Volume XXVI, No. 3
PUBLISHED BY THE ORNITHOLOGY GROUP, OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB, HOUSTON, TEXAS
Thursday OG regular meeting, 7:30 P.M., Fonde Recreation Center, Memorial Drive
Aug. 4 at Sabine. For this, our first meeting of the new season, Bob Moulton
has arranged a program of much Interest: a slide program on the Big Bend
area, compiled by the Chlhuahuan Desert Research Center at Alpine. This
organization has done much study and research In this area, so we can look
forward to more than just a travelogue. We want to urge new members and
any non-member subscribers In the area to meet with us.
Saturday OG regular field trip. The Houston Arboretum Is the setting for this, our
Aug. 27 annual bird walk,which starts off the fall season of birding. The OG Is
compiling a checklist of birds of the Arboretum under the direction of
Wes Cureton and Ted Eubanks, Jr, and this will be an opportunity to become
familiar wtth this spot so that we may assist with this project In the
future. Meet In the Arboretum parking lot at 8:45 A.M. (The Arboretum
entrance is on Woodway, just east of the West Loop).
MORE ON THE WETLANDS PRESERVATION PROGRAM
Last month the SPOONBILL carried a notice of a public hearing by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service explaining their proposal to save and protect some wetlands along
the Texas coast. Jim Morgan, David Dauphin and Ted Eubanks, Jr. attended this meeting, and Ted sent the following account to the SPOONBILL.
"Over 75% pf the Central Flyway's waterfowl population winters within the confines
of the Texas Gulf Coast, the total number of Individuals being between four and seven
million. Many of these hosting wetlands, however, are presently threatened with destruction as the result of Industrial and commercial development, and drainage for
agricultural purposes. To prevent further erosion of wintering waterfowl habitat,
therefore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS) Is Initiating a wetlands preservation program on the Texas Gulf Coast.
"The F&WS Introduced the wetlands preservation program to Harris County residents
with a public meeting held at Rice University on June 9. Bob Karges, acqulstlon
biologist, and Tom Smith, a real estate specialist, both from the southwest regional
office of the F&WS In Albuquerque, N.M., outlined the program at the meeting.
"The F&WS Is interested In preserving key waterfowl habitat on the Texas Gulf Coast,
either through purchase or through negotiated restrictive easements. A study to
Identify the key waterfowl areas on the coast was recently completed, and involved
input from state and federal biologists, qualified individuals and private organizations. The 25 identified areas were then ranked as to their value as waterfowl habitat, and the threat to their destruction, both long and short-term, was then analyzed. Those wetlands that are purchased will become national wildlife refuges, of
which there are presently only five on the Texas Gulf Coast. Those lands preserved
through restrictive easements, however, will remain In private hands.
"Funding for the program Is to come from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF),
whose resources are derived from the sale of duck stamps. Because of the urgency
of the situation a $9 million loan against future duck stamp sales has been approved
by Congress, and provides for the acquisition of restrictive easements on Texas
wetlands. This law requires that the funds be spent by Sept. 30, 1977, or else the
money reverts to the MBCF to be used in other areas nationally.
"Perhaps of greatest Interest to the SPOONBILL readership is that eight of these key
wetland parcels are located in the UTC, six of which are ranked In the top ten as +0