KEMPS RIDLEY TURTLE UPDATE
NOTE: DECEMBER MEETING IS DECEMBER 14 at 11:15 - ART CENTER
COASTAL BEND GROUP
- EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
* Pat Suter 852-7938 Chairman
PHSUTER@aol.com * Randy Berryhill 883-0586 Vice Chairman * Judy Tor 241-2605 Treasurer * Dorothy McLaren 883-0435 Secretary
* Henry Berryhill 883-0586 Conservation
* Randy Berryhill 883-0586 Membership
* Ken Jobe 993-3737 Recycling
* Edith Cosgrove 241-2960 Air Quality
* Cheryl McGrath 883-9778 Web Master
November meeting: November 16
Art Community Center, 100 Shoreline
Lunch, 11:15 a.m., Business meeting, 12:15 p.m.
(You may bring your lunch to the business meeting if your
time is limited.)
Program: URBAN SPRAWL...THE MANY DOWNSIDES
................................................................ FIELD TRIPS AND MEETINGS
GULF COAST: NOVEMBER 10-14.
6th Rio Grand Valley Birding Festival
Harlingen, TX. (800-531-7346)
LOCAL: NOVEMBER 15...TEXAS RECYCLES MEETING..11 A.M. TO 2 P.M. AT TAMUCC, University Center, free hot dogs and drinks.
NOVEMBER 20..Port Aransas..Birding trip led by Audubon Outdoor Club's Leonabelle Turnbull. Call 361-749-5307 for details.
NOVEMBER WEEKENDS: Brazos Bend State Park, Needville.
Call 409-345-5101 for details.
November Wednesdays through Sundays: Plantation House, barns, grounds tours. Varner-Hogg Plantation, West Columbia. Call 409-345-4656.
November 13, 20, 27. Calypso Duck Mission River Tours,
Fennessey Ranch, Refugio, 361-529-6600.
DECEMBER 4...Audubon Society field trip to North Bay Sanctuary near Aransas Pass. Call 361-882-7232 for details.
This month we will take up the issue of urban sprawl and the drive
for many to have a home in the country..or at least a large lot in some subdivision away
from the city. Here in south Texas there is seemingly a lot of land available, but we
forget that most of this land could, and used to be, used for agriculture. Can we afford
to continually lose this land. And can we continually annex land far from the city center
which calls for more highways, more car travel, more congestion, and so on. What is the
real price in time and anxiety we are paying for all this? The national Sierra has
declared urban sprawl to be a priority issue. Come to the meeting and add your thoughts.
Last month was the first time we contacted our members via this medium, e-mail, and newspaper notices. It is too early to tell if this method will actually get our message out to more people, but the attendance at the meeting was encouraging.
Readers of this web site are asked to write to either me or Cheryl McGrath, our web master, with their thoughts and please feel free to contribute letters or articles to this site.
See you at the meeting on November 16.
REGULAR MEETING DATES FOR FALL ARE THE THIRD TUESDAY OF THE MONTH: OCT.19, NOV.16, **DEC.14. SO MARK YOUR CALENDAR
*December meeting is the 2nd Tuesday
Urban growth has spread out into the countryside all around the world, but especially in the United States. Call it sprawl, or poor land use planning, the flight from the inner cities and small towns into spread-out developments which take over forests, farmlands, plains and wetlands, is impoverishing us all.
It is not just population growth, though we have grown from 150 million in 1950 to 250 million in 1990. It is lousy plannning. It is far easier to stick a subdivision on the outskirts of a city than it is to plan for re-investment in the inner city. Our tax situation also contributes to this situation. The preservation of farms and the natural landscape takes a far lower rank that does the creation of another strip mall.
One of the problems that result from this ever increasing subdivisions on the outside of cities is the disconnection people feel for the city itself. This is often felt significantly in the school districts as the wealthier people move away from the inner city to greener pastures. They take with them the taxes they would otherwise have paid to support the schools, parks, and other aspects of city living. But one aspect of the move further away from "things to do" which we find in the inner city is the lack of communnity felt by the young. Kids, particularily those of middle school age complain constantly that they have no way to meet their friends. Having a parent drive them to some mall is not the answer. I have read accounts of the increasing kid violence being the result of this lack of community feeling. The kids are at loose ends and no one seems to care. At least this is what such kids say in one way or another.
One of the many things we are losing to our land appetite is the living natural heritage. When have you last seen a horny toad in your garden? They were present in the central part of Corpus Christi when we moved here in the 1950's. Today they are endangered because of loss of habitat. But for the most part, the losses are not of the animals we choose to highlight. There are no bears, lions, elephants and such outside this city. But there are mountain lions in south Texas. There are bobcats. These are not protected and because they flee from man, we often have no knowledge that we have driven them away. There are also such things as the burrowing owl. Years ago there was an owl family which reared young for several years in the base of the sign for a drive-in theater on Ayers Street. No more. And this is not to mention the snakes, frogs and toads, the dragon flies and other species which are symbolic of the natural world we have lost in the city.
But there are other problems associated with urban sprawl. These are the great increase of pollution and traffic congestion brought about by the greater distances and more car traffic to get to ones destination. Most suburban families have at least two cars and sometimes various forms of other gasoline propelled vehicles.
All this creates air pollution..the most polluted air you breathe is in an airconditioned automobile during rush hour traffic according to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency. It also contributes greatly to water pollution because of toxic residue from tires, gasoline, and oil which washes off roadways and parking lots into streams and bays. The streams and here, the bays, must also cope with sewage and sediment which washes off cleared land.
The ecosystems of the U.S. are extremely diverse. But after the bulldozers leave, what is left is cleared space full of lawn grass. Many seasonal wetlands are filled in and there is really no effective protection for them. We talk about no loss of wetlands, but the small vernal pools are not protected. And if the developer does get permission to develop this kind of land, then mitigation is required. This most often consists of created ponds which simply do not have the diversity of life which existed there before. So what we have left are the "weedy species"..those which proliferate in man's vicinity.
And so we are faced with a dilema. The solutions will not come tomorrow. Some enlightened cities are trying the concept that has proven successful in Portland, Oregon. This "urban growth boundary" has become successful because regional governmnet encourages and plans for growth within the boundary and discourages growth outside. Maryland and Georgia are trying legislative remedies. Corpus Christi could use someone in the planning department, and on the planning commission, which is concerned with the loss of farmland and biodiversity on the outskirts of the city. We do not have to accept the constant sprawl which is going on in this city. And there is absolutely no way one can get from one end of the city to the other by public transportation. This reflects poor city planning.