December 19, 2013

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Conservation Fund, in partnership with the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, purchased 4,737 acres in the Nueces River Delta  in San Patricio County. The acreage will ultimately become part of the Nueces Delta Preserve, creating more than 10,000 acres of contiguous conserved estuarine habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife species, protecting the fresh water flowing into Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays and expanding environmental educational opportunities offered by CBBEP.

“The acquisition of the Dos Rios Division of Wyatt Ranches has been a priority for the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program since the first parcel of land in the Nueces River Delta was acquired almost 10 years ago,” said Jake Herring, Director of Land Conservation for CBBEP. “This significant purchase will allow us and our resource agency partners to manage and monitor the freshwater inflows to the Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays more efficiently, which ensures water quality and preserves the intrinsic and critical habitats of the Nueces River Delta.”   

The Conservation Fund purchased the property from Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr. as a temporary conservation solution until Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program is able to secure the funding for its permanent protection. Wyatt Ranches will utilize the proceeds from this sale to enhance their ranching operations in Starr County.

“This is a win-win situation, for both the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program and for Wyatt Ranches,” said Bradford Wyatt, Administrator of Rural Properties for Wyatt Ranches. “We were able to use the funds from the sale towards our acquisition of a new ranching division in Starr County, more suitable to our South Texas cattle operations. At the same time, our family was proud to assist with the conversation goals Jake and the Board of CBBEP had envisioned for many years.”

“CBBEP has had an outstanding long term working relationship with the Wyatt Family, and were very pleased that the family was willing to help with the conservation goals of the CBBEP by agreeing to sell the Dos Rios Division of their ranching properties,” added Herring.

Located east of the Interstate 37 and Highway 77 junction, the property features wetlands, freshwater marshes and lakes, mudflats, thorn scrub, and upland prairies. Numerous aquatic species use the estuarine wetlands within the delta as breeding and nursery grounds. The delta also harbors many bird species, including the white pelican, brown pelican, sandhill crane, wood stork, peregrine falcon, mottled duck, burrowing owl, reddish egret, black skimmer, least tern and Wilson’s plover. CBBEP’s management plans for the property will focus on enhancing the estuarine system habitats through restoration efforts with agency partners.

In addition, the newly protected land will be utilized by the CBBEP’s Learning on the Edge environmental education program, which provides unique field-based, scientific experiences to students in grades K-12.  The program’s classroom curriculum and on-site activities introduce students and teachers in the Coastal Bend region to issues affecting the bays and estuaries as well as the local ecology of Nueces River Delta.  In 2013, over 11,000 local students took part in the program designed to advance active wetland conservation and environmental stewardship.

“With this purchase we are doubling the amount of land protected within the Nueces River delta,” said Andy Jones, Texas director for The Conservation Fund. “We are thrilled to be able to help realize the extraordinary vision of the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program and assist in the preservation of unique and critical South Texas wildlife habitats.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land since 1985.

About the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program
The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program is a local non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting and restoring bays and estuaries in the 12-county region known as the Texas Coastal Bend. The mission of the program is the implementation of the Coastal Bend Bays Plan, which is to protect and restore the health and productivity of the bays and estuaries while supporting continued economic growth and public use of the bays.

About Wyatt Ranches
Established in 1965 and headquartered in Texas, Wyatt Ranches operates an assimilation of ranching properties in Colorado, Oklahoma, Tamaulipas (Mexico), Texas, and Utah.  From their inception, Wyatt Ranches has maintained a central focus towards a productive and efficient commercial livestock operation.  We are proud of our associates - and we constantly strive to acknowledge their loyalty and obvious dedication to a safe work environment in the sphere of cattle ranching.  

Press Release Contacts
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 |
Jake Herring | Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program | 361-885-6209,