Trinity River Refuge Headquarters Grounding Breaking Event
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting a ground breaking ceremony for the new administrative headquarters on Friday, nurse sick March 18, 2011 at 10:00 am. The site is located directly across from the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center on FM 1011 in Liberty. Refuge staff along with the prime contractor will be on hand to answer questions. This event is open to everyone and we hope you can attend. If you have any questions, please call Stuart Marcus, Refuge Manager, at 936/336-9786.
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge Requests Comments on Environmental Assessment for Expanding Hunts
The Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Liberty County is analyzing the environmental impacts associated with offering additional units for hunting of big game (deer and hog) and upland game (squirrel and rabbit). The refuge has published a draft environmental assessment, draft hunt plan, and draft compatibility determination and welcomes comments. Deadline for public comments is January 21, 2011.
The draft is available on the web at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/txrefuges.html. Click on the Trinity River website. You also may obtain a copy by calling the refuge at 936-336-9786.
The refuge's preference is to offer hunting on three additional units for deer, feral hogs, squirrels and rabbits. The new units total 3,150 acres. When added to the current 4,800 acres hunted, this brings a refuge total to nearly 8,000 acres, which is a little less than one-third the total size of the refuge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 553 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit the Service's website at http://www.fws.gov.
Trinity River Refuge National Public Lands Day Cleanup Results
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge along with the Friends of Trinity River Refuge hosted a trash cleanup day at the Hwy 105 Trinity River bridge on September 25th. The cleanup event was part of a national effort for National Publics Lands Day. Nearly 55 volunteers assisted in picking up litter and filling an entire 7' x 18' trailer, with an estimated total of 2,000 pounds. Aluminum cans were separated for recycling. Special thanks go to Ms. Penny Taylor of Liberty High School who brought 38 Environmental Science students to the event, many with colorful tee shirts promoting the cleanup. Other volunteers included 10 Cub Scouts from Dayton Pack 8 and 4 Refuge Volunteers.
Trinity River Refuge personnel working on BP spill effort
Working the Spill
By Laurie Lomas, Wildlife Biologist
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
I am a wildlife biologist with the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Liberty County, TX. Part of my job is to protect the nation's wildlands and wildlife, wherever they may be. I was deployed to Dennis Pass, Louisiana, where the Mississippi meets the Gulf of Mexico, to capture live oiled birds, recover dead birds, and to scour the beaches for new deposits of oil. These were my thoughts, as I assisted with the Mississippi Canyon 252 oil spill in late July 2010 during a two-week detail.
I will never forget seeing a clean beach teeming with terns and gulls my first few days only to return the third day and see it splattered with oil, the raindrop-sized spots of oil still floating in, a precursor to tarballs. The worst I saw were areas 5 ft by 4ft wide, covered with the orange-brown sludge material, which if stirred with a stick, had the consistency and stickiness of a melted chocolate bar.
I did not see the initial impacts of the oil, like what was shown on TV. I did not see thick blankets of it floating in puddles, but more of it soaked in the ground, lurking, awaiting for sand to cover it, like it never happened. If we found new oil on the ground, we reported it to the U.S. Coast Guard. They would send in teams to clean the beaches. This entailed clean-up crew members using shovels to scoop up the layers of oil deposited and buried by days of waves and wind-blown sand. The clean-up crews also had to remove all vegetation and debris from the beach, this included all the trash, sticks, fish, crabs that floated up, for it was all covered in oil. If the clean-up crews found dead or sick/injured birds, regardless of degree of oiling, they reported them to us for pick-up.
Every biologist couldn't help but be a birddog. We all wanted to capture live birds. We raced to retrieve the bird, by boat, then by all-terrain vehicle, to the spot where a member of the Coast Guard awaited us. But within the short time it took for us to get there, the bird had died. The member explained how the bird was alive, being tossed around by the waves, and then spit on shore while he called us. He said it fumbled around, fell on its side, and regurgitated something thick and brown. Upon inspection, the laughing gull had a brown liquid in and around its mouth. Though the bird did not exhibit any oil on its body, it is still quite possible that the bird had died from ingesting oil. Other evidence of birds ingesting oil had been found on the beaches, it was found mixed in the bird feces. And, if birds were not ingesting the oil directly, it was still quite possible that it was coming in through the food chain. Fish and crabs were dead on the shores, it was in the vegetation, and it was in the water they drank.
Looks like the work is not over. I've been detailed to work around the same area for another two weeks starting the end of August.
Liberty Jubilee 2010
The Trinity River Refuge booth had another fantastic showing at the March 27 Liberty Jubilee. We counted 1222 visitors who were helped by 15 volunteers (many thanks) and 3 staff during the day long event. A few kids did cry when we wouldn't let them take home one of the ducklings we had on display, but other than that things went well. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day as the weather held out except for some wind gusts.
Hope to see many of you at the Earth Day Event at Champion Lake on Saturday, April 24.