Two recent guest editorials written by Texas state director Laura Huffman urge government leaders to heed Texans who have plainly and clearly expressed that conservation of our natural resources remains a priority issue.
The editorials, which ran in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, note that while we rebuild our economy and national infrastructure, we must also pay equal consideration to conserving, restoring and rebuilding the threatened natural features of our planet.
Along the Texas coast, critical marine systems such as oyster reefs, seagrass beds and barrier islands contribute incalculable amounts to our tourism and fishing industries while protecting inland communities from hurricanes and tropical storms. Yet those same resources have been strained to their limits. Oysters have been over-harvested for consumption and roadbed material, seagrass meadows are permanently scarred by propellers and our barrier islands—literally our first and best line of defense against wind and water—are threatened by overdevelopment and erosion.
San Antonio and the Hill Country suffer from near-constant drought conditions, as the Edwards Aquifer—the lone source of drinking water for 1.8 million Texans—remains at risk from misuse and impervious cover that robs this ancient resource of replenishing rainwater.
And all the while, our treasured natural areas—the places that make Texas special—are vanishing. From the stately longleaf pine stands of the Big Thicket to the Sabal palm groves of the Rio Grande Valley to the rich Blackland Prairie in Northeast Texas, our very identity is disappearing one tree, one acre, one rare species at a time.
But The Nature Conservancy offers hope. Through conservation grounded in science and time-tested stewardship techniques, we work across the state to protect Texas' land, water and wildlife. With our partners—and with 30,000 members in the state—we are working so that these places will not only survive, but that they will once again thrive, and that future generations of Texans will know the beauty and wonder that is Texas in full.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.