For many years, NRG Energy and the Galveston Bay Foundation have worked together to protect and restore natural ecosystems around Galveston Bay, which is a partnership that has only grown stronger.
That partnership has now been taken to a new level as NRG leased the Cedar Bayou EcoCenter to the Galveston Bay Foundation for $1 per year through 2022 and made a $100,000 donation for operation of the facility.
The Galveston Bay Foundation estimates the facility will serve about 3,200 students during the four-years of the lease.
“We are excited to take over operation of the EcoCenter from our long-term partner, NRG Energy,” said Bob Stokes, president of Galveston Bay Foundation. “We look forward to the opportunity to expand our reach to local students and provide hands-on learning experiences about wetlands at the EcoCenter.”
The 15.4-acre EcoCenter consists of an administration and training building, a maintenance facility and 24 floodable earthen ponds and two above ground, constructed ponds that grow cordgrass.
The EcoCenter nursery grows the majority of wetland plants used for estuarine restoration in Galveston Bay, each year donating about 60,000 wetland plants to a broad base of organizations. The nursery grows Smoot Cordgrass, Black Mangrove and Marsh-hay Cordgrass.
“NRG and the Cedar Bayou plant have been proud to work so closely with the Galveston Bay Foundation for many, many years and look forward to expanding this relationship with this new partnership,” said Rob Kurelic, plant manager at NRG’s Cedar Bayou plant. “The Galveston Bay Foundation shares our goals for the health of the Bay and supporting them is a natural fit for NRG and will help restore the Bay, which is so important to the local area.”
The EcoCenter was built in the 1970s as an environmental lab for the wetlands of Trinity Bay. When the study concluded, the ponds and greenhouse were converted to a center that provides invaluable resources for the region.
Over the years, the EcoCenter has donated virtually all of the cordgrass that has been used to restore receding wetlands across the area.