Coastal Conservation

Audubon Texas selected as 2021 Conservation Wrangler

Program will support our work to create more rookery islands in Matagorda Bay for nesting waterbirds.
Aerial view of Chester Island, an important rookery for nesting waterbirds in Matagorda Bay Photo: Jimmy Rogers
Coastal Conservation

Audubon Texas selected as 2021 Conservation Wrangler

Program will support our work to create more rookery islands in Matagorda Bay for nesting waterbirds.

Conservation Wrangler is an accelerator program that supports projects having a positive impact on people, prosperity, and natural resources. Through the program, Texan by Nature is working with Audubon Texas to create more rookery islands in Matagorda Bay by beneficially using dredged sediment and measuring the environmental and economic impacts from this type of habitat restoration. Texan by Nature is helping Audubon Texas to amplify messaging surrounding this project, educate Texans about the use of natural infrastructure along the coast, and get the Matagorda Bay community involved in ecotourism through birding.

Project Summary

Audubon Texas’s coastal conservation project strives to maintain and restore existing bird habitats while also looking ahead to create new critical breeding habitat for birds in Matagorda Bay. Twenty-seven waterbird species, including iconic species like Roseate Spoonbill and Brown Pelican, rely on Audubon Texas-managed rookeries to complete the nesting phase of their annual life cycle. These species, and the rich Matagorda Bay ecosystems where they live, are a vital part of Texas’s coastal identity.

Audubon Texas’s habitat stewardship includes monitoring nesting islands during the breeding season by performing formal breeding bird counts, reporting on nesting bird behavior, and patrolling islands to reduce disturbance. Long-term monitoring data informs the planning and implementation of meaningful habitat management. During non-breeding season our coastal wardens focus on habitat stewardship by managing invasive species, installing signs, removing debris, planting native plants, and reducing habitat erosion. Additionally, Audubon Texas is working to create new habitat by identifying suitable sites, designing lasting rookery islands, and advocating for new rookery islands in the bay.

Find out more about the Matagorda Bay Rookery Island Conservation project. Story map here...

Project Impact

  • A healthy Matagorda Bay will support ecotourism, ecosystem services, and recreational opportunities like birding to 164,833 residents.

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimates that there are 2.2 million bird watchers in Texas, a major driver in the $1.8 billion economic impact from Texas wildlife viewing.

  • The Texas Mid-coast has over 3,000 acres of managed habitat for coastal bird populations 

  • Habitat for more than 400 bird species. Audubon’s 2021 annual waterbird count at Chester Island alone recorded 18 species all nesting on a single 73-acre site.

Project Partners

Audubon Texas could not protect the coastal bird community without the help and collaboration from these management partners:

We also participated in the Texan by Nature 2021 Conservation Summit. The Conservation Summit is a unique annual gathering hosted by Texan by Nature that focuses on bringing conservation and business leaders together for rich, impact-focused dialogue and networking. Our Coastal Program Manager, Alexis Baldera, led the discussion on Collaborative Conservation. View the panel discussion here...

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