Matagorda Island Environmental Assessment (v.1); Matagorda Island Comprehensive Management Plan (v.2)
US Fish and Wildlife Services, Region 2
Texas General Land Office
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
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Matagorda Island (Island) is a largely undeveloped coastal barrier island off the middle Texas coast. It consists of approximately 56,668 acres located in Calhoun County, approximately 9 miles southwest of Port O'Connor and 48 miles southeast of Victoria, Texas. The Island is 38 miles long and varies between 0.75 and 4.5 miles in width. It is composed of Gulf beach front and adjacent sand dunes, flattened ridges interspersed with numerous freshwater wetlands, and brackish marshes along the Bay. The north end of the Island consists of 19.000 acres of Federal lands and 24, 893 acres of State (Texas General Land Office (GLO)) wetlands and Gulf lands. It is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) presently managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as a State Park and Wildlife Management Area. The south end consists of 11, 502 acres of Federal lands recently purchased from the Nature Conservancy. It is presently managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and also is part of the Refuge System. Five alternatives for management of the Island have been considered: (A) no action, (B) total State management of the entire Island, (C) total Federal management, (D) separate Federal/State management based on ownership, and (E) cooperative management, which is the proposed action. The proposed action implements a new Memorandum of Agreement for management of the entire Island. The Island will continue to be managed under a formalized agreement between the FWS, GLO, and TPWD. Management will be based on a jointly prepared Comprehensive Management Plan (Plan) for the entire Island. FWS will have primary responsibility for wildlife and habitat management. TPWD will have principal responsibility for compatible public use management. The GLO will retain primary jurisdiction over all State lands on the Island, subject to exisiting easements. A separate agreement between the FWS and The Nature Conservancy is proposed for use of several existing buildings on the south end of the Island for environmental education and research purposes. TPWD will have prinicpal responsibility for environmental education and will receive assistance from FWS and The Nature Conservancy. The proposed action is the only alternative that allows a truly integrated management scheme for all of Matagorda Island that is based on the expertise of all the cooperating parties. This option also appears to be the most acceptable to the State and Federal governments.