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.

Explore the situation further:

Videos

Meet The Aransas Project

5 minutes, 38 seconds

Founding members and leadership of the Aransas community and of The Aransas Project (TAP) speak about how their way of life depends on freshwater flows from the Guadalupe River Basin to balance the coastal ecosystems that provide critical habitat for the whooping cranes.

Updates

Star Herald

USFWS releases water to benefit whooping cranes

Apr 3, 2014 |

According to this story, it turns out that Whooping Cranes do in fact need freshwater to […]

The Texas Tribune

San Antonio Seeks Ownership of Its Wastewater

Jan 24, 2014 | Related Press

A bid by San Antonio’s water utility to declare ownership of the sewage it treats and […]

Victoria Advocate

Editorial: One survey of whoopers isn’t look at complete picture

Jan 9, 2014 | Related Press

The whooping cranes have been in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge since November. The endangered birds […]