Fact vs Fiction
FICTION: STORM will take away your rights for recreational activities on their property which includes: Boating, Fishing, Anchoring, Poling Down and Swimming.
FACT: STORM, or any other submerged land owner, cannot take away your legal right to enjoy public water above the submerged bottom. As cited in Goulds Law of Waters 1883, "The right of navigation includes the right to anchor as incidental to its beneficial enjoyment".
In fact, we at STORM take pride in seeing recreational fisherman enjoying the oyster reefs we have built.
FICTION: STORM will stop all commercial fishing activities on their submerged lands.
FACT: STORM encourages shrimping on our reefs because the gear (nets) used does not damage the reefs. In fact, by dragging the nets over the reef it exposes clean shell for oyster larvae to attach to while also removing sediment off of the reef.
Crabbing is beneficial and encouraged on our oyster reefs because it prevents the crab from consuming large quantities of juvenile oysters. Oyster drills are also a predator to the oyster. Crab traps attract these drills which aid in the removal from the oyster reef.
Trot lining is encouraged because black drum consume oysters as large as five inches.
Sea Grant research states that “black drum captured from oyster reef areas prefer to eat oysters, averaging one oyster per pound of body weight per day".
The ONLY activity we at STORM WILL NOT ALLOW on our submerged bottoms are unauthorized oystermen illegally taking oysters and damaging the bottoms where we have planted and devoted years of time to grow these oysters and the reefs they grow on.
FICTION: STORM will prevent land owners from building piers.
FACT: NO, STORM cannot prevent adjacent land owners from building a pier. The STORM / CLCND* lease requires that all easements, structures and piers be permitted and built in accordance with applicable laws of the State of Texas. The right to grant or deny a permit lies with CLCND not STORM; STORM must consent to reasonable request.
FICTION: STORM will take more than 50% of Galveston, Trinity and East Bay.
FACT: The Galveston, Trinity and East Bay complex is over 385,000 acres of submerged land; STORM is leasing 23,000 acres of that area, which is less than 6%. The STORM property lies solely in Trinity/ Galveston Bay.
FICTION: This lease will allow STORM to monopolize the oyster industry.
FACT: Of the 23,000 acres we estimate there are only 1,000 acres of readily buildable bottom for oysters. Each of the other oyster leaseholders control thousands of acres of oyster bottom in Texas and Louisiana, one of which controls over 30,000 acres alone.
FICTION: STORM will attempt to prevent the development of minerals or interfere with pipelines in the bay.
FACT: STORM cannot prevent the development of minerals or interfere with pipelines because STORM has no mineral rights and no pipeline rights. The State of Texas owns the minerals. The Navigation District controls the pipeline right of way rights. STORM merely has a right of prior notice to move its oysters out of harm’s way if mineral production or a pipeline right of way must displace an oyster bed.
FICTION: The lease obtained by STORM exceeds the CLCND enabling authority.
FACT: The CLCND enabling authority, found at Texas Constitution Art. 16, Section 59, states in pertinent part “[t]he conservation and development of all of the natural resources of the state, . . . the navigation of its inland and coastal waters, and the preservation and conservation of all such natural resources of the state are each and all hereby declared public rights and duties.” . . . “There may be created . . . districts as may be determined to be essential to the accomplishment of the purposes of this amendment to the constitution, which districts shall be governmental agencies and bodies politic and corporate with such powers of government and with the authority to exercise such rights, privileges and functions concerning the subject matter of the amendment as may be conferred by law.” Among other things, the Texas Water Code authorizes the Navigation District to improve the bay within the district or adjacent to the district (see Texas Water Code Section 61.111.)
The constitution charges the CLCND with the right and duty to preserve, conserve and develop all natural resources within its district and the Water Code authorizes the District to improve the bay. Oysters are one such natural resource. Growing oysters will improve the bay. The STORM lease furthers the CLCND constitutional charge and duty, and is within its statutory authority to improve the bay.
CLCND: Chambers- Liberty Counties Navigation District