More funding for NERR approved
The Legislature has moved to supply the latest influx of funding, $700,000, for the project to construct a headquarters building in Port Aransas for the Mission Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR).
The funding was part of the final 2010- 2011 budget approved by the Legislature on May 28. The budget awaits the signature of Gov. Rick Perry.
The $700,000 provides the state match for $9.5 million in federal funding for the NERR headquarters.
The headquarters will lie in a threestory structure to be built in a lot on the south side of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute complex.
UTMSI is the managing agency for the reserve, which includes 236,000 acres of estuaries and bays extending from near Port Lavaca to Port Aransas and encompassing Mission, Aransas and Redfish bays.
Officials anticipate breaking ground by late summer or early fall this year, with construction wrapping up in late 2010 or early 2011, said Sally Morehead, reserve manager.
Total cost of the facility is about $19.5 million, said Lee Fuiman, director of the Marine Science Institute. The project is being financed not only through state funds but also through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and private donations.
Georgia Neblett, executive director of the NERR, said State Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, helped a great deal in securing the funding.