BAYTOWN, Texas - A 20-year-old Texas project to restore its
dying wetland environment using material dredged from the Houston
Ship Channel could become a model for a broader federally backed
effort to fix the Gulf of Mexico's damaged ecosystem.
A $1 billion fund provided by BP as part of its responsibility
to the area following last year's massive oil spill will partially
pay for the restoration efforts. The Gulf Coast Restoration Task
Force is helping coordinate the projects.
Texas lost 35,000 acres of wetlands after the ship channel was
dredged in 1917. Since the 1990s it has reused the soil, creating
marshes, bird islands and oyster reefs.
These wetlands and barrier islands are crucial habitat for Gulf
wildlife and also provide storm protection to people who live in
the coastal area.