Mary Anne Piacentini Recipient of the 2018 Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award

5/14/2018

The Bayou Preservation Association is proud to announce the recipient of the 2018 Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award is Mary Anne Piacentini.

Mary Anne has been a strong voice and successful force for conservation and preservation efforts of the Houston area’s lands and waters for more than 30 years. Since 1999, she has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Katy Prairie Conservancy. From the 1,300 acres protected when she arrived, the Katy Prairie Conservancy now preserves, through ownership and easements, over 25,000 acres of coastal prairie and wetlands in Harris, Waller, Matagorda, and Fort Bend counties.

The Katy Prairie is indeed the headwaters of most of the Houston area bayous, but a solely Katy Prairie focus is not what brings this award to Mary Anne. Rather, it is her broad vision and inventive work toward the preservation of the important natural benefits that prairie lands and other open spaces contribute to the region’s waterways and to the quality of life for its residents. 

Mary Anne helped develop a "flood zones to green zones" concept for discussions held in 2007 with conservation groups and business leaders in support of a county bond initiative, a concept that eventually helped bring the Bayou Greenways Initiative to life. She has served on advisory committees for Harris County Flood Control District, including the Cypress Creek Overflow Study and the Katy Prairie Flood Impact Study.

She has led a multi-year collaboration for a Headwaters to Baywaters Initiative to protect riparian corridors along tributaries to upper Galveston Bay, which is now part of Houston Wilderness’s Regional Conservation Plan. To secure funding and make this initiative a reality, Mary Anne is working with conservation groups and the Houston Advanced Research Center to refine a proposal. She is also currently spearheading a coordinated plan among conservation groups to address the impacts of Hurricane Harvey and the many proposed responses to it.

It’s hard to imagine our community without the tireless work of such an incredible advocate for our natural spaces. Mary Anne Piacentini is a model of vision and dedication – all of which through the years have delivered results that have helped to celebrate, protect, and restore Houston area bayous and watersheds.