Galveston Bay Foundation to acquire land for its largest conservation project to date
The board of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has recently
approved the funding for the acquisition of approximately 4,650 acres of land in Galveston and Brazoria
Counties by the Galveston Bay Foundation – the largest conservation project for the Foundation to date,
both in terms of land value and acreage.
The acquisition is one of 20 new projects receiving a grant from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
(GEBF) created to support projects designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural
resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To date, NFWF has awarded more
than $1.4 billion to projects across the five Gulf States.
NFWF will provide the majority of the funding for the West Galveston Bay project, including $10,000,000
for the land acquisition and further $500,000 for habitat restoration, transactional expenses, and
establishing a conservation easement with the Katy Prairie Conservancy. The Galveston Bay Estuary
Program, who has financially supported Galveston Bay Foundation’s conservation efforts for many years,
will provide support for the acquisition as well. The Foundation anticipates having the funding agreement
in place in spring 2020 and closing on the transaction in July 2020. It will implement the initial restoration
and landscape management initiatives between 2020 and 2023.
The Chocolate Bay property is strategically located in the West Galveston Bay Conservation Corridor and
features expansive wetlands that provide significant wildlife and fisheries habitat for recreational and
commercially important species, including fish, shrimp, crabs, ducks, geese, cranes, alligators and many
other wetland-dependent fauna. The property will be preserved for conservation purposes in perpetuity,
further serving to enhance water quality in West Galveston Bay, preserve open space at a significant scale,
and expand upon successful conservation efforts by the Foundation in the area.
The project will be developed in phases, with immediate steps including habitat restoration and
promotion of native plant communities. The Foundation will also manage the landscape to encourage
wildlife habitat and enhance water quality in the West Galveston Bay.
“This will be an extraordinary acquisition for Galveston Bay, both in terms of the habitat value on the site
and the size of the tract” said Bob Stokes, Galveston Bay Foundation president. “It truly is ‘landscape scale’
conservation. Due to the continued growth of our region, it is more important than ever to conserve large
tracts of land like this now to ensure the future health of Galveston Bay.”
Since its establishment in 1987, Galveston Bay Foundation has conserved more than 8,000 acres of coastal
habitat through property acquisitions and conservation easements and is working to substantially
increase acreage conserved in the coming years. The Foundation is a member of the National Land Trust
Alliance (LTA) and was accredited by the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission in 2013 and re-
accredited in 2019. The Foundation is also a participating member of the Texas Land Trust Council (TLTC).
The Foundation continues to actively expand its land conservation efforts within the Galveston Bay
Watershed, focusing on protecting a wide range of habitats and land uses including freshwater and
estuarine wetlands, tallgrass prairies, coastal forests, and various agricultural lands. Conservation
easements are an excellent tool for private landowners who wish to conserve natural resources on their
land in perpetuity, but also wish to retain ownership of the land to enjoy and pass on to future
Learn more about the Foundation’s land conservation efforts and conservation easements
For more information on the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) go to:
For more on Chocolate Bay Wetland Habitat acquisition, go to: