A Jewel of the Texas Coast Is in Trouble
The Aransas area is a beloved and economically productive area of the Texas Coast. Both residents and tourists treasure the region’s fishing, recreation, and wildlife, especially the favorite winter Texans, the whooping cranes.
The unique ecosystems of the Aransas area include a number of estuaries and bays, as well as the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, winter habitat of the federally endangered whooping crane. These Aransas area bays and estuaries depend on a balance provided by freshwater inflows of the Guadalupe River Basin. The record-breaking death toll of the whooping cranes in 2008/2009 coupled with the poor fishing season tell us that not enough freshwater is reaching the bays.
The cumulative effects of the Guadalupe River Basin’s management show up vividly in the bays, where the river ends. As the low flows from the recent drought have shown us, the basin is already over-allocated and its management must change to protect the interests of the entire river system, especially the freshwater inflows required to preserve the bays and estuaries.
Water is an economic commodity, especially in Texas, and this resource must be managed responsibly. Economic interests of the Aransas area depend on tourism and outdoor recreation—all reliant on the health of the bays. If the bays are unable to survive, it is only a matter of time before the entire river basin is put in jeopardy because mismanagement in any part of the basin hurts us all.