HGAC Honors Bayou Land Conservancy with Award for Strategic Conservation Plan

Since 1996, Bayou Land Conservancy (BLC) has been a land and water conservation leader. In 2019, BLC developed a Strategic Conservation Plan to continue that tradition for the next twenty years. This plan identified lands with the greatest positive impact on flood control, water quality, and wildlife habitat in the region. 

About the HGAC Awards

H-GAC selected the Plan for recognition in its annual Parks and Natural Areas Award Program, which began in 2006 to highlight best practices and innovative approaches to parks planning and implementation.

H-GAC honors projects in the categories of Projects Over $500,000, Projects Under $500,000, Planning Process, and Policy Tools. BLC received special recognition in the Planning Category. Projects recognized by this awards program are selected by a panel of expert judges and industry professionals.

Photo courtesy of Bayou Land Conservancy

About Bayou Land Conservancy

Bayou Land Conservancy’s mission is to preserve land along streams for flood control, clean water, and wildlife. They envision a protected network of green spaces that connect people and nature. Although a small organization, BLC aims to have a large impact on land conservation, stewardship, and community engagement. Strategic planning is critical to achieving these goals.

Becky Martinez, BLC Conservation Director, explains, “We developed a strategic conservation plan to better prioritize our land conservation projects. The plan is a great tool to direct BLC’s community supported conservation projects. Though Houston feels very urban, there are many beautiful and beneficial natural places around us.”

The goals of the SCP were to identify and describe important areas for BLC to protect and create a plan of action toward their conservation.

Having reviewed the entire plan, I must say that the rigor and discipline used by BLC matches the organization’s dedication and enthusiasm. There’s a reason BLC has thrived for more than 25 years while other groups have come and gone. BLC currently preserves more than 14,000 acres across six counties from Houston to Huntsville.

The Hundred Thousand Acre Opportunity

BLC’s land preservation improves the quality of life for over five million people living in the greater Houston area. The strategic conservation plan identified approximately 100,000 acres of very high priority lands where preservation will have the greatest positive impact on flood resiliency, water quality, and wildlife habitat.

“When floodplains are left in their natural state or undeveloped, they can mitigate flooding by absorbing stormwater before it can inundate houses and businesses,” said Martinez. “Natural corridors along streams also filter runoff and rainwater, safeguarding our drinking water supply. By strategically focusing on these areas, BLC is able to maximize the benefits of land preservation and increase the community’s feeling of safety.”

The SCP also prioritizes land ideal for recreation and environmental education opportunities adjacent to existing parks and other protected spaces and trails.

But without the support of conservation-minded people, a plan is just a plan. Help put it into action. Support the Bayou Land Conservancy.

In the 1247 Days since Hurricane Harvey, I’ve posted hundreds of articles about threats to sensitive areas that could help reduce flooding. Here’s an easy way to help preserve those areas and enjoy them at the same time.

Learn More

Bayou Land Conservancy and other winners will be honored during an online celebration at 9 a.m. February 5, 2021. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEsfuqvrT4pHdK8RmnQPh01-XzROD0yEY98

For more information about The Strategic Conservation Plan visit https://www.bayoulandconservancy.org/strategic-conservation-plan. Or click here to review the entire plan.

For more information about H-GAC’s Parks and Natural Area Awards, visit http://www.h-gac.com/parks-and-natural-areas/awards.aspx

Posted by Bob Rehak on January 27, 2021

1247 Days since Hurricane Harvey