This trip takes you to a private property owned by the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) and not generally open to the public. GBF has conserved over 13,000 acres of critical coastal habitat in and around Galveston Bay. For decades, groundwater pumping in the region caused massive subsidence and contributed to the loss of wetlands. That coastal erosion meant wetlands around the bay sank into the water. Like many parts of Galveston Island, Sweetwater Preserve has sustained severe erosion. A 1,000-foot oyster reef project is part of larger restoration efforts in which the foundation has planted marsh along the shoreline. The reef protects the marsh from more degradation and protects the 464-acre property. This property includes a mixture of habitats including coastal prairie, estuarine marsh, salt flats, freshwater wetlands, brackish wetlands, and coastal woodlots.
Your trip will start at Sweetwater’s viewing platform overlooking brackish ponds, mud flats and West Galveston Bay. From there you will move to the property’s freshwater ponds and work your way past woodlots and grasslands as you bird your way to Sweetwater Lake. Expect to see a wide variety of birds including late wintering waterfowl, egrets, herons, rails, shorebirds, gulls, terns, hawks, and grassland species.
Depending on weather, the property can be muddy. We recommend you bring rubber boots and be prepared to hike up to 1.5 miles.
Bring: water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray