The Oyster Lake Shoreline Protection and Marsh Restoration Project partners were recognized by USFWS Southwest Region with their Partnership of the Year Award for 2016. The Southwest Region annual awards recognize their employees. Scott Williams with the Coastal Program was the lead USFWS employee on this project. He and the project team were selected for the award. The Galveston Bay Foundation was the lead organization on this project. DU secured and administered federal grant funds (NOAA) and provided survey, engineering and design services, and construction management. The project enhanced coastal habitats within Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.
Historically, the calm, shallow waters of Oyster Lake have supported submerged aquatic vegetation and oysters. Unfortunately, waves have impacted the shoreline with severe erosion, resulting in vegetation and soil losses. A breach in the project shoreline would open Oyster Lake up to the higher wave energies of West Bay and likely result in conditions within Oyster Lake that would no longer be conducive to supporting seagrasses or oysters.
Installing hard structure breakwaters immediately reduces wave energy affecting the shoreline, protecting seagrass beds and providing substrate for oysters. Project benefits include enhanced habitat and feeding grounds for waterfowl, fish and wading birds. Project partners included NOAA, Restore America's Estuaries, CCA -Texas, NRG Energy, NRCS, Chenier Energy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Galveston Bay Estuaries Program of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Ducks Unlimited, the Texas General Land Office, Galveston Bay Foundation and the USFWS’s Coastal Program, Gulf Restoration Program and Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.