HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — One of the greatest conservation success stories in the nation is being celebrated in the Rio Grande Valley with the remarkable restoration of Bahia Grande.

The vast tidewater basin sprawling across the southern tip of Texas, known collectively as Bahia Grande, encompasses 10,000 acres of wetlands and is the largest coastal restoration project in Texas and one of the largest in the United States.

For decades the historic wetland, between Brownsville and Port Isabel, was a dustbowl following the construction of the ship channel in the early 1930s.

However, after more than 25 years of cooperative effort with some 65 partners, known as the Bahia Grande Restoration Partnership, the wetland is being restored and is now a functioning estuary exemplified by this impressive school of redfish.

With the recent completion of a permanent channel linking Bahia Grande to the ship channel, tidal waters are once again circulating throughout the basin, which is part of a 25,000-acre tract known as the Bahia Grande Unit of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Cameron County Marine Extension Agent and Sea Grant biologist, Tony Reisinger, has been involved with the project for decades and is thrilled to see the restoration come to fruition.

“It is the best success story that I have ever experienced.”

If you would like to learn more about this inspiring conservation success story, join us on Saturday, July 9 at the South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center at 6 p.m. for a special presentation of my documentary “Bahia Grande the Largest Coastal Restoration in Texas.”

The Saturday evening showing is open to the public at no charge, but seating is limited so if you would like to attend please RSVP to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center at 956-761-6801.