Last week, the Galveston Bay Foundation acquired 79 acres of remnant coastal prairie in Brazoria County, as part of its continued effort to conserve coastal habitat through property acquisitions and conservation easements. Conserved land provides clean water, recreational opportunities, scenic beauty, a refuge for wildlife, and a host of other benefits.
“The Texas Coast was once home to an estimated 6 million acres of coastal prairie. Today, less than one percent of that coastal prairie remains in a relatively pristine condition,” said Bob Stokes, Galveston Bay Foundation’s president. “At this point, every acre of conserved remnant prairie in our region is important. In terms of its biological value, Flo Hannah Prairie has been compared to Nash Prairie, another large remnant coastal prairie that has been conserved, so we are excited to be able to preserve this Texas coast treasure for generations to come.”
A remnant prairie is defined as an isolated prairie site with original vegetation, very little if any non-native species and undisturbed topographic features. Strategically located off County Road 213, north of the Brazoria National Wildlife Reserve, the acquisition site is adjacent to a 35-acre tract that The Galveston Bay Foundation previously acquired in 2019 — for a total of 114 acres that have now been preserved in the area.
The site will be named the “Flo Hannah Prairie” after Flo Hannah, a Galveston native and a renowned conservationist and prairie enthusiast, who passed away from cancer in 2018. A steward for the environment and the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, Hannah was passionate about native grasses and did meaningful work in native prairie plant restoration through her role at Houston Audubon Society, her own nursery of Gulf Coast Prairie plants, and her involvement with several local nature conservancies. Among her many contributions, she was involved in preserving the Deer Park Prairie and Nash Prairie — two other important remnant prairie tracts that have been conserved in the Houston region in recent years. The Galveston Bay Foundation intends to have a dedication ceremony of the Flo Hannah Prairie this fall.
“Mom was so quiet about her achievements and accomplishments in prairie restoration and stewardship, and she would have been overwhelmingly humbled by this honor,” said Emily Coulter, daughter of the late Flo Hannah, speaking on behalf of herself and her sisters. “She always did what she did for prairie restoration and protection for the greater community, not for the recognition. The Galveston Bay Foundation has made such an incredible effort, and we hope we speak for all of her family, friends, and colleagues when we say thank you for honoring her. She felt so passionately about prairies – far more than any possessions. This is a perfect gift to the community as a whole, and it is a gift that will keep on giving for years to come. Thank you!”
Funding for the acquisition was provided primarily by the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. Private funds from friends and family of Flo Hannah, as well as the Hershey Foundation, Houston Audubon Society, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and several other private donors have supported the effort. Additional support for this effort was also provided by the Galveston Bay Estuary Program through a Conservation Assistance Program grant.
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 plans to add another 4,600 acres of before the end of 2020. The Foundation is a member of the 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 generations. Learn more about the Foundation’s land conservation efforts and conservation easements at: https://galvbay.org/how-we-protect-the-bay/on-the-ground/land-conservation/
About the Galveston Bay Foundation
Established in 1987, the Galveston Bay Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to preserve and enhance Galveston Bay as a healthy and productive place for generations to come. It implements diverse programs in land preservation, habitat restoration, water quality and quantity, youth education, and advocacy. For further information, contact the Foundation at (281) 332-3381, visit www.galvbay.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on twitter @GBayFoundation