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Exploring The Virginia Peninsula Preserve

The Virginia Point Peninsula Preserve in Galveston, Texas

The Virginia Point Peninsula Preserve, including the O’Quinn I-45 Estuary Corridor wetlands, is a landscape-level conservation property wholly owned and managed by Scenic Galveston, Inc., a 501(c)3 Galveston-based non-profit organization with the mission of protecting Virginia Point prairies and wetlands for habitat conservation, restoration, and compatible public use.

Since 1992, all-volunteer SCENIC GALVESTON (SG) has been making a tangible difference by purchasing, protecting, restoring, studying, partnering and stewarding nearly 3000 acres of salt marsh and original coastal prairie in the Virginia Point gateway to Galveston, alongside Galveston Bay. SG's annual volunteer trash cleanups, marsh plantings, bird counts and other activities have led to the logging of 275+ avian species on and around preserve lands. The preserve anchors several Texas Parks and Wildlife Great Texas Birding Classic (GTBC) birding teams, showcasing the positive impact of our collective efforts on the local ecosystem.

The O’Quinn I-45 wetland corridor effort began in 1992, and SG’s roadside salt marshes remain open to the public. During the acquisition of these wetlands, SG also began a restoration campaign, eventually totaling around 80 acres of replacement salt marsh habitat in the Corridor, with multiple financial and technical resource partners, including USFWS Coastal Program, TCEQ Galveston Bay Estuary Program, USFWS North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), NRDA Council, The O’Quinn Foundation, Galveston Bay Foundation, EPA/Restore America’s Estuaries Five-Star program, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, and others. Marsh restoration continues in 2024 with a Texas General Land Office CEPRA grant to design a marsh restoration/shoreline protection project along Jones Bay south of Bayou Vista.

While not open to the general public, The Virginia Point prairie/wetland complex east of the I-45 Corridor is open to dedicated volunteers, conservation scientists, and students. SG purchased this property from the University of Texas in the early 2000s and constructed a 2-mile living shoreline breakwater complex to prevent ongoing prairie erosion and promote marsh accretion. SG again partnered with resource agency experts and funders for acquisition and shoreline restoration, including Texas General Land Office CIAP and CEPRA, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefits Fund, USFWS Coastal Program, and Galveston Bay Estuary Program. Ongoing marsh planning involves the NOAA / TNC GulfCorps, Galveston Bay Foundation, and Centerpoint Energy/SG volunteers.

SG is currently undertaking a new prairie management initiative focusing on the Black Rail, which, as of 2020, is threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Virginia Point has a significant colony of this wetland-dependent bird, which occupies the high marshes of Virginia Point. Project partners include Centerpoint Energy, TPWD/GTBC, Texas A&M researchers, and complementary penalty funds from a neighboring superfund site. SG welcomes volunteer and professional interest: or


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