Coastal wetlands have tremendous biological and economic value. The Land Office protects Texas coastal wetlands, including salt and freshwater marshes, bottomland hardwoods and swamps, and palustrine scrub-shrubs, through regulatory and non-regulatory programs. Coastal wetlands help improve water quality; serve as important nurseries for fish, crab, and other shellfish; provide diverse wildlife habitat; serve as flood buffers; help control shoreline erosion; and provide an abundance of recreational activities for the public.
Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to tropical rain forests and coral reefs. It’s estimated that more than 95 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's recreational and commercial catch of fish, oysters, shrimp, and crab use coastal wetlands for spawning, nursery, and feeding habitat. Wetlands also provide permanent and seasonal habitat for a great variety of wildlife, including 75 percent of North America's birds. Well over one-third of the 564 plant and animal species listed as threatened or endangered in the United States use wetland habitats.