740 Acres Added to San Bernard NWR (TX)

Brazoria, TX, 12/16/2005 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today it has permanently protected an additional 740 acres of bottomland hardwood forestland for the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. The property, known as Linville Bayou, will increase the size of critical refuge land for a variety of migratory songbirds and waterfowl. Linville Bayou 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 Linville Bayou 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, 270 acres for the wildlife refuge.

“This ecosystem is so important to local and migratory wildlife,” said Amy Wanamaker, TPL project manager. “It’s also some of the most beautiful land in Texas and it needs to be preserved so our children can experience and appreciate it. TPL is so pleased to be an ongoing partner in protecting this unique forestland.”

TPL purchased and conveyed the Linville Bayou property to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) with funding provided by the Migratory Bird Commission. Additional funding was provided by the Houston Audubon Society.

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.

“This parcel is a wonderful addition of prime forest habitat for neotropical migrant birds and other wildlife,” said Mike Lange, wildlife biologist for FWS. “We’re very excited to have made another major contribution to the national refuge system.”

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 million acres of land in 45 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