PORT LAVACA, Texas Oct.18, 2022 Ducks Unlimited (DU) volunteers, partners and supporters gathered to honor longtime volunteers and Diamond Benefactor Sponsors Tim and Karen Hixon by highlighting the 2,119-acre Buffalo Lake Marsh Restoration Project.

"Buffalo Lake Marsh is a crucial spot for waterfowl and other wetland birds," said Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). "We are dedicating this area to Tim and Karen in honor of their longtime commitment to supporting wildlife and habitat conservation projects across Texas, along with their leadership while serving on the TPWD."

Owned and managed by the TPWD, the Mission Lake Unit of the Guadalupe Delta Wildlife Management Area is in Calhoun County. This area is popular for waterfowl hunting and the recurring youth hunts are a prime example of how even small conservation efforts can benefit wildlife and people, something the Hixons are passionate about.

Crews enhanced the project area years ago with a large water-control structure and network of levees to facilitate proper habitat management. However, the infrastructure enhancements degraded over the years and eventually failed, leaving the area exposed to the elements and flooding. Implementing a different design and configuration for the water-control infrastructure allows the project to function properly and the structure should be better able to withstand increased water flows during future upstream floods or unusual high tidal events.

These improvements will benefit waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife, like nongame birds, amphibians and reptiles. Increased plant growth in the marsh should also improve the water quality released downstream into the estuary by retaining some sediments and filtering excess nutrients.

"Dedicating this project to Tim and Karen Hixon in recognition of their more than 33 years of support and helping to ensure the next generation has wild places to enjoy is inspiring," said Jordan Keller, DU director of development-South Texas. "Tim and Karen are true examples of the spirit of conservation."

Tim and Karen Hixon spent much of their time serving and supporting multiple organizations, many of which share the common mission of conservation. As a conservationist, Tim served on the board and as vice chairman of the TPWD from 1989 to 1995 and as chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation from 1995 to 2002, where he was honored as a trustee emeritus and inducted into the Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was also a trustee and director of the National Board of The Nature Conservancy as well as The Texas Nature Conservancy, president and trustee (emeritus) of the San Antonio Zoological Society, a director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and a board member of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. Tim also served as the president of the Boone and Crockett Club and as director and executive vice president of Game Conservation International.

Karen was a member of the board of the Texas Nature Conservancy and TPWD and served a six-year term on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. She currently serves on the boards of the Peregrine Fund in Boise, Idaho, and the Texas Agricultural Land Trust Foundation.

Tim and Karen have supported DU for 33 years and are Diamond Benefactor Sponsors.

"I am honored by this dedication," said Karen Hixon. "Tim and I have always been passionate about conservation. While he is not here with us, I know he would have loved to have been part of the celebration. Projects like this help ensure these open spaces are here for generations to come, which is something we have always advocated for."

Project partners include the TPWD, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Phillips 66, Texas migratory game bird hunters, and DU Gulf Coast Initiative Major Sponsors.

For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to follow DU's Twitter feed @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

About Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.