RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The restoration of Bahia Grande represents one of the greatest conservation success stories in the nation, and the critical need to protect the unique lomas of the Rio Grande Valley offers another outstanding opportunity for cooperative conservation.

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 and the building of Highway 48.

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

Traveling east on Highway 4 from Brownsville and heading to Boca Chica, you pass intermittent patches of dense brush and perhaps notice scattered green hills on distant tidal flats.

These lomas or little hills, are unique geological formations found in only three places in the world, Australia, Africa, and deep South Texas, and are perhaps the best wildlife habitat remaining in the Rio Grande Valley.

While Bahia Grande is protected and is now part of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, the rare lomas are mostly on Brownsville Navigation District property and subject to development.

To learn more about the inspiring story of Bahia Grande’s remarkable restoration, and the critical need for similar cooperative conservation to save the endangered lomas, join us at the new South Texas Ecotourism Center in Laguna Vista on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. as I will premiere my Bahia Grande documentary and present Vanishing Lomas.

I look forward to seeing you there!