Study Underscores Texans' Support for Conservation

Poll confirms protection of nature still a top priority despite economic downturn

Austin, TX | April 06, 2009

The Nature Conservancy of Texas today issued the results of a new statewide poll which affirms Texans’ commitment to environmental needs despite the present economic downturn. The study also highlights a deep belief among Texans that individuals have a personal responsibility to help protect the state’s natural places and resources. 

The statewide telephone survey, which was conducted February 19-22 among 803 randomly selected registered voters, demonstrates that Texans from both rural and small towns to suburban and large metropolitan areas understand the need for and benefits of environmental conservation.

“We are inspired by what Texans are telling us,” said Laura Huffman, Texas state director of The Nature Conservancy. “We were particularly pleased to see that Texans deeply believe that maintaining a healthy environment can be achieved hand-in-hand with rebuilding a strong economy, and that the two goals are not seen as mutually exclusive,” she said.

“These results also show that Texans from all backgrounds realize that the environment plays a direct role in the quality of their lives and it reflects their sincere desire to help preserve our natural heritage for our children and grandchildren,” she added.

The poll included the following results:

  • 99 percent of respondents feel “we each have a personal responsibility” to protect the state’s land, water and wildlife.
  • 78 percent of respondents believe a clean environment and strong economy can be achieved without having to choose one over the other.
  • 98 percent of respondents believe it is important to provide funding to protect water quality in rivers, streams, reservoirs and aquifers, with 86 percent of respondents rating this issue as “very important” or “extremely important” to them.
  • 93 percent of respondents believe it is important to provide funding to protect fish and wildlife, with 66 percent of respondents rating this issue as “very important” or “extremely important” to them.
  • 90 percent of respondents believe it is important to provide funding to protect the Texas Gulf Coast.
  • 73 percent of respondents agree that “more Texas Parks and Wildlife funding is needed now to protect our lands for conservation of natural resources and outdoor recreation.” That same percentage also feels the longer funding takes, the more expensive future protection efforts will become.

Huffman noted that the poll’s key findings are consistent with The Nature Conservancy’s longstanding work protecting the most important habitats in Texas.

“Thanks to the work of the Conservancy and many other organizations around the state, Texans are seeing and appreciating the direct benefits of conservation,” she said. “So it stands to reason that a statewide poll would reflect a deep and nuanced understanding of the importance of balancing conservation with the long-term growth of our state.”

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The Nature Conservancy of Texas maintains more than 30 ecologically important preserves and conservation projects statewide. In addition to a dozen initiatives benefiting Texas rivers and creeks, the Conservancy also works with private landowners and municipalities, such as the cities of San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, to protect critical freshwater resources like the Edwards and Trinity aquifers. Over the past 45 years, the Conservancy has worked with state and federal agencies to create and expand beloved public areas, including Enchanted Rock State Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The organization has also led significant marine habitat restoration efforts along the Gulf that benefit terrestrial and aquatic wildlife and help protect human communities from hurricanes and tropical storms.

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

Contact information

Paco Felici
The Nature Conservancy of Texas
(210) 301-5611
(512) 784-2375 (cell)

Jay Harrod
The Nature Conservancy
(501) 614-5081
(501) 920-8006 (cell)

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