Land Acquisition, Conservation Easement Result from Pollution Settlement
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved a 690-acre land acquisition that increases the size of Mustang Island State Park near Corpus Christi to 4,783 acres. In addition, the commission agreed to accept a 100-acre conservation easement donation adjacent to the park.
Both land actions result from the settlement of a pollution mitigation case brought in 2005 against Asarco and Encycle, which operated smelting and waste management facilities that discharged pollutants into upper Corpus Christi Bay for more than 60 years. The Texas Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees awarded a portion of the settlement funds to buy the two tracts. Besides TPWD, the other trustees are the Texas General Land Office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The TPW Commission authorized the purchase of the 690-acre tract in August 2014 and the transaction was finalized in October.
The 100-acre tract adjacent to Mustang Island State Park is being purchased by the Nature Conservancy-Texas Chapter and the terms of the acquisition require that a conservation easement be held by TPWD to assure the land is managed in perpetuity for conservation of coastal habitats and natural resources. With this acquisition, the state park is now connected to the 300-acre Francine Cohn Preserve, owned and managed by the conservancy. Both parties have long wanted to connect the park and the preserve with a conservation corridor.
Mustang Island State Park opened to the public in 1979. The park straddles Mustang Island, with more than five miles of beach fronting on the Gulf of Mexico, and the back side of the park extending to the shores of Corpus Christi Bay. Mustang Island has developed rapidly in recent years, and few opportunities remain to enlarge the popular state park for visitors and wildlife. The largest opportunity was the 690-acre property known as the Facey Tract on the north end of the park running from Highway 361 to Corpus Christi Bay, with a half mile of boundary in common with the park. The coastal conservation community worked for more than a decade seeking the means to acquire this tract for addition to the state park.
Information about Mustang Island State Park can be found online at http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-