The Matagorda County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) uses the county’s assets to promote economic development. Its goal is to diversify the county’s economy by creating an Energy Cluster that builds on our existing agricultural, chemical and power production assets. Assets on which to build are: renewable energy crops for power and fuel production, the South Texas Project nuclear plant, a state of the art coal power plant, three chemical plants, salt dome caverns for oil and natural gas storage, synthetic gas from industrial by-products, wind power and other renewable technology opportunities. The county’s multiple oil and gas lines; rail service by two providers; commercial barge service on the Intracoastal Waterway and Colorado River channel; high capacity transmission grid; air quality attainment; surface, ground and brackish water supplies, and large amounts of open land provide opportunities for various types of conventional, alternative and green energy processes.
We have an existing nuclear plant that will expand in the future. We have a power generation plant in the permitting process that will be driven by compressed air from salt dome caverns. We have companies storing gas and oil in salt dome caverns. We have gas processing plants and oil and gas well production. We have an extensive network of 345KV and 138KV power lines. We have a demonstration farm growing energy cane. We have an extensive network of oil, gas and other pipelines crisscrossing the county. We have large tracts for solar, wind, algae-to-green fuels and biomass production.
We have two shallow draft ports with developable industrial and commercial sites. Our LyondellBasell, OXEA, Celanese and Chemicals Inc. plants turn petroleum products into plastic resins, solvents, acetates, plastic pellets and special chemical blends. We want customers of these products to locate next to our production plants to eliminate shipping prices for these products.
But we have more. We have 67 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico, 63 miles of which will remain undeveloped. We have two large, shallow bays. We are known for our excellent bay and off-shore fishing. We host 60+ fishing tournaments annually. The Colorado and Tres Palacios Rivers and Caney Creek provide freshwater fishing. 200 shrimp and oyster boats operate from the county. Matagorda County is also known as a prime birding location, having recorded the most species sighted during the national one-day Audubon Christmas bird counts for 14 of the past 15 years (244 species in the 2011 count). Goose and duck hunting are seasonal attractions, and bay and river kayaking and canoeing are growing in popularity.
Matagorda County has a strong historical heritage. The village of Matagorda was the primary entry port for Stephen F. Austin’s early colony. It still has a large number of historic and architecturally interesting homes and sites. Bay City has mapped, self-guided historic home tours. Museums in Bay City and Palacios contain artifacts from “La Belle”, one of LaSalle’s ships that sank in 1686. Our ranching and farming history continues today. We have sixth and seventh generation ranch families. Twice annual cattle drives still occur down public highways and include swimming the Colorado River to and from pasturing on Matagorda Peninsula. Our farmers produce large quantities of rice, sorghum, corn and cotton. We want to expand into crops for renewable fuel production.
We are poised for growth. Come! Join us in making it happen.
Matagorda County’s tourism industry also continues to grow. It is based on outstanding fishing and boating activities, birding where the nation’s highest species count is regularly observed (234 species in the 2010Christmas Audubon Bird Count) and eco-tourism. East and West Matagorda Bays, the Gulf of Mexico, 67 miles for surf fishing and two rivers provide excellent salt- and fresh-water fishing opportunities. Kayaking and canoeing are growing in popularity and our beaches and rivers stay busy from season to season.
Other activities include golf and tours of historical markers, structures and communities.
About the MCEDC
The MCEDC Board represents all of Matagorda County. Its 11 appointed members represent five public funding entities–Matagorda County, Bay City Community Development, Palacios Economic Development, Matagorda County Navigation District #1, the Port of Bay City Authority and the four Chambers of Commerce from Bay City, Matagorda, Palacios and Sargent. An Executive Director and a Director of Communications implement Board directives.
The MCEDC is focused on growing Matagorda County through recruitment of new industries, commercial businesses, tourism infrastructure and through expansion of existing businesses. It seeks to expand our agriculture and aquaculture sectors through new crops for renewable fuel production and value-added opportunities.
MCEDC Board of Directors & Staff
Debbie Morris | Matagorda County Navigation District #1 | President
Judge Nate McDonald | Matagorda County Commissioners Court | Vice President
Susan Mitchell | Matagorda Area Chamber of Commerce | Secretary
George Harrison | Port of Bay City Authority | Treasurer
Mayor Mark Bricker | Bay City Community Development
Mayor John Sardelich | Palacios Economic Development
V.L. "Butch" Bowers | Palacios Chamber of Commerce
Tiger Lane | Sargent Chamber of Commerce
John Chipman | Palacios Economic Development
Councilwoman Carolyn Thames | Bay City Community Development
Mitch Thames | Bay City Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture
Michael D. Strotheide | Executive Director
Heather Menzies | Director of Communications