Major Milestone Completed with New Bird Rookery Island


The Texas Trustee Implementation Group expands important colonial bird nesting bird habitat in Galveston Bay with its completion of the construction phase of Dickinson Bay Island II. This island is one of the four rookery islands included in the Phase IV Early Restoration Texas Rookery Islands project: Dickinson Bay Bird Island II, Rollover Bay Island and Smith Point Island in the Galveston Bay system, and Dressing Point Island in East Matagorda Bay. A similar project for birds, Dickinson Bay Island I, was completed in 2006 and has hosted nesting birds every year since then. Based on observations of birds using that project, we expect large numbers of many different colonial bird species to flock to Dickinson Bay Island II. Great blue heron, little blue heron, snowy egret, roseate spoonbill, black-crowned night heron, white ibis, laughing gull, brown pelican, and Forster’s tern are some of the species we expect to see. 

Construction of the approximately eight-acre Dickinson Bay Island II, will provide bird nesting and foraging habitat using earthen fill, an armored shoreline that includes a rock breakwater and rock reef, and scrub-shrub plants. The Galveston Bay Foundation, our project partner and who originally planned this project’s concept, will oversee the next phase of the project: installation of the native vegetation to promote nesting and foraging. Some of the native vegetation may be grown on site using locally sourced seeds. The project will then be monitored for five years by the Foundation and the Trustees.   

As with many other construction projects across the nation, the Dickinson Bay Island II project was challenged by supply shortages, delivery, and transportation issues characteristic of the past few years. For example, tug boat captains available to transport rock down the Mississippi River from Kentucky were in short supply, as were truck drivers who could deliver sand from upland sand sources to provide island fill. Thanks to the cooperation, flexibility and diligent work of our project partners, we are completing project construction with only a minimal delay and in time for this year’s nesting season.   

Galveston Bay provides some of the most diverse and abundant colonial bird populations along the Gulf of Mexico’s coast and in the Nation. We are looking forward to beginning the construction of other islands in the Texas Rookery Island Project in 2023 and 2024.    

Visit the Texas Restoration Area webpage for more information about this project and many others.  All drone photos provided by Galveston Bay Foundation.