Wetlands are defined as transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic systems, and they are among the most productive biological systems on the planet. Texas coastal wetlands are highly productive biologically. They serve as nursery grounds for over 95 percent of the recreational and commercial fish species found in the Gulf of Mexico, and provide breeding, nesting, and feeding grounds for more than a third of all threatened and endangered animal species as well as supporting many endangered plant species, and provide permanent and seasonal habitat for a great variety of wildlife, including 75 percent of North America’s bird species. Wetlands also serve important functions ranging from reducing waterborne pollutants to providing natural buffers against flooding and erosion. Texas Coastal wetlands are also extremely important economically. In Galveston Bay alone, the recreational and commercial fishing industries combined are valued at over $3 billion annually, and support over 40,000 jobs in the area (EPA, 2005).
However, the Galveston Bay system has experienced a significant loss of wetlands over the last 50 years. Between the 1950s and the 1990s, the Galveston Bay system experienced a net loss of nearly 35,000 acres of its wetlands, due to a variety of human and natural causes. Recent research indicates that wetland loss is continuing at rapid rates. Because of this loss, habitat degradation has been identified as the most critical of all the problems currently facing Galveston Bay (Galveston Bay Plan).
For this reason, the Galveston Bay Foundation is working on a number of small scale and large scale wetland restoration projects and will continue to work to restore wetlands across Galveston Bay. To date, GBF has preserved, protected and restored over 16,500 acres of habitat. GBF’s Habitat Conservation Blueprint identifies and characterizes potential sites in the Galveston Bay system and recommends strategies for conservation or restoration. For more information on our ongoing wetland restoration projects please see the links below: