OYSTER TYCOONS FIGHT OVER BAYBOTTOM TERRITORY AS REEFS RECOVER FROM FLOODING More action is expected next week in the Galveston County courtroom hosting part of the ongoing underwater real estate fight involving some of the biggest names in the local oyster fishing industry, writes Harvey Rice. At stake: oyster rights on 23,000 acres of subsea land leased out in 2014 by the Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District — including some areas already leased out to other fishermen by Texas Parks and Wildlife. The move spurred several lawsuits, first from the lessee’s industry competitors and (former) friends, and later from the state of Texas itself; the issue has since worked its way to several appeals courts, one of which stopped the case from being moved to Chambers County. And even the oysters themselves have faced a dramatic few years, Rice notes, between the recent Houston–area flooding (which sent enough freshwater runoff to the coast to drastically alter the bay’s salt levels) and the stretch of drought before that (which let salinity get too high). [Houston Chronicle] Map of oyster habitat in Galveston Bay: General Land Office
Weathered to a driftwood finish outside, a secluded 1988 home clad in Cypress wood (and lotsa porches) overlooks Trinity Bay in Beach City, located off FM 2354 in Chambers County. Dark paint colors and stained craftsman-inspired woodwork inside formalize the waterfront property, though its 3 acres — and 400 ft. of bay frontage — are better described as near the water than on it (top). A relisting earlier this month — after a 2-week break over New Year’s — marks the property’s first anniversary on the market. The asking price is $1.15 million, down from the initial ask of $1.3 million a year ago and a couple mid-run reductions.
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House of Panes
CALLING MCCOLLUM PARK’S BLUFF McCollum Park in Beach City, closed since Hurricane Ike, should reopen this summer, after Chambers County officials get a little work done: “The park sits on a bluff overlooking the bay and the edge of that bluff now sits about 20 feet farther back than it did before Ike. Wallace demonstrated that the damaged bluff is actually in worse shape than it looks at a casual glance. ‘Look up under there,’ he said, pointing out the problem. ‘It didn’t break off clean … the waves undercut the bluff. Somebody could stand there close to the edge and think it is safe and then the ground could just drop right out from under them. That’s the main reason we had to close the park,’ [County Commissioner Bill] Wallace said.” [Baytown Sun]