DECEMBER NEWS 1999 
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KEMPS RIDLEY TURTLE UPDATE

           redhot.gif (1175 bytes)NOTE: DECEMBER MEETING IS DECEMBER 14 at 11:15 - ART CENTER
                        redhot.gif (1175 bytes)redhot.gif (1175 bytes)(This is one week earlier than our usual meeting!)

             COASTAL BEND GROUP
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         * Pat Suter                   852-7938              Chairman
            PHSUTER@aol.com

         * Randy Berryhill        883-0586        Vice Chairman

         * Judy Tor                  241-2605                Treasurer

         * Dorothy McLaren   883-0435                 Secretary

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December meeting:December 14
redhot.gif (1175 bytes)(a week earlier than our usual meeting)

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: AN ECOLOGICAL HOLIDAY

The meeting this month will be more fun than anything else. But there is business as well. Committee reports, election of officers, plans for next year. We will also take a brief look at the past efforts of the Coastal Bend Sierra Club to see if we can improve on our activities.

Next month a real" newsletter will be mailed with the meeting dates and other pertinent information. If you have something to include, please mail it to the box (PO Box 3512, 78404) and we will include it if possible.

 FIELD TRIPS AND MEETINGS

1999-2000 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS
AUDUBON OUTDOOR CLUB

December 19, Flour Bluff, Jim Hailey, 994-1167

December 18, Corpus Christi (West side), Kent Taylor,814-5209

December 19, Kingsville, Tom Langschied, 595-4566

December 20, Port Aransas, Scott Holt, 749-5656

December 28, Aransas Nat. Wildlife Refuge, Barbara Bruns, 575-5505 or Tom Stehn at 286-3559

January 2, Rockport, Michael Marsden, 790-8884

(Help is needed on all these counts. Call the leader if you want to participate.)

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DATES FOR JANUARY

Kiskadee Bus Tour..Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley SP, Mission. Tours are held every Tuesday and Friday. Reservations required, 956-519-6448 or 956-585-1107.

El Canelo Ranch Bus Tour, Mission. Reservations required. Fees $40 per person. call 956-519-6448 or 956-585-1107.

Matagorda Island and Whooping Crane tours from Port O'Conner.

January 9, Intracoastal boat tour.

January 21, Whooping crane and wildlife bus tour.

January 22, Beachcombing

Janaury 23 History of Matagorda tour.

Call 361-983-2215 for fees, reservations, and information.


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 UPDATE: WE CREATE OUR OWN
                   DISASTERS

                                                                            by Pat Suter

Several years ago, Senator Babe Schwartz of Galveston came to Corpus Christi for a meeting at the "Million Dollar Inn" on North Padre Island and made the comment that the development there was a "disaster waiting to happen". So far that disaster has not materialized, but he still feels the same way.
This year in North Carolina Mother Nature hit again along the coast and disaster resulted. People insist on building along the beaches there as they do here and when hurricanes hit, property and lives are lost. This year in North Carolina, another problem. raised its ugly head. The pig industry had been allowed to build in the flood plain and with the immense floods resulted from the rains associated with Hurricane Floyd, the waste lagoons over-flowed their levees. Needless to say, tragedy resulted. I did get some satisfaction from the fact that the major benefactors of these operations lived nearby and their property was over-run by the waste as well as the adjacent rivers and bays and estuaries.
This storm was not the 500-year storm as the Governor Jim Hunt of North Carolina called it. According to scientists speaking at the North Carolina Coastal Federation's annual meeting, Floyd was a 50-year storm that had the impact of a 500-year storm because of human activities in the flood plain. Development of wetlands, ditching, and paving exacerbated what would have otherwise been just a bad storm. In other words, humans had created their own problems through careless land development practices.
The devastating flooding and runoff from Floyd is now causing conditions off the coast of North Carolina which is creating another DEAD ZONE. Too much nutrient and sediment runoff are flowing into the bays and estuaries and have already caused decreased oxygen levels. The destruction of wetlands and forests has made the area particularly vulnerable.
The Gulf of Mexico DEAD ZONE off the coast of Louisiana and East Texas is also growing. The estimated size of 7,728 square miles this year is about 700 square miles larger than the previous record set in 1995. The zone is caused as fertilizers, pesticides and other polluted runoff draining from America's heartland and this is discharged from the Mississippi River into the Gulf. As the nutrients are used up by the algae in the water, they die off and sink to the bottom. Populations of decomposer bacteria explode in reaction and they rob the water of oxygen. Mobile fish leave, but less mobile things die on the bottom. We really need control of runoff and much better land use planning!!