Research to begin at largest artificial reef in Texas

Special to the PRESS

The city limits of South Padre Island Texas encircle approximately 1,600 acres comprised of some of our nation’s most beautiful beach and bay shores. Approximately thirteen miles northeast of the city, on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, is a 1,650 acre site, approximately 80 feet below the waves, that is not so visible. This is the site of the largest artificial reef in Texas.

The reef is a collaborative between Friends of RGV Reef and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). It is the result of a seven-year mission, permitted through Texas Parks and Wildlife, conceived to bring back red snapper and other sea life populations.

On the afternoon of Monday May 9, a news conference was held at the SPI Courtyard Marriott to announce a new study aimed at determining the carbon sequestration potential of this 1,650 acre site. It is believed that reefs, both natural and manmade, capture and store carbon – an act of carbon sequestration – and can assist in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide.

Thanks to a $250,000 Fueling Futures grant from Enbridge Inc. to Friends of RGV Reef, samples from the reef and marine life can be collected to advance research to answer these questions.

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