KUT NEWS

Lawsuit Seeks Water Priority for Cranes

Dec 2, 2011 | KUT News by Erika Aguilar | TAP In The News

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A wild flock of 300 whooping cranes flies from Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada to the Aransas marshes of the Texas Gulf Coast each year. The flock is expected to arrive in Texas sometime in December. The endangered birds are at the center of a federal court case in Corpus Christi that starts on Monday.

The whooping cranes spend the winter in Texas foraging for their favorite foods: blue crabs and wolfberries. Environmentalists with a group called the Aransas Project say there won’t be much food available.

Jim Blackburn is the attorney representing the Aransas Project. The group is suing the state for not allowing enough fresh water to flow into the marshes where the cranes live.

“We believe the rivers are currently overallocated and that basically little to no flow is reaching the San Antonio Bay system during times of drought,” Blackburn said.

He says 23 cranes died during the 2008 drought. The Aransas Project believes they died because the bays were too salty — too much water was being drawn from rivers, and not enough fresh water was making it to the coast.

“The state of Texas is causing harm by changing the habitat, by changing the availability of food and ultimately by causing the death of these whooping cranes by the way it manages the water inflows on Guadalupe and San Antonio River systems,” Blackburn said.

 

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