Posted by Carl Gerhardt on Apr 23, 2019
On April 23, 2019, Deborah January-Bevers, President & CEO of the Houston Wilderness organization, spoke to the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club about her organization and what it does. Pictured above from left to right are Deborah January-Bevers and Glenn Buckley (President of the Lake Creek Preserve organization).
Deborah told everyone that the Houston Wilderness organization is a broad-based alliance of 100+ business, environmental and government interests that work together to protect, preserve and promote the unique biodiversity of the 13+ county Greater Houston Region’s remaining ecological capital - from bottomland hardwoods and prairie grasslands to pine forests and coastal wetlands. This mission is accomplished through convening various groups to promote protect and preserve the biodiversity in our 10 ecoregions; providing collaborative problem-solving opportunities on critical environmental issues; and educating the public on the many exciting outdoor opportunities in the Greater Houston Region and the health benefits associated with nature.  
Deborah further stated that major programming of the Houston Wilderness organization includes:
  • Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan – Facilitated by Houston Wilderness, the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (Gulf-Houston RCP) is a long-term collaborative of environmental, business, and governmental entities working together to implement resilience plan for the Gulf-Houston region. In addition to providing a unique online interactive database of all targeted nature-based infrastructure projects taking place in the region, the three key goals of the eight-county Gulf-Houston RCP include: (1) Increasing the current 9.7% in protected/preserved land in the eight-county region to 24% of land coverage by 2040, (2) Increasing and supporting the region-wide land management efforts to install nature-based stabilization techniques, such as low-impact development, living shorelines, and bioswales, to 50% of land coverage by 2040, and (3) providing research and advocacy for an increase of 0.4% annually in air quality offsets through carbon absorption in native soils, plants, trees, and oyster reefs throughout the eight county region.

    See link to the left for the website.

  • Collaborative Grant Organizing Program- Houston Wilderness works with multiple stakeholders and federal/state agencies on collaborative grant proposals and funded projects, often in “pioneering” areas of environmental planning and resilience in the Greater Gulf-Houston Region. Since its creation, the CGO Program has brought tens of thousands of dollars of additional dollars to over 50 partners in our region.

  • Wilderness Passport, Great Green Quest - With the Wilderness Passport as a guide to the 10 diverse ecoregions found in the 13+ county region surrounding Greater Houston, Great Green Quest distributes over 35,000 of these passports to schools, YMCA centers, park community centers, and region-wide libraries and interested community groups. Passports were passed at during the meeting.

  • Houston Wilderness Ecosystem Services (ES) Primer - This ES Primer assesses the importance of integrating the value and benefits of ecosystem services into mainstream policy decision-making, providing policymakers with more tools to make mutually-beneficial decisions regarding the region's most pressing economic and environmental issues and recommend ways to accomplish these goals. A Second Edition of the ES Primer coming in Fall 2019.

A map of the ecosystems in the 8-county area and the conservation plan were shown by Deborah during her presentation and they can be seen below:
For more information about the Houston Wilderness organization go to: