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Texas Water Market Makers is a competitive program through which Texas Water Trade awards technical resources to support conservation partners as they pursue and execute environmental water deals in rivers, bays and estuaries across the state.

The program is modeled after the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) in the Pacific Northwest where, over the past two decades, 1.6 million acre-feet of water have been restored to thousands of miles of streams that were once impassable for trout and salmon. A core element of CBWTP’s success has been the persistent delivery of technical resources to conservation entities committed to developing the relationships and the science needed to deliver water transactions with conservation outcomes.

Through Texas Water Market Makers, we will train conservation practitioners to pursue and execute water deals to keep water instream – in cooperation with agricultural producers, cities and industrial water users.
Our first cohort of Market Makers include Audubon Texas, Galveston Bay Foundation, and Wimberley Valley Watershed Association. From 2020-2022, Texas Water Trade will steer technical resources to these outstanding conservation partners to help them advance their freshwater conservation goals.

Our 2022-2024 cohort of Market Makers will allow us to continue our work with Audubon Texas, the Galveston Bay Foundation and The Watershed Association and includes our newest Market Maker, the International Crane Foundation. Each of these partners will receive wide-ranging support from Texas Water Trade to advance their work to protect and enhance freshwater flows for wildlife in the state’s rivers and bays.

Meet the Texas Water Market Makers:

Audubon Texas
Audubon emphasizes restoration and conservation of degraded and vulnerable landscapes that support sensitive species of birds, habitats, and communities in Texas, focused on habitat strongholds where threats to water, land use, and natural processes can be reduced through on-the-ground improved science-based stewardship.

Interested in improving water quality and quantity in Texas waterways and along the coast, Audubon Texas as a Market Maker will leverage its Conservation Ranching Initiative to create value for landowners and wildlife in Matagorda Bay and in the Pecos River Basin.

Galveston Bay Foundation
Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) works to preserve and enhance Galveston Bay through conservation efforts and habitat restoration of wetlands, coastal prairie, oyster reef and seagrasses. As a Market Maker, GBF and Texas Water Trade will work together to complement those efforts and drive voluntary, market-based solutions to protect and enhance critical freshwater inflows to Galveston Bay.

Special emphasis will be placed on protection of the Bay’s oysters, which depend on freshwater inflows. Prior to the damage wrought by Hurricane Ike and the drought that followed, and overharvest due to closures of reefs in other areas of the Gulf of Mexico for health reasons, the Bay produced more oysters – about 6 million pounds – than any other body of water in the country.

International Crane Foundation
The International Crane Foundation works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend. We have a broad commitment to the people and places essential to cranes. In North America, the last, self-sustaining population of federally endangered Whooping Cranes only winter within and around the Guadalupe-San Antonio Estuary.

Cabelas Camera

As this wetland-dependent species continues to increase in numbers and expand their winter range, we are working with our partners to ensure enough healthy coastal habitats are available to support their recovery. Water quantity and quality is essential to maintain the estuarine and freshwater water systems along our coast, and working with Texas Water Trade will advance our initiative to provide high quality habitats and landscapes for cranes and people.

The Watershed Association
The Watershed Association envisions a future with clean, plentiful and sustained water for Jacob’s Well in the Texas Hill Country. The Watershed Association’s primary focus has always been to protect the Trinity Aquifer that sustains flow to Jacob’s Well through groundwater and surface water management.

During recent droughts, Jacob’s Well has stopped flowing due to increased groundwater pumping during dry periods. As a Market Maker, The Watershed Association will work to implement market-based strategies to reduce groundwater pumping to better protect Jacob’s Well springflow, especially during times of drought.