GALVESTON, Texas, May 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental conservation and restoration, under its Caring for Our Coast program, CITGO Petroleum Corporation partnered with preservation organization Artist Boat to host a volunteer workday at the Coastal Heritage Preserve in Galveston. TeamCITGO volunteers helped Artist Boat staff plant native prairie vegetation, treated sections of the preserve for invasive fire ants and learned about the habitats and wildlife of the preserve.

"The Coastal Heritage Preserve is a critical barrier island habitat on the Gulf that keeps safe a diverse array of native and endangered species including the reddish egret, coyote, spotted sea trout, blue crabs and shrimp," said Karla Klay, executive director of Artist Boat. "Having a strong partner like CITGO helps us ensure that this ecosystem continues to provide these benefits for future generations."

Located on the Galveston Bay, the Coastal Heritage Preserve offers important protections to both the ecosystem and the residents of the surrounding area. A 360-acre collage of estuarine wetland, palustrine wetland, tidal flat, freshwater pond and coastal upland prairie, it is particularly important for neighboring coastal communities because it provides flooding and erosion control. The preserve also serves as a habitat for fish, shrimp and crab species as well as a migratory spot for native birds.

"As a member of the Gulf Coast community, we know firsthand the importance of these habitats not only to safeguarding the species that live in them, but also to protecting the community from the aftermath of severe storms," said CITGO President and CEO Nelson Martinez. "Through our work with Artist Boat and other organizations in the Gulf Coast, we can provide targeted conservation to the communities that need it most."

Beyond Artist Boat, CITGO partners with Texas-based organizations such as the Houston Audubon Society, Galveston Bay Foundation and Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program to preserve the delicate ecosystems of the Gulf Coast. Since 2014, when CITGO launched its Caring for Our Coast environmental restoration campaign, CITGO has committed resources for projects targeted to involve more than 2,500 volunteers in more than 40 volunteer events. Combined, volunteers have planted more than 140,000 plugs of dune grass, trees and bushes in support of restoring and protecting nearly 400 acres of coastal habitats in the Gulf.

About Artist Boat
Artist Boat was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 2003 by a board of directors representing artists and scientists.  Since inception, as of 2016, over 100,000 participants have engaged in Artist Boat's unique Eco-Art Programs, over 50 acres of dunes and wetlands have been restored during Habitat Restoration Adventures, and 548 acres of vitally important barrier island habitat has been conserved with over $7 million in grants awarded for land acquisition to form the Coastal Heritage Preserve on west Galveston Island.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit

SOURCE CITGO Petroleum Corporation