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South Padre Island, TX 78597
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Restore Act - Eco-Tourism Center North

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City of South Padre Island

TCEQ Restore Act Grant Applications

Project 2: Land Conservation, Education and Public Access Project – Eco-tourism Center Connection


Project Information:

  • Location: Vacant Wetland & Tidal Flat Parcels south of the Birding Nature and Science Center
  • Land to be Acquired: 22 acres (5 parcels)
  • Project Cost: $5,184,253.17
  • Total Protected Area: 25 (including Laguna edge algal flats)
  • Project Duration: 24 months (Two Phases)


Project Purpose:

  • Acquire 28.22 acres of mangrove & wetland habitat
  • Through partnerships, conserve 57.25 acres of rare and sensitive coastal habitat lands
  • Provide low-impact public access to the Laguna Madre
  • Promote environmental education in cooperation with UTRGV
  • Enhance recreational and eco-tourism opportunities, boosting the tourism-based local economy



  • Trust for Public Lands
  • Texas General Land Office
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)
  • Ocean Trust


Protected Areas & Enhancements:

The project will protect a variety of rare habitats on the island, most critically, nearly 22 acres of algal and cyanobacteria intertidal flats which provide some of the highest primary productivity for the island and provide feeding, breeding, and nursery grounds for a great variety of fish, shellfish, birds, and other wildlife. The conservation lands also include:

  • 2 acres of brackish pond
  • 6 acres of Black Mangrove forest
  • 5 acres of wind-tidal flats
  • 5 acres of cyanobacteria habitat (algal flats)
  • 4 acres of mud and sand flats
  • 5 acres of estuarine/intertidal wetlands


The public access, recreation and education improvements include:

  • Elevated boardwalk connecting the existing causeway trail network from the Nature center
  • Educational signage covering coastal habitat and conservation
  • One kayak launch
  • Birding/Fishing Platform
  • Observation/University Education Deck
  • 2 Parking Areas

The project is complimentary to the adjoining Sea Turtle Inc. facility, Ocean Trust Native Plant Center and the SPI Birding & Nature Center. Taken together, these “environmental education” facilities preserve more than 200 acres of Laguna Madre-fronting lands and will provide great eco-tourism, education and public access facilities for the community and visitors. The City has obtained documentation of willing sellers for the five parcels proposed for acquisition.


Project 2: Land Conservation, Education and Public Access Project – Eco-Tourism Center Connection

Eco-Tourism Center North 1

The figure to the left shows the overall site plan for project 2 with the adjacent environmental education facilities (Sea Turtle Inc, the Birding Center, and the Ocean Trust Native Plant Center. The land acquisition will allow for the extension of the public access boardwalks through this beautiful Laguna Madre fronting parcel.

Eco-Tourism Center North 2

The figure to the left shows the bird eye view of the project land acquisition and improvements to be provided in the grant.

Eco-Tourism Center North 3

Unit Unit Cost Quantity Total
Land AC 28 $1,300,000.00
Boardwalk (8') F $731.68 3411 $2,495,760.48
Birding/Fishing Platform SF $175.00 5 $875.00
Kayak Launch $50,000.00 1 $50,000.00
Unloading Area (Parking) $6,000.00 10 $60,000.00
Educational Signage $500.00 10 $5,000.00
Univ. Research Ctr. SF $200.00 2100 $420,000.00
Parking (40 spaces) $6,000.00 40 $240,000.00
Internal Road (24' shared use path) Mile $350,924.00 0.29 $101,767.96
Profession Fees: Appraisal, survey, design, permitting 7.70% $359,852.06
Grant Admin Fees 3.00% $150,997.67
SUBTOTAL $5,184,253.17