Galveston Bay Foundation Getting Help in Coastal Marsh Restoration

The Galveston Bay Foundation is getting some high powered help in its ongoing effort to restore a coastal marsh near Galveston. As Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports, several dozen sailors from the Navy's newest submarine have volunteered to help out.

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The submarine Texas is tied up at Galveston for official commissioning ceremonies Saturday, and several dozen members of the crew are using their shore leave to plant grass in a marsh on the north shore of Galveston Bay near Hitchcock. Galveston Bay Foundation President Bob Stokes says restoring wetlands is very important work.

"Wetlands in Galveston Bay provide excellent habitat for both fish and birds. I think over 90 percent of our commercially and recreationally valuable fish in Galveston Bay spend some portion of their life cycle in and around wetlands."

Stokes says his volunteers include a bunch of submarine sailors who volunteered for the work. That happened because a Galveston Bay Foundation member is related to someone on the submarine commissioning committee , and the relative knew that the submarine crew was available for some volunteer projects while they're here.

"But we have a great group of volunteers out here. These guys are excited to be out on dry land doing something fun. Some of them wish they had their fishing poles with them."

Stokes had 14 sailors out slogging around in the marsh today, and he expects another 14 or 15 to join him tomorrow, and he says together they'll come close to the foundation's goal of restoring over 200 acres of marsh to that area of the bay. The submarine Texas will officially become the USS Texas, when First Lady Laura Bush commissions it Saturday at the Port of Galveston. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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