Texas Coastal Exchange (TCX) is educating the public about ecosystem benefits, as well as providing a way for them to support local landowners and take action against climate change. Formed by Texans for Texans, we are a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to supporting the long-term resilience of the Texas coast by working with coastal landowners to conserve and protect coastal marshes, prairies, and bottomland hardwood forests
Elizabeth Winston-Jones and I formed the Texas Coastal Exchange to protect the ecosystems of the Upper Texas Coast by using market forces rather than regulation. Today Texas Coastal Exchange is accepting donations to sequester carbon footprints in marsh ecosystems and will soon be accepting donations for carbon storage in bottomland hardwoods and prairie ecosystems. In late April, we made our first grant payment to a private landowner (not an NGO) for protecting their marsh and storing carbon.
Why it matters
Coastal ecosystems, such as salt and brackish marshes, prairies, and bottomland hardwood forests, provide a variety of benefits to society including carbon storage, commercial and recreational fisheries, migratory bird habitat, and flood reduction. These ecosystems provide us with products like food and timber. They regulate our environment through processes like pollination, decomposition, and water purification, and are home to a variety of different living things, from deer to shrimp. Lastly, the natural world has emotional, spiritual, and cultural significance for us all.
These ecosystems are fundamental to our very existence. Yet, we are losing them at a rapid rate to development, erosion, and sea level rise.
The loss of coastal marshes and prairies has decreased their capacity for the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere at the same time that new development in these same areas is drastically increasing the release of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. In addition, the paving over and development of bottomland hardwood forests and prairies has reduced the ability of these natural systems to regulate flooding and groundwater recharge at a time when we are experiencing more extreme weather events.
Thankfully, we have over 8 million acres of undeveloped coastal lands in Texas. Much of this land is privately owned and at risk of being lost because the cost of maintaining large tracts of land is much greater than many landowners can bear. At TCX, we want to provide a means for donors to help protect and support these ecosystems. Donations are used to provide grants to landowners for maintaining their land in a natural state and ensuring the existence of these ecosystem benefits into the future.