URGENT CALL TO ACTION to DU Leadership and Members:

The Texas Mid-Coast provides continentally significant habitat for many species of waterfowl and is the winter home for nearly 3 million waterfowl annually. Agricultural wetlands, especially rice rotation wetlands, within LCRA Irrigation Districts provide approximately 50 percent of the energy required by wintering waterfowl on the Texas Mid-Coast. These managed wetlands are in grave danger, and we need you to take action today to save them and the waterfowl that depend upon them!

Fax a letter or call your Senator before April 9 asking them not to support SB 1631 currently being considered by the Texas State. Personalize the letter based on your experiences. Faxing or calling (even voice mail over the weekend) is the best way to ensure it is received and counted. Keep phone calls brief and direct, but friendly and respectful in tone.

Highlights of SB 1631:

  •   The bill replaces the existing processes and the
      informed decisions of the Lower Colorado River
      Authority (LCRA) Board and TCEQ.
  •   It establishes a permanent, arbitrary cut-off volume of
      850,000 acre feet combined water storage in Lakes Travis
      and Buchanan, below which the irrigation water supplied to 
      interruptible customers would automatically cease.
  •   Firm water users would not be asked to voluntarily
      or mandatorily reduce their water usage during drought
      until water supply to interruptible customers 
      was stopped.
  •   Water would be cut off at the trigger of 850,000 ac-ft,
      even if the crop is in mid-season stage of development,
      essentially killing the rice crop and adding increased 
      uncertainty to the substantial business risks that farmers 
      and lenders already face. This would be a huge waste of water, 
      and catastrophic to nesting shore birds and wading birds.
  •   SB 1631 will likely lead to the destruction of the rice industry in
      the lower Colorado River basin and severely impact the regional
      and state economies.
  •   Click here for more information.

Waterfowl cannot afford the permanent restriction proposed by SB 1631. Under Emergency Orders from LCRA, the reduction of over 50,000 acres of rice in 2012 and 2013 reduced the ability of the Texas Mid-Coast to support wintering waterfowl by at least 600,000 birds, representing approximately 31 percent of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan wintering population objective for the area. We cannot overstate the importance of this area for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife. The Texas Mid-Coast contains the last, intact rice prairie wetland complex of its size remaining in Texas, and it is a unique national treasure.

How to find your Texas state Senator: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

As always, thanks for your support of Ducks Unlimited!

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