When most people think about the upper Texas coast, they think about fishing. But the area also is full of avid duck hunters, with hundreds committed to preserving habitats and the sport.
Ducks Unlimited is the largest conservation organization in the world, preserving wetlands and grasslands throughout Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. Its mission is to restore, enhance and protect habitats important to waterfowl. The organization was founded in the 1930s, and, in Galveston County, continues going strong.
More than 500 Ducks Unlimited members live in the county. Together, members have spearheaded numerous restoration projects, islander Rusty Legg, Texas state chairman of the organization, said.
Efforts include seven public land projects totaling more than 6,000 acres and 10 private land projects totaling more than 3,000 acres. The group also has restored and refurbished more than 30,000 acres of habitat within 50 miles of Galveston County, Legg said.
The group is working on the Greens Lake Shoreline Protection and Marsh Restoration on West Bay, south of Hitchcock. This project includes complicated engineering and design components, exemplifying the type of coastal marsh restoration Ducks Unlimited undertakes.
Each year, a select group of Ducks Unlimited chapters rises to the top of the ranks as the President’s Elite, each raising $100,000 or more annually for the organization’s habitat conservation work. The Galveston chapter has achieved that status on more than one occasion, including the 2013 fundraising year.
Legg encourages fellow conservationists to join Ducks Unlimited. And you don’t have to be a hunter.
“There is no criteria on membership in Ducks Unlimited,” he said. “We’re an all-inclusive group.”
Membership is $35 and includes a magazine subscription.
Each year, the group hosts two fundraisers in Galveston.