local match of $80,000, will continue at Fantasy Circle Beach Access on South Padre Island, where the funds will be used to build a permanent restroom and a removable wooden walkway on the beach.

The third project is in Rio Hondo, where coastal wetland habitat will be created by upgrading existing stormwater management facilities to reduce diffuse pollution from runoff at Rio Hondo Middle School. The project will provide an outdoor classroom for students, with educational signage and classroom content that meets grade-level environmental science standards.

No dollar figures have been released on this project.

The Cameron County grants are part of $10 million awarded to 19 projects in nine coastal counties under the GLO Coastal Management Program.

Twelve of the projects, representing approximately $2 million in federal funds, will improve management of the state’s coastal resources and ensure the coast’s long-term ecological and economic productivity with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funds.

The other seven Special Merit Projects will receive approximately $8 million in public funds through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.

The bulk of these projects will provide funds for continued partnerships between GLO, partner agencies and research universities to update coastal wetland maps and build a living coastline to improve the overall resilience of the rating.

The Coastal Management Program focuses on four main issues of concern to coastal communities: improving public access, data collection, coastal risk and resilience planning, and improving coastal resources.

Gregory M. Roy