Archive for May 15th, 2008

Wetlands Month–Bahia Grande, 1

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Wildlife Restoration Program

For the past seventy years, Bahia Grande, a unit of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, has been no more than a six thousand acre dust bowl. Before then, it had been a productive tidal wetland.

A tidal wetland is normally a coastal wetland that is influenced by the daily tide cycle that would basically push or pull water into that system on a daily basis.

John Wallace is the refuge manager. The construction of the Brownsville Ship Channel in the 1930s effectively cut off Bahia Grande from the Lower Laguna Madre.

The spoil from that ship channel was piled on the north side, and it blocked off those natural channels that allowed water to flow into the Bahia Grande.

Without water, the basin dried up, and eventually became a nuisance to local residents and businesses whenever prevailing winds came from the southeast.

Normally on a coastal area with prevailing winds, you would get winds ten to twenty miles an hour every day. And these winds would pick up that real fine clay dust, and blow it to the north and northwest. And the local communities north of there were suffering from this blowing dust. It was impacting people that had breathing problems. The local schools, their air-conditioning systems, it was getting into the classrooms. So, it was a major concern for the local communities.

Solving the problem…that’s tomorrow.

That’s our show… with support from the Wildlife Restoration Program… providing funding for wetland conservation through the Private Lands Enhancement Program.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.