Conservation Grant Projects
Starting in 2013, Conservation Grants will be awarded to projects anywhere in Texas. Projects along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail received $789,500 in funding during the event's first 16 years.
Number of grants awarded (and their amounts) are determined based on team registration fees (independent and sponsored) and corporate sponsorship dollars collected each year. The Birding Classic is a cost-recovery event, so once event costs are covered all remaining funds go to conservation grants in Texas.
Conservation Grants awarded each year will include projects meeting conservation grant criteria for at least one each of the following (dependent on funds raised):
- State Parks Grant – Birding Classic staff and the winning State Park Tournament team work together to select a project.
- General Conservation Grant – Birding Classic staff and winning team(s) work together to select project(s). Winning team(s) include the top scoring Adult Big Day team (Regional and Statewide Tournaments combined - top overall score) and/or the top scoring Adult Weeklong Tournament team.
- Lone Star Bird Award – One randomly selected Big Sit! team’s chooses grant award project from approved project list (team selection is based on the Lone Star Bird rules and does not necessarily go to the top scoring team).
- Nature Tourism Grant – partial funding for Great Texas Wildlife Trail map reprints.
Does your organization want to propose a project for funding consideration?
Conservation Grant Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by 9am
Projects funded through the Great Texas Birding Classic
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$20,000 – Donated by Environmental Partners/Reliant Energy:
Texas City Prairie Preserve, Borrow Ditch Wetland Restoration Project – submitted by The Nature Conservancy
Restoration project – Galveston County
A section of the ‘borrow ditch’ created with the construction of the Texas City levee that borders the Preserve will be filled in with material to create a section as mudflat (5-10 acres) and the rest as coastal marsh (5-10 acres).
$10,000 – Donated by the ConocoPhillips Cranes/ConocoPhillips
Sabine Woods Oak Motte Enhancement - submitted by Texas Ornithological Society
Restoration project – Jefferson County
Improvements to the 30 acre property will be continued by planting live oak and mulberry trees, with some of the live oak being large, to provide additional food and cover for migratory birds. An improved water system will be included to support the newly planted trees.
$10,000 Energy Saver – Donated by Weslaco Slice of Good Lifers/Weslaco Chamber of Commerce
Wetlands Restoration Project - submitted by Frontera Audubon Society
Restoration project – Hidalgo County
Invasive species will be removed within and around the marsh, two ponds and the storm water drainage channel. A mixture of native species will be planted in the areas that are peculiar to the requirements of each habitat and soil type.
$10,000 Lower Coast – Donated by the Swarovski Roadside Hawks Two
Warbler Rest Stop on South Padre Island – submitted by Gabriel Tree of Life Foundation.
One lot, 50x100 feet, will be planted with shrubs and trees known to be most critical for nearctic/neotropical migrants. A water system for the new plants and a drip for the birds will be included.
$10,000 Central Coast – Donated by the Zeiss LSU Tiger-Herons
Brazilian Pepper Tree Removal at two city birding locations, Paradise Pond and the Birding Center – submitted by City of Port Aransas
Funds from this grant will be used to eliminate invasive plant species and replace them with native species that will provide improved habitat for resident and migratory bird species.
$10,000 Upper Coast – Donated by the TAMUG WildBirders
Hooks Woods Motte Enhancement – submitted by Texas Ornithological Society
The objective of this project is to plant Live Oak, Bald Cypress, hackberry and mulberry trees to provide additional food and cover and food for migratory birds helping to restore habitat damaged during the passage of Hurricane Humberto in 2007.
$3,000 Lone Star Bird Award – Donated by Vopak Vultures/ Vopak North America
Friends of the Anahuac Wildlife Refuge, Coastal Prairie Invasive Species Control
Restoration project – Chambers County
Invasive Chinese Tallow will be treated by applying herbicide and allow the native coastal prairie of the refuge to continue improving toward a pre-agricultural state.
$20,000 - Donated by Environmental Partners/Reliant Energy
Columbia Bottomlands Conservation - Acquisition submitted by Houston Audubon Society
Location: Brazoria County
Funds will cover acquisition costs for the purchase of more key tracts and will include appraisals, surveys and land consulting fees to develop proposals and offers to secure additional critical avian habitat of the highest priority.
$10,000 - Donated by ConocoPhillips Cranes
Goose Island Walkway to Wetland Wildlife - Enhancement submitted by Texas Parks & Wildlife
Location: Goose Island State Park, Aransas County
This project will entail constructing an 85 foot long walkway over a salt marsh for providing public access to the western half of Goose Island State Park. The walkway will facilitate interpretive programs about the on-going shoreline stabilization and 24 acre salt marsh restoration project.
$10,000 - Donated by Bushnell Butcherbirds
Texas City Prairie Preserve - Restoration submitted by The Nature Conservancy
Location: Texas City, Galveston County
The project objective is reduction and eventual elimination of deep-rooted sedge on the property. It is a non-native plant of primary concern for prairie management. Funds will be used to purchase herbicideand backpack sprayer, pay for labor to spray apply the herbicide to identified patches of land and follow-up with winter time prescribed burns.
$10,000 Lower Coast - Donated by Swarovski Roadside Hawks
Sabal Palm Audubon Center - Restoration and Enhancements submitted by Audubon Texas
Location: Brownsville, Cameron County
This project involves habitat restoration to enlarge part of the resaca in order to have more surface water for waterfowl and other wildlife. The project will also fund repairs to wildlife viewing features at the Center, including the wetland bridge and viewing blind over the resaca, as well as the palapa in the butterfly garden. A second viewing blind will be added to existing trails/boardwalk.
$10,000 Central Coast - Donated by Zeiss LSU Tiger-Herons
Packery Channel Sanctuary Habitat - Restoration submitted by Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, Inc.
Location: Corpus Christi, Nueces County
This project involves restoration of lots to the habitat native to this unique barrier island, to include the following: installation of semi-porous bottom material for marsh to aid in water, purchase and planting of trees native to area, and removal and control of cat-tails and Brazilian Pepper trees from the existing marsh. Enhancement to follow after restoration is complete will include extension of boardwalk and installation of educational boards to explain the value of the area as habitat and refuge as well as type of birds, animals and vegetation observed.
$10,000 Upper Coast - Donated by TAMUG Xtreme Birding Team
Horseshoe Marsh Prairie - Restoration submitted by Houston Audubon Society
Location: Port Bolivar, Galveston County
Houston Audubon's Horseshoe Marsh Bird Sanctuary contains approximately 500 acres of coastal prairie habitat, and approximately 400 acres of the sanctuary are degraded by exotic Chinese tallow trees. This project will fund eradication of tallow trees using herbicide.
$3,000 Lone Star Bird Award - Donated by Nikon WildBirders
Coastal Sanctuary Understory Diversification - Restoration submitted by Houston Audubon Society
Location: Coastal Sanctuaries in Chambers County
The goal is to diversify the habitat at Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks by providing better food sources for resident, overwintering and migrating birds. This will be achieved by removing invasives and replanting with native species.
$20,000 - Donated by Environmental Partners/Reliant Energy
Packery Channel Sanctuary Habitat Restoration - submitted by Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi. This project has been ongoing for over 10 years to save the only stand of live oaks on the entire 113 miles of Padre Island. This new funding will allow for a semi-porous bottom to be installed in the marsh area to aid with water retention, purchase native tress for planting in the sanctuary, extend the existing boardwalk and install educational displays explaining the importance of this critical habitat.
$12,000 - Donated by NikonWildBirders/Nikon and WildBird magazine
Bolivar Peninsula Land Acquisition Fund - submitted by Houston Audubon Society. The land targeted for acquisition by the Bolivar Peninsula Land Fund is priority wildlife habitat on the Bolivar Peninsula, important breeding, wintering and migratory stopover habitat for birds. Land costs have soared in recent years due to developer interest and this fund helps Houston Audubon be in a position to acquire suitable tracts as soon as they become available.
$9,000 - Donated by the ConocoPhillips Cranes/ConocoPhillips
Acquisition of Migrant Stopover Habitat on Quintana Island - submitted by Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. This project is directed at purchasing addition lots to create a contiguous stretch of land that can be revegetated with native trees and shrubs. Quintana is located in the heart of one of the most important flyways for nearctic-neotropical migrants crossing the Gulf of Mexico.
$3,000 Lower Texas Coast - Donated by the Swarovski Roadside Hawks/Swarovski
Habitat Restoration at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary - submitted by Audubon Texas. This project focuses on the restoration of 35 acres of fallow field at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville and is part of a larger effort to restore 150 acres of fallow field. Exotic plants will be removed and native species planted.
$3,000 Central Texas Coast - Donated by the Texas A&M Wildlifers/NBID Associates
Native Coastal Prairie Restoration on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge - submitted by Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR. This project encompasses about nine acres of former rice field that will undergo non-native, undesired vegetation removal, site preparation and subsequent planting of native seed. This grant will cover the purchase of the native grass seed.
$3,000 Upper Texas Coast - Donated by the Grey Feathers/Independent
Coastal Prairie Invasive Species Control - submitted by Friends of Anahuac Refuge, Inc. This grant will be used to control invasive plants, primarily Chinese tallow, on 350 acres of coastal prairie on Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.
$1,000 College Challenge Cash Prize - Donated by the Zeiss LSU Tiger-Herons/Carl Zeiss Optics
Coastal Sanctuary Understory Diversification - submitted by Houston Audubon Society. This project will allow for the purchase of native understory plants that will be used to replace invasive exotic plants at Houston Audubon’s coastal sanctuaries (Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, Eubanks Woods, S.E. Gast Red Bay Sanctuary and Dos Vacas Muertas).
$1,000 Lone Star Bird Award - Donated by Team McRee Ford/McRee Ford
Texas City Prairie Preserve Deep-rooted Sedge Removal - submitted by The Nature Conservancy. This project will reduce the impact of the sedge where it occurs with a new eradication plan and will control any future spread.
$20,000 - Donated by Donated by Environmental Partners/Reliant Energy
Bird Observation Tower and Education Platform Project - Submitted by Scenic Galveston, Inc. This project involves a 2500-acre wetland and coastal prairie complex on the I-45 Estuarial Corridor and Virginia Point Preserve. The spartina marsh, tidal flats and nesting islands are host to a large variety of birds year round. This project will contribute toward a roadside marsh viewing/wetlands interpretive/birding area.
$12,000 - Donated by Swift Wildbirders/Swift Optics and Wildbird magazine
Habitat Protection for Houston Audubon's Carolyn Raizes Davis Bird Santuary - Submitted by Houston Audubon Society. This project will help protect 63 acres of bottomland hardwood forest along Chocolate Bayou from intrusion and erosion caused by All-Terrain vehicles.
$9,000 - Donated by the ConocoPhillips Cranes/ConocoPhillips
South Padre Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary - Submitted by The Valley Land Trust. Further enhancements of this haven for neo-tropic migrants will include a drip fed shallow water feature, additional native vegetation, a viewing blind and a boardwalk.
$3,000 Upper Texas Coast - Donated by Leica Lone-Starlings/Leica Sport Optics
Quintana Island Habitat Enhancement - Submitted by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. This will help fund the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory's continuing project creating forested woodlots on this small island to provide additional habitat for trans-gulf migrants and also, expand public viewing areas.
$3,000 Lower Texas Coast - Donated by the Three Rails and a Young Coot/Independent
Estero Llano Grande State Park Wetland Habitat Restoration - Submitted by the World Birding Center - Estero Llano Grande State Park. This project will provide funds for purchasing Montezuma Bald Cypress tress for planting as part of an ongoing 20 acre wetland restoration project to provide additional complexity and structure to the habitat.
$3,000 Central Texas Coast - Donated by Lovely Zorrillos /Independent
Fred Jones Sanctuary Enhancement - Submitted by Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi This Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, Inc., project will provide funding for purchasing materials for constructing a viewing blind and repairs to existing structures.
$1,000 - Donated by Stewart Title Peepers/Stewart Title Co.
Packery Channel Sanctuary Habitat Restoration (submitted by the Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi) Money is to be used for native plant purchases to enhance the habitat.
$20,000 - Donated by the ConocoPhillips Cranes/ConocoPhillips and the Swift WildBirders/Swift Instruments and WildBird Magazine
Packery Channel Sanctuary Enhancement - Submitted by the Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi. This Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, Inc., project will acquire and enhance remaining undeveloped lots in a housing subdivision on Padre Island, creating an island of green for neotropical migrants.
$12,000 - Donated by the Environmental Partners/Reliant Energy
Dickinson Bay Bird Island Restoration - Submitted by Galveston Bay Foundation. This restoration project is intended to replace one of the islands that has eroded from Dickinson Bay over the past six decades, restoring the colonial waterbird habitat associated with it.
$9,000 - Donated by the Butcherbirds/Birder's World Magazine and Bushnell Performance Optics
Quintana Island Habitat Enhancement - Submitted by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. This project will revegetate previous land acquisitions with mature native trees and understory vegetation as well as create one or more freshwater ponds.
$3,000 Upper Texas Coast - Donated by the Loonatics/Independent
Texas Point NWR Woodlot Restoration - Submitted by Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge. This restoration project will create a coastal woodlot to provide stopover, rest and refueling habitat for migratory songbirds through the planting of quick-growing and long-term native tree seedlings.
$3,000 Lower Texas Coast - Donated by the Swarovski/WBC Roadside Hawks/Swarovski Optik N.A. and World Birding Center
Photogenic Water Features - Submitted by the World Birding Center - Estero Llano Grande State Park. This project will provide funds for the building of three solar powered ponds.
$3,000 Central Texas Coast - Donated by Team Audubon/ConocoPhillips
Blucher Audubon Center Migrant Songbird Habitat Restoration - Submitted by Audubon Texas (in partnership with Coastal Bend Audubon Society). This project will provide funds for the purchase of pond supplies, native plants and interpretive signs and plant labels.
$1,000 - Donated by Swarovski Sitting Hawks
South Padre Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary (submitted by the Valley Land Fund) Money is to be used for habitat restoration.
The Lone Star Bird Award for the Big Sit! Tournament was added to the $50,000 Conservation Cash Grand Prizes.
$20,000 - Donated by Swift WildBirders/Swift Instruments and WildBird Magazine:
Port Bolivar Wetlands Restoration Project (Houston Audubon Society)- This project ultimately involves acquiring a 650-acre wetland complex on the Bolivar Peninsula known as the Horseshoe Marsh. The acquisition of the Horseshoe Marsh tract will protect the entire drainage system of lagoon, salt water marsh, fresh water wetlands and coastal prairie.
$12,000 - Donated by the ConocoPhillips Cranes/ConocoPhillips:
Created Wetland at the Gulf CoastBird Observatory (Gulf Coast Bird Observatory) -This will help fund the enhancement project creating a bog pond to provide habitat for high-priority species and construct public viewing spaces so that the public may enjoy seeing these species.
$9,000 - Donated by Environmental Partners/Reliant Energy:
Native Coastal Prairie Restoration at AnahuacNational Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County (Friends of Anahuac Refuge)- This project will remove and control exotic plants and plant native species to restore the ecological function of the area as coastal tall grass prairie.
$3,000 Central Coast - Donated by Team Audubon/ConocoPhillips
Packery Channel Sanctuary Acquisition (Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi)- This Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, Inc., project will acquire remaining undeveloped lots in a housing subdivision on Padre Island, creating an island of green for neotropical migrants.
$3,000 Upper Coast - Donated by TAMUG-s Whooping Aggies/Reliant Energy:
Created Wetland at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (Gulf Coast Bird Observatory) This will help fund the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory's enhancement project creating a bog pond to provide habitat for high-priority species and construct public viewing spaces so that the public may enjoy seeing these species.
$3,000 Lower Coast - Donated by Brunton Banditos/Brunton Co.
Hugh Ramsey Nature ParkEnhancement (Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society) -This project will provide funds for enhancements such as native plants and special viewing areas within the Hugh Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen.
The following project received the first ever Lone Star Bird Award:
$1,000 - Donated by Swarovski Sitting Hawks/Swarovski Optik, N.A.:
Valley Nature CenterWetlands Restoration Project (Valley Nature Center) -Money is to be used for site enhancements at the center.
The rules changed to allow the winning team in each Sectional Tournament to award a Conservation Cash Grand Prize in addition to the three prizes the Weeklong teams select.
$20,000 - Donated by The Third-Basic WildBirders/WildBird Magazine:
Packery Channel Sanctuary Acquisition (Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi Inc.)- Project to acquire remaining undeveloped lots in Packery Channel Subdivision, creating an island of green for neotropic migrants.
$12,000 - Donated by The Dow Skimmers/The Dow Chemical Company:
Columbia Bottomlands ForestAcquisition Project (Gulf Coast Bird Observatory) Acquisition of bottomland hardwood forest in Brazoria County near one of the existing tracts in the Texas Midcoast National Wildlife Refuge complex.
$9,000 - Donated by Team Audubon/ Phillips Petroleum and Houston Audubon Society:
Dickinson BaySeawall Prairie Restoration Project (The Nature Conservancy of Texas)- Project to remove/control Chinese Tallow to restore the ecological function of the area as coastal tall grass prairie. Control methods will include prescribed fire, manual cutting and use of herbicide.
$3,000 Lower Coast - Donated by Borderline Birders/ The Brunton Co. and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours:
Hugh Ramsey Nature Park Habitat Enhancement Project (Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society) Provide funds for plants and planting equipment for habitat restoration of Hugh Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen.
$3,000 Central Coast - Donated by AEP/CP&L Coots/ American Electric Power:
Packery Channel Sanctuary Acquisition (Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi Inc.) Project to acquire remaining undeveloped lots in Packery Channel Subdivision, creating an island of green for neotropic migrants.
$3,000 Upper Coast - Donated by Kingwood Kingbirders/Independent:
Invasive Exotic Removal From High IslandSanctuaries (Houston Audubon Society) -Removal of Chinese Tallow trees from coastal prairie habitats in Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks.
$25,000 - Donated by The Second-Basic WildBirders/WildBird Magazine:
Packery Channel Sanctuary Acquisition (the Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi in partnership with Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi) Award monies will be used for Purchase of additional undeveloped lots to add to the Packery Channel Sanctuary.
$15,000 - Donated by The Dow Skimmers/Dow Chemical Company:
Columbia Bottomlands Forest Acquisition Project (the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Trust For Public Land) Award monies will be used for sight survey, appraisal and acquisition of Columbia Bottomland Forest. Purchased lands will be under the ownership of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.
$10,000 - Donated by Team Kenedy/Kenedy Memorial Foundation:
Quintana Island Habitat Acquisition and Restoration Project (the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in partnership with the Brazosport Birders and Naturalists) Award monies will be used for sight survey, appraisal and acquisition of native habitat on Quintana Island, as well as restoration and revegetation of purchased property.
$25,000 - Donated by The Canadians/Kowa Optimed:
Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary Addition (Houston Audubon Society) The money helped pay for the more than 550 acres of salt marsh next to the sanctuary.
$15,000 - Donated by The Dow Skimmers/Dow Chemical Company:
Quintana Island Habitat Acquisition and Restoration Project (Gulf Coast Bird Observatory) The money purchased wooded parts of the island used as a first stop by migrating neotropical birds.
$10,000 - Donated by The Roadrunners/Landmark Graphics:
Packery Channel Sanctuary Acquisition (Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi) The money helped purchase undeveloped lots in a residential area, creating an "island of green" used by birds that spend the winter, as well as migrating neotropical birds.
The rules changed to allow the top three winning teams to designate a project to receive money.
$25,000 - Donated by the Wild Birders/WildBird Magazine:
Paradise Pond Sanctuary Acquisition (Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Audubon Outdoor Club, City of Port Aransas, Central and South West Services, Inc.) 7.83- acre tract with 2 acres of natural, permanent freshwater depressional wetland (the only one on Mustang Island). Money will be used for site survey and appraisal, pond site acquisition and land acquisition for access.
$15,000 - Donated by the Landmark Graphics Team:
Native Coastal Prairie Restoration on Anahuac NWR, 40 acres (USFWS/Anahuac NWR) Money will be used on abandoned rice fields to control Chinese tallow, restore the original hydrology and reintroduce native prairie grass seed.
$10,000 - Donated by Team Audobon/Phillips Petroleum:
Tracking Landbird Migration in Texas and Beyond: Partners In Flight Migration Monitoring Program (GCBO, Southeast Partners in Flight, Department of Defense, USFWS) Long-term monitoring of high priority migratory birds. Money will be used on computer services (data entry, web site entry and statistical analysis) and printing of 4-year report.
The team sponsored by WildBird Magazine won first place. The WildBirders decided to divide the money unequally among three conservation projects:
Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary Addition (Houston Audubon Society) Money used to pay for 178-acre tract adjacent to Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. Wetlands on this tract drain into marshes within the sanctuary.
South Padre Island Habitat Protection and Restoration Project (Valley Land Fund, Rio Grande Valley Bird Observatory, Valley Nature Center, South Padre Island Nature Center) Money used to acquire, revegetate, and protect habitats containing native brush vegetation valuable to Neotropical migratory birds making landfall during trans-Gulf or circum-Gulf migrations.
The Harlingen Bird Sanctuary (RGV Birding Festival, Valley Land Fund, USFWS, City of Harlingen, Harlingen Chamber of Commerce) Money used to pay back loans for the purchase of 40 acres of native thornbush and riparian habitat.
The first place winning Compaq/Houston Audubon Society team allocated the money equally to three conservation projects:
The John M. O'Quinn I-45 Estuarial Corridor Acquisition & Restoration (Scenic Galveston, Inc.) Money used toward the purchase of 900 acres of the I-45 Estuary, restoration to emergent intertidal marsh of approximately 40 badly degraded acres, and management as a public nature preserve.
Colonial Waterbird Sanctuaries Project (Texas Audubon Society) Money used for long-term Avian Monitoring project for high priority species and to expand the Texas Waterbird Survey to cover middle and south coast habitats not presently surveyed.
Wings Over Weslaco (Frontera Audubon Society) Money used for construction of a viewing blind on the Frontera Audubon Society Sanctuary.