HOUSTON WILDERNESS is a broad-based alliance of 100+ business, environmental and government interests that work together to protect, preserve and promote the unique biodiversity of the 13+ county Greater Houston Region’s remaining ecological capital - from bottomland hardwoods and prairie grasslands to pine forests and coastal wetlands. This mission is accomplished through Convening various groups to promote protect and preserve the biodiversity in our 10 ecoregions; providing collaborative Problem-Solving opportunities on critical environmental issues; and Educating the public on the many exciting outdoor opportunities in the Greater Houston Region and the health benefits associated with nature.
Houston Wilderness major programming includes:
Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan – Facilitated by Houston Wilderness, the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (Gulf-Houston RCP) is a long-term collaborative of environmental, business, and governmental entities working together to implement resilience plan for the Gulf-Houston region. In addition to providing a unique online interactive database of all targeted nature-based infrastructure projects taking place in the region, the three key goals of the eight-county Gulf-Houston RCP include: (1) Increasing the current 12.3% in protected/preserved land in the eight-county region to 24% of land coverage by 2040, (2) Increasing and supporting the region-wide land management efforts to install nature-based stabilization techniques, such as low-impact development, living shorelines, and bioswales, to 50% of land coverage by 2040, and (3) providing research and advocacy for an increase of 0.4% annually in air quality offsets through carbon absorption in native soils, plants, trees, and oyster reefs throughout the eight county region.
See link to the left for the Gulf-HoustonRCP.org website.
Collaborative Grant Organizing Program- Houston Wilderness works with multiple stakeholders and federal/state agencies on collaborative grant proposals and funded projects, often in “pioneering” areas of environmental planning and resilience in the Greater Gulf-Houston Region. Since its creation, the CGO Program has brought tens of thousands of dollars of additional dollars to over 75 partners in our region and has helped establish “pioneering” projects/programs in the areas of living shorelines with oyster reefs, Monarch-based pollinator habitat, targeted large-scale tree plantings for reduction of air pollution and increased in carbon sequestration and water absorption, establishment of processes for native grass restoration projects.
TEXAS MONARCH FLYWAY STRATEGY (Texas MFS) is a statewide effort to restore, increase and enhance Monarch habitat across four major regions in the state - all of which serve as critical links in the Monarch butterfly's journey along the Central Flyway from Canada to Mexico and back every year, facilitated by Houston Wilderness with over 75 public/private partners. The Texas MFS also serves to protect habitat for other pollinators that are crucial to local ecosystems and agriculture. The four regions included in the program are: Gulf-Houston, South Texas, North Texas and Hill Country.
Port of Houston TREES Program - A multi-year collaborative project by Houston Wilderness, Trees for Houston, Port of Houston Authority, City of Houston Health Department and Buffalo Bayou Partnership focused on large-scale tree plantings along Lower Buffalo Bayou, Lower Brays Bayou and 25 miles of the Houston Ship Channel, targeting native tree species that are ranked in priority based on their respective levels of air pollution absorption (including CO2, GHGs and PM) as well as water absorption and erosion control. The removal and planting phases of the project provide a multitude of ecosystem services including increased air & water quality, increased nutrient cycling & oxygen production and improved aesthetic for this high-need area.
Background: Each year, the world’s forests extract billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—an estimated twenty-eight per cent of all emissions. They also absorb air pollution and large amounts of water to assist with air and water quality, erosion control and flood abatement. (Helpful resource: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-tree)
Wilderness Passport, Great Green Quest - With the Wilderness Passport as a guide to the 10 diverse ecoregions found in the 13+ county region surrounding Greater Houston, Great Green Quest distributes over 35,000 of these passports to schools, YMCA centers, park community centers, and region-wide libraries and interested community groups.
Houston Wilderness Ecosystem Services (ES) Primer - This ES Primer assesses the importance of integrating the value and benefits of ecosystem services into mainstream policy decision-making, providing policymakers with more tools to make mutually-beneficial decisions regarding the region's most pressing economic and environmental issues and recommend ways to accomplish these goals. A Second Edition of the ES Primer coming in Fall 2019.