By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
Coastal Resource and Parks Administrator Reuben Treviño was recently invited to speak and participate on a panel at the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER) in Coral Gables, Florida in April 2016. The SPI Shoreline Task Force discussed his attendance at the conference Monday afternoon during their regular meeting.
Task force members noted that Treviño was invited as a Texas representative to share how things are being done on Texas coasts in regards to ecosystem restoration. Treviño has played a part in many important projects on the shoreline including establishing the Dune Restoration program to ensure the health of Island dunes, which provide a natural protective barrier for the City’s infrastructure when storms come through. The program is funded by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and carried out with the help of volunteers who plant native species.
Additionally, in collaboration with the GLO and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), Treviño has been instrumental in growing the Beneficial Use Dredge Material (BUDM) project, which places material from the maintenance of the Brownsville Ship Channel onto Island beaches, widening them and mitigating erosion hotspot, as well as ensuring the economic benefits for the Port of Brownsville.
The committee considered recommending approval of Treviño’s attendance to the City Council, as well as the necessary budget amendment, however, some members expressed concerns because of the unknown cost. City Manager Bill DiLibero shared that organizations will often sponsor speakers, but with the variable cost, committee member Troy Giles requested that Treviño work on a report to present at the next task force meeting stating the proposed budget and expected benefits to the City. The committee also recommended that future conference attendees sponsored by the City should submit a post conference report.
The task force recognized that Treviño’s participation could bring in national exposure to Texas and specifically, South Padre Island. Giles said, “Generally speaking, you bet I’m for it,” adding, “Reuben is a good representative for the City, and he represents the City well, but is it really good for the City?”
Chairmain Paul Munarriz and task force member Virginia Guillot recently attended the Texas Beaches and Dunes: Science and Management Forum, and the chairman pointed out that exposure and making connections were among the primary benefits of attending a conference.
The Shoreline Task Force tabled the item and plans to further discuss the conference after hearing from Treviño at their next meeting.
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