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A comprehensive environmental baseline study of a 24,000-mi2 segment of the outer continental shelf (OCS) is being conducted in the Gulf of Mexico off south Texas by the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Rice University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other institutions. The area to be studied extends from the Matagorda peninsula southward to the U.S.-Mexican boundary and seaward to the 600-ft depth contour.

The $1.5 million research effort in 1975 is a phase of an extended study known as the South Texas OCS Environmental Assessment Program, funded by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management and aimed primarily at gathering environmental baseline data prior to exploratory drilling to be undertaken after the scheduled lease sale for the south Texas outer continental shelf.