Sand Miners Donate 117 Acres of Unspoiled Wetlands Along Spring Creek to Bayou Land Conservancy

Often, I post about sand mines or developments that encroach on floodplains and floodways to the detriment of people downstream. But when I learned of this story, it made me extremely happy. The Bayou Land Conservancy (BLC) announced last week that Joe Swinbank and Don Poarch, partners at Sprint Sand & Clay, have donated 117 acres of unspoiled wetlands to the organization. The land borders Spring Creek in Tomball, north of Lone Star College and Harris County Precinct 4’s Spring Creek Park. It will have a significant impact on conservation, according to the BLC.

Natural wetlands on the tract donated to BLC by Swinbank and Poarch. This and all photos below are courtesy of the Bayou Land Conservancy.

“We are excited to own this ecologically rich nature preserve that will help us connect the community to the benefits of land conservation”, said BLC board chair Lisa Lin. “This donation will benefit the community for many generations, and be an enduring legacy of the incredible generosity of Mr. Swinbank and Mr. Poarch.”

Spring Creek meanders along the property’s southern border.
Ecologically rich wetlands such as these help retain water during floods, reducing the impact on downstream residents.

Land Originally Purchased for Mining

“As the greater Houston area continues to grow at a rapid pace, striking a healthy balance between land preservation and land development has never been more important as we seek to protect the many economic and community benefits we all enjoy,” Swinbank said. “The Bayou Land Conservancy’s extensive network of preserved trails and waterways just minutes from Houston is impressive in its form and function—a model of what can be achieved when community stakeholders work together. We’re proud to partner with the Conservancy to continue these important environmental efforts and extend BLC’s preserved trails and waterways west into the Tomball area.”

Don Poarch echoed his partner’s sentiments in acknowledging the award.  “We’re grateful for the recognition as this year’s Conservation Champions and happy to continue to champion the BLC and its important mission to preserve these lands for natural flood control, cleaner water and wildlife protection,” Poarch said. “On behalf of our entire team at Sprint Sand & Clay, Joe and I hope this land along Spring Creek enhances the community with protected green space while providing beautiful trails and waterways for people to reconnect with nature and each other.”

Family History Led to Donation

Beyond the positive environmental and community impact, the land in Tomball has personal significance to Swinbank and his family. “My wife was raised in the area, and her extended family has deep roots in Tomball and Rosehill going back to the area’s original German settlers,” Swinbank added. “My family and I couldn’t be happier that the Conservancy will ensure this land is preserved and protected for generations to come.”

Location of new preserve

Online Gala to Honor Conservationists Nov. 13

BLC will honor Swinbank and Poarch at its annual Annual Land Lover Gala as Conservation Champions. The Gala will be held virtually this year from 6-7 pm on Friday, November 13th. More information about the event can be found here. Wildlife film maker Ben Masters will be the keynote speaker. Mark your calendar.

No-Cost Gala Great Way to Learn More About BLC

Because of COVID, BLC’s net proceeds will likely be down this year. There’s no cost to attend the virtual event. “We’d just like to encourage people to join us,” said Jill Boullion, Executive Director of the BLC.

On a personal note, I will say this. The Bayou Land Conservancy and its committed staff stand tall among many worthy conservation groups in the Lake Houston Area. Their cooperative strategy is simple.

They put conservation easements on environmentally important land that is bought or donated so that it serves its natural function. They make a huge difference and deserve everyone’s support.

Bayou Land Conservancy protects land along streams for flood control, clean water, and wildlife. BLC is a nationally accredited, community-sponsored land preservation organization working to permanently protect land, with a focus on the streams that feed Lake Houston, an important source of drinking water for millions in the region. More information is available at:

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/31/2020

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