Park Officials Ask State for Funds to Stop Erosion
BROWNSVILLE – A popular Cameron County park for tourists and local fishermen is eroding. Local officials are asking the state for about half a million dollars to stop the damage
About 20 feet of shoreline was lost in the past 20 years at Adolph Thomae County Park. Officials want to put a barrier between the park and the Arroyo Colorado.
The park has been opened to the public since 1986. It’s a popular spot for fishermen, camping and visitors from all over the state.
John Childress and his family arrived from Houston and planned to spend their weekend at the park.
“I see a lot of fish on the surface out here. Met a fella out here earlier that caught a snook and two reds – that’s impressive,” he said.
Cameron County Parks Director Joe Vega said about 60,000 people visit the park each year. He said that’s why the county needs to invest in stopping its erosion.
“The park is eroding at about one, one-and-a-half foot per year,” he said.
Vega said barges traveling through the Arroyo Colorado and even storms contribute to the natural vegetation’s breakdown.
Some previous state funding was able to help create some barriers made of fiber glass, concrete and other materials to protect some of the park’s shoreline.
“It’s important to protect the roads. It’s important to protect our utilities, our amenities, because if we don’t invest to try to protect them now, it’s going to be a lot more expensive,” Vega said.
There’s still some vulnerable areas that need protection, like the heavily used boat ramp area. The county has agreed to pay nearly $300,000 for some special concrete barriers, if the state can pay for about a half-million dollars to complete the improvements.
Childress said it’s important to preserve and restore parks, especially one that borders a national refuge.
“Anytime you can do some park conservation for the public, it’s definitely, definitely a good thing. Because it attracts people from out of town, boosts economy, you know we are out here spending money,” Childress said.
He said he hopes to come back again for some more fishing with his young boys and wife.
Vega said they haven’t been able to build a retention wall all at once because of funding. If the state agrees to fund the project, Cameron County’s part of the costs will come from the park fee revenues.
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