BAYTOWN, Texas -- Brown pelicans, long-necked egrets, flamingo-like roseate spoonbills and squawking seagulls fly lazily around a Texas Gulf Coast island. Nearby, a toddler-aged wetland seeded with marsh grass completes the ecosystem, its thousands of inhabitants unaware their home is a manmade creation dredged from the Houston Ship Channel.
It's all part of a 20-year-old project to restore lost wetlands and islands off the Texas coast. The federal government is hoping it could become a model for rebuilding these crucial ecosystems elsewhere in the five-state Gulf region.
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