Earth’s ecosystems and human life are inherently connected and dependent on one another. When an ecosystem is threatened so too are the ecosystem services and natural resources humans benefit from which in turn affect our well-being and our livelihood.
Texas Partnership for Forests and Water, 2022 Conservation Wrangler, is based around this inherent connection, and works to ensure all Texans can continue to benefit from our natural systems. The primary goal of Texas Partnership for Forests and Water is to maintain and expand healthy forests in drinking water source watersheds through strong collaboration between the forest, conservation, corporate, and water sectors.
The Partnership accomplishes this through the work of Texas A&M Forest Service’s Green Futures corporate sustainability partnership program- a highly collaborative, scalable program that connects corporate funding to local nonprofit organizations to address global issues and social responsibility through investment in people, communities, and trees.
BENEFITS OF FOREST RESTORATION
- CLEAN WATER: Forestlands absorb rainfall, refill groundwater aquifers, slow and filter stormwater runoff, reduce floods, and maintain watershed stability and resilience.
- CLEAN AIR: Forests and green spaces purify the air and sequester carbon.
- WILDLIFE HABITAT: Forests provide essential habitat for a diverse mix of native plants, wildlife, and pollinators.
- HEALTHY CITIZENS: Green spaces and forests promote recreational opportunities, improving community mental and physical health.
- IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE: Better drainage and less erosion, benefit paved trails and improves the safety and aesthetics of green spaces.
- COOL CITIES: Surrounding areas will experience a cooling effect from the trees’ natural evapotranspiration process. Trees also provide increased shade, making the outdoors more accessible.
CASE STUDY: WILSON CREEK RIPARIAN RESTORATION
The Wilson Creek Riparian Restoration project was a 9.5-acre tree planting event completed in November of 2021. In an effort to promote flood mitigation and improve water quality, the Texas A&M Forest Service, North Texas Municipal Water District, City of McKinney, McKinney Parks Foundation, and several other local stakeholders planted over 1,600 trees in the riparian areas along Wilson Creek. By establishing a forested riparian buffer on an impaired stream like Wilson Creek, the forest and trees will stabilize the eroding stream banks and filter and trap unwanted pollutants that result from urban stormwater runoff.
The Wilson Creek Riparian Restoration project was funded through the Molson-Coors Change the Course Partnership, which connects Molson-Coors to shovel-ready projects that restore waterways critical to drinking water resources. Through the partnership, the project received $51,000. The money was funneled through a local 501c3, the McKinney Parks Foundation (MPF) with an agreement that the volunteer organization, in collaboration with City resources, would act as local stewards after the planting through a two-year establishment period.
Texas A&M Forest Service uses innovative techniques to project the generated ecosystem services for the newly planted trees’ carbon, watershed, and air pollution through the i-Tree Eco suite of tools. These tools provide reports to Molson-Coors to use when tracking their social responsibility goals and are able to estimate these services over the next 1, 5, 10, and 20 years.
A $51,500 investment in the Wilson Creek Riparian Restoration projects resulted in the following:
- 150 volunteers dedicated 1,146 volunteer hours
- 1,600 trees planted, including 11 native tree species that support surrounding wildlife populations.
- In the first five years after project completion, the trees planted will help to intercept and filter 462,894.2 gallons of rainfall, avoid 82,077 gallons of runoff water, and sequester 101,513 pounds of carbon.
Read the full Case Study HERE.
ADDITIONAL SUCCESS STORIES
- Hill Country Regional Conservation Partnership Program
- Houston Green Futures Corporate Sustainability Partnership – Cypress Creek Riparian Restoration
- Coors Seltzer Change the Course – Wilson Creek Riparian Restoration
- Green Futures Midland Replacement Tree Restoration
- Green Futures From Forests to Faucets – Tickey Creek Riparian Restoration and Heat Island Reduction