SWEENY, January 19, 2023 – Phillips 66 recently contributed $26,000 to the Matagorda Bay Foundation for its East Matagorda Bay Wetlands Project in partnership with Texas A&M University and the AgriLife Research Station. Funds were used to purchase freshwater inflow monitoring equipment to develop freshwater inflow standards for the sustainability of East Matagorda Bay wetlands and estuarine waters.
“We are excited about this generous donation and our new connection with Phillips 66,” Bill Balboa, Executive Director of the Matagorda Bay Foundation, said. “These funds will help us understand physical processes at work in one of Matagorda Bay’s largest tidal wetland complexes and help us conserve and protect these critical habitats. Tidal wetlands are important as nursery areas for juvenile fish and shellfish but also help to protect our shores and help sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere. We are very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to working with Phillips 66 in the future.”
"Environmental stewardship is a priority at Phillips 66," Jessica Follett, Phillips 66 Field Communications & Public Affairs Advisor, said. "Matagorda Bay is a vital resource and findings from this project will allow stakeholders to better plan for and manage freshwater resources to preserve the ecosystem."
The study is Phase II of an effort focusing on the Lake Austin watershed that drains into Matagorda Bay, which contains Peyton Creek, Chinquapin Bayou, and Live Oak Bayou, among several other smaller tributaries. Researchers are quantifying average flow rates into and out of the basin, mapping vegetation and hydrologic network changes since the 1940s, and developing volumetric flow rate standards to sustain wetland cover and identify potential restoration actions. The project outcome will inform freshwater inflow standards and the management and restoration actions required to attain wetland sustainability in Lake Austin and East Matagorda Bay.
The project is part of a broader effort to implement the Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan under the Texas General Land Office. Phillips 66 established Focus Areas of Giving includes Environment Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15.1: Life on Land - Conserve and Restore Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems.