The Columbia Bottomlands once covered over a thousand square miles of floodplain forest along the Brazos, San Bernard, and Colorado Rivers. Today, just 150 square miles remain, but the forest still provides critical habitat for a wide range of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. With the forest’s proximity so close to the coast, it is particularly important as stopover habitat for birds that migrate across the Gulf to Mexico and points further south.
USFWS was able to fund the purchase with close to $11.5 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, combined with private fundraising of just over $2 million. Principal donors included the Knobloch Family Foundation, Houston’s Brown Foundation, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which selected Peach Creek Forest as its first conservation project supported by the Bezos Earth Fund. Project negotiations and fundraising were led by consultants, Ernest Cook and Mike Lange, who were retained by the Friends of Brazoria Wildlife Refuges through a grant from the Damuth Foundation. The Nature Conservancy also played a key role in fundraising for the project.