197 Acres Added to San Bernard NWR (TX)

Brazoria, TX, 4/7/2006: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today it has permanently protected an additional 197 acres of bottomland hardwood forestland for the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. The property, known as Dry Creek, will increase the size of critical refuge land for a variety of migratory songbirds and waterfowl. Dry Creek will be added to the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, located near the Gulf Coast.

Established in 1968, the San Bernard Refuge is located in the ‘central flyway’, one of four major migratory routes over the continental U.S., providing a haven for millions of migratory ducks, geese, and neo-tropical songbirds. The refuge is also home to scores of coastal live oak trees and many other wildlife species.

The Dry Creek project marks TPL’s ninth collaboration with the USFWS and the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge where, since 1999, the Trust has protected more than 6,233 acres for the wildlife refuge.

“As critical as this ecosystem is to local and migratory wildlife, its value to the community is likewise,” said Amy Wanamaker, TPL project manager. “This conservation effort helps preserve the natural assets that attract people to this area.”

TPL purchased and conveyed the property to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) with funding provided by the Migratory Bird Commission.

In 1995, FWS initiated a regional land conservation planning effort known as the Austin’s Woods Conservation Plan to protect the region’s unique ecosystem. The initiative calls for the protection of 28,000 acres of native wetlands in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Matagorda, and Wharton Counties. This area’s ecosystem provides habitat for 237 species and 239 million individual birds annually.

Located south of Houston, the region was once a vast ecosystem of bottomland hardwood forests and wetlands encompassing over 700,000 acres and reaching nearly 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The area has suffered from clear-cut logging operations and new suburban development. Today, only 177,000 acres of this habitat type remain along the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Trust for Public Land is a nation nonprofit that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities. Since its founding in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2.1 million acres of land in 46 states. In Texas, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres for communities, including areas in and around Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. For more information please visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org