Coleto Creek plant donates land for wildlife sanctuary

Sara  Sneath By Sara Sneath

Oct. 23, 2014 at 10:36 p.m.
Updated Oct. 23, 2014 at 11:58 p.m.

A baby eagle in a nest on the 238-acre conservation easement donated by GDF SUEZ's Coleto Creek Power Plant.

A baby eagle in a nest on the 238-acre conservation easement donated by GDF SUEZ's Coleto Creek Power Plant.   CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID VANLEEUWEN, OF THE VICTORIA PHOTO CLUB for The Victoria Advocate

FANNIN - More than 200 acres of protected land in Goliad County are now open to outdoor enthusiasts - a month before the expected arrival of a bald eagle on the site.

GDF SUEZ's Coleto Creek Power Plant donated the 238-acre conservation easement - valued at $1 million - to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust for future generations to enjoy nature, said plant manager Robert Stevens.

Local photographers, Boy Scouts and conservationists already are using the property - across the lake from Coleto Creek Park. But Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority chief ranger Wilfred Korth has dreams of adding a boat ramp and learning facility. Korth has been working with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust and Coleto Creek Power Plant to convert the land into protected habitat for wildlife and a venue for learning outdoor skills since 2007.

"It's kind of a double celebration to see this finally happen as I complete 35 years with the GBRA," Korth said.

The conservation easement, which is slightly larger than Coleto Creek Park, will not have the amenities of the park, but will become a site for primitive camping, hiking and nature photography.

"We're going to leave it rough," Korth said.

As land development continues to encroach on rural land in Texas, the site, which has an active bald eagle nest, will become a wildlife sanctuary, he said.

The easement land was part of the 8,000 acre-property acquired by Coleto Creek about 1975, and includes a 3,100-acre lake.

Vice President of GDF SUEZ North America, Michael Fields, worked at the Coleto Creek Power Plant when Korth first approached the plant with the idea for a conservation easement in 2009, Fields said.

"So, five years ago all we had was an idea and some dreams. Five years from now I look forward to coming back here to talk about what all we've done to really maximize this piece of property," Fields said.



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