Midland family supports coastal wetlands habitat conservation
RICHMOND, Texas, Oct. 31, 2005 — Partners recently celebrated the completion of a 55-acre freshwater wetland at Guadalupe Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Habitat work was completed in large part due to a generous donation by Midland, Texas DU volunteers Jack and Joe Campbell, owners of the Lone Star Lodge in Port O’Connor, Texas. Donated funds were used to install a low levee and one water control structure for area staff to manage water levels for the production of high quality waterfowl foods.
Located in Refugio and Calhoun Counties, the Guadalupe Delta WMA is owned and managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Its nearly 6,600 acres are comprised of three management units: Mission Lake, Hynes Bay and Guadalupe River Units. The area provides excellent habitat for resident, migrating and wintering waterfowl. However, optimal habitat conditions are possible only through annual wetlands management by TPWD staff.
“While there is an abundance of fresh tidal wetland west of Hog Bayou, it is dominated by rank, relatively impenetrable vegetation and is very difficult to manage,” said Kevin Kriegel, TPWD area manager. “Moist soil wetlands, like the one just completed, allow our staff to maximize habitat conditions for the benefit of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife.”
The Campbells’ contribution was received through Texas CARE (Conservation of Agriculture Resources Environment), a conservation initiative established by DU, TPWD, private contributors and other public agencies to address critical wetland habitat needs throughout Texas.
“We are happy to support this project and proud to be a part of the conservation of coastal wetlands. What my dad and I are particularly struck with, though, is the enthusiasm and dedication of the biologists responsible for making this happen,” said Jack Campbell.
Funds for the project were provided by Lone Star Lodge, DU, TPWD and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council.
“Ducks Unlimited exists because of the passion and commitment exhibited by volunteers and supporters like the Campbells,” said Ed Ritter, DU’s director of conservation programs for Texas and New Mexico. “Their generous donation, in combination with other partnerships, allows conservation of coastal wetlands to become a reality. This is what Texas CARE is all about.”
This project provides valuable foraging habitat to migrating and wintering waterfowl along the Guadalupe River, primarily benefiting pintails, gadwall, blue- and green-winged teal, American wigeon and mottled ducks. The TPWD will manage the area to maintain high quality moist-soil wetlands for waterfowl and shorebirds. Public hunting is permitted for waterfowl, alligators and other wetland-dependent wildlife.
“We’re all impressed with the newly-completed wetland. But, our most important customers and toughest critics are the birds,” said Todd Merendino, TPWD’s midcoast project leader. “We’ll know we’ve done a good job when we see ducks, herons and shorebirds stacked in this newly created wetland. From the looks of things, we won’t have to wait long.”
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands − nature’s most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year.