Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Unfortunately, continued fragmentation and degradation of wetland habitat along the upper-mid coast has damaged much of this vital ecosystem in Texas. The 1,361-acre Pierce Marsh Preserve is home to critical wetlands and is a coastal estuary that has become a sanctuary for a variety of flora and fauna in the midst of an encroaching industrial corridor.
Vegetation on the preserve is mainly composed of smooth cordgrass, saltwort, marshhay cordgrass and other inter-tidal plant species. The area supports a large waterfowl population in the winter; wintering waterfowl include pintails, wigeon, gadwall, green-winged teal, and snow geese. The preserve is also home to a variety of year-round bird species. Shorebirds and wading birds utilize the flats and shallow marsh ponds.
Pierce Marsh is located near vital colonial nesting islands and thus serves as an important feeding area during nesting season. The smooth cordgrass marshes and other open water areas are extremely valuable to estuarine organisms such as fish, crabs, shrimp, and benthic invertebrates.
The marsh provides habitat for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds; serves as nursery grounds for numerous estuarine organisms; and provides vital wetland functions such as erosion protection, water filtration, and storm surge buffer for Galveston Bay. The property was donated to The Nature Conservancy in December of 1987, by Clive Runnells and the Pierce Estate.
The primary focus is habitat restoration and enhancement with the help of a growing preserve volunteer program. Thus far, restoration efforts on the property have created 7 acres of emergent marsh. A restoration project that will protect an additional 1,600 acres and restore 40 acres of subsided tidal marsh is underway with the Galveston Bay Foundation.
The preserve is located off State Highway 6. For more information, contact the Texas City Prairie Preserve at 4702 Highway 146 North, Texas City, TX 77590 Phone: (409) 941-9114.
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Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion (PDF)