Wetland Economic Benefits Workshop

About the Workshop

The Wetland Economic Benefits on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast Workshop (WEB), presented by Texas Coastal Watershed Program, was held on April 23, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  It was a free workshop for anyone wishing to learn more about programs and incentives available to private landowners for the conservation of wetlands, with focus on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast including the Houston-Galveston region and Piney Woods.  The workshop also provided background information on wetlands and their monetary and non-monetary value to regional economies.

Participants learned about various land management goals, which a private landowner might be interested in for diversifying income, as well as programs that could be utilized by private landowners to achieve these goals.  Funding for the workshop was provided by the Renewable Resource Extension Act.

Workshop Sessions

The Wetland Economic Benefits Workshop featured experienced regional environmental professionals and leaders speaking about programs and incentives available to private landowners for the conservation of wetlands. It is our mission to provide participants with knowledge and resources to better convey the information presented at WEB to current and future regional private landowners.  In pursuit of this mission, each session of the Wetland Economic Benefits Workshop was video documented. Each video as well as a copy of the presentation is available to the public.

Welcome and Overview

Wetland Ecosystem Services

Slides for Wetland Ecosystem Services Presentation

Jim Lester is the President of HARC, Houston Advanced Research Center, a nonprofit research hub working on water, air and energy issues. He serves as Vice Chair of the expert science team on environmental flows in the Trinity-San Jacinto-Galveston Bay watersheds and as Chair of the Monitoring and Research Subcommittee of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program. Also he is on the boards of Houston Wilderness and Houston Technology Center. He has worked for many years on coastal ecology in this region and is considered an expert on the ecological health of Galveston Bay. His doctorate in zoology was obtained from the University of Texas many years ago.

Emerging Markets

Slides for Emerging Markets Presentation

Jim Blackburn is an environmental lawyer with Blackburn Carter P.C. of Houston and a Professor in the Practice of Environmental Law in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rice University where he teaches courses in sustainable design and environmental law. At Rice, he serves as Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability at Rice, is co-director of the severe storm (SSPEED) Center, and is a Faculty Scholar for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute.  The second edition of his tribute to the Texas coast titled The Book of Texas Bays is being published by Texas A&M press in fall, 2014.

Conservation Easements

Slides for Conservation Easements Presentation

Matt Singer is the Land Stewardship Manager for the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF).  His role at GBF focuses on restoring and enhancing native coastal habitats and acquiring new properties for conservation purposes.  Matt is a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.  Prior to this role at GBF as Land Stewardship Manager, Matt worked as wildlife biologist with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission working with endangered wildlife and with Florida landowners to develop comprehensive plans for wildlife management and habitat restoration.

Forested Wetlands

Slides for Forested Wetlands Presentation

Hannah is the Water Resource Forester for southeast Texas. She has a degree in Forest Resource Conservation from Oklahoma State University

Small Governments as Landowners

Slides for Small Governments as Landowners Presentation

A native Houstonian, Deborah has been involved with public policy and civic projects in and around Houston and the State of Texas for over 30 years. She is currently President & CEO of Houston Wilderness (www.houstonwilderness.org) She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas in 1985 and her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1992. She has served as a policy director for the Greater Houston Partnership and Center for Houston’s Future, and Executive Director of the Quality of Life Coalition and Scenic Houston.  Over the years, she has worked in Congress, in the Texas Legislature and with various city mayors and council members. She has helped create, develop and implement a variety of policy initiatives to improve the Houston Region’s quality of life, including: the Freeway Forestation Initiative; the Stop Trashing Houston Campaign; the Million Trees + Houston- tree planting initiative; the Bayou Greenway Initiative and numerous local, state and federal funding projects for the Houston region.  Deborah and the other Houston Wilderness staff are currently working with 100+ civic, governmental and business organizations to develop and implement an 8-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan to promote, protect and preserve the 10 distinct ecoregions in and around the Greater Houston Region.

Wetland Mitigation

Due to technical difficulties with TCWP equipment during the workshop, Mr. Walls prepared presentation could not be utilized, so his presentation is not shown in the video.  His session is  nobly presented from memory  due to these last minute technical issues and contains much wisdom from his years of experience with USACE.

Steve Walls has been a wetland scientist, regulator and a business owner doing wetland consulting for 38 years now. He served for 13 years in the Norfolk District Corps, has consulted in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Louisiana.  Mr. Walls represented the Corps on an interagency task force to develop mitigation guidelines for the Chesapeake Bay area.  He was the Corps representative on the first two Society of Wetland Scientist's (SWS) professional certification committees and was one of the first certified Professional Wetland Scientists.  He also served two terms on the SWS certification review boards.  Mr. Walls once knew everything about wetlands but has ascended to that special place where he realizes now that he knows very little about them at all.

Nature Tourism

Slides for Nature Tourism Presentation

Miles Phillips is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service. His specialty is Nature Tourism and he is a member of the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences Department at Texas A&M University.  In his current position he supports program development for the extension agents in all 254 counties. He is a member of the Texas State Tourism Agency Council, the Texas Travel Industry Association Nature Tourism Council and one of the eight members of the National Extension Tourism Design Team.  He has conducted ecotourism development work in Texas, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, West Virginia, and South Carolina. He credits a month long trip to southern Africa in 1994 as motivating his career redirection into ecotourism development.  Mr. Phillips regularly conducts presentations, workshops, individual consultations and training programs with entities interested in developing nature tourism operations. This includes communities, businesses, and non-profit organizations. He often works directly with ranchers and farmers for diversification and private landowners/developers. He enjoys leading specialty wildlife tours and is a certified Interpretive Guide Trainer, training people to be more effective communicators.

Wildlife Management

Slides for Wildlife Management Presentation

Jim Rogers is a wildlife biologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bryan, Texas. His work area encompasses 50 counties in East Texas where he works with private landowners in planning conservation practices that target improving wildlife habitat. Jim received his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.


Comments are closed.