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Packery Channel Issue

  by Bill Alling Dec. 2001

Shrimping Regulations-February 2002 by Pat Suter

CBBEP   by Frank Hankins
- see January 2000 newsletter
THE LEPC    by Edith Cosgrove
- see January 2000 newsletter
June 12, 1999 Nueces County Bond Election Comments


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URGENT - Shrimping Regulations Meeting 7/2000
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(Reprinted from article in Lone Star Sierran 1991)

    The Coastal Bend Sierra Club Group was accredited in October 1975.   The first chairman was Dr. Paul Gray who presided over a small group of greatly concerned people in this area.  The Group has continued to have enviornmental protection and enhancement as the primary focus for Group activity since the beginning.
The Group is small, only about 300 members.  Their influence in the Coastal Bend area is all out of proportion to their numbers.  In addition to Dr. Gray, several professional scientists have donated their time and expertise to the various causes which the Group has embraced.
One of the earliest of these was the fight to prevent the Port (Nueces County Navigation District then) from dumping dredged spoil into Nueces Bay.  Historically, the Porthad a patent from the State of Texas to use one-third of the original size of Nueces Bay for spoil produced by maintenance dredging of the ship channel.  But times have changed and today the public sees the value of the bay in a different light.  The material which was to be dredged from the bottom of the channel in deeping to 45 feet was contaminated with heavy metals.  These contaminants had resulted from the run-offs of several of the industries located along the harbor channel.  The Corps of Engineers called a meeting to which they brought their highly trained personnel and this Group also had some very well qualified people there.  We had a professor of biology, two professors of chemistry, a head of the U.S. Geological Survey, and a couple of engineers.   When the Corps realized who they were up against, they backed down and today the spoil is being placed on upland sites.
    Another issue of the late seventies and early eighties was the proposal to dredge a deep-draft inner harbor near Port Aransas at Harbor Island. This location is where the ship channel joins the Gulf of Mexico.  This channel would have been 72-feet deep and the spoil was to be placed in several areas around Port Aransas on the back side of the barrier islands.  Again our "experts" were very vocal in their opposition and together with other interest groups, we succeeded in silencing the project.  THe commissioners of the Port later thanked us for saving them a lot of money when the downturn in the price of oil cam in 1985-7.  This permit request was withdrawn, but a new version has recently surfaced under a new name, SAFEHARBOR. This time the theme is that it is safer to have an inshore port than to offload from super tankers out in the Gulf onto smaller tankers which can navigate this facility.  (This project is on hold but not expected to realize because of financing problems.  They are now looking at a monobuoy which we proposed first in 1977.)
    A major environmental fight in Corpus Christi was the attempt to construct a landfill site off the bayfront in Corpus Christi.  This Group joined with other enviornmental groups in the city to counter the usual propaganda put forth by the proponents about all the jobs to be created and the tax base increase which would result.   The Corps of Engineers finally denied the permit request but the proponents sued the city saying that they did not get all the help they needed.  (They lost.)
    Currently, (1991) the Group has joined with others to oppose the dredging of Packery Channel at the juncture of Padre and Mustang Islands.  We oppose the venture for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that we believe that such an open channel would increase hurricane danger.
...(So far, no dredging has occurred, but the possibility has come up again in 1999.)

     (The above article was reprinted in the Coastal Bend Sierra Club Newsletter in February, 1999.)  The article was shortened because the last paragraphs no longer apply.  Instead a few of the things we are currently working on will be presented here.
Packery Channel was first an issue in 1970 before this Group was organized but some of the earliest members worked on this issue then.  The question at that time was the effort of the developer to extend the seawall across the channel in order to build more condos and hotels.  His effort was defeated.  It was much later that a new developer tried to open the channel to boat traffic in the eighties and that effort went down as well.  The City of Corpus Christi tried to get into the fray, but they had to withdraw when a petition against involvement was signed by 8300 residents in 1988.   The latest efforts are being led by the current owner of land behind the seawall and by County Judge Richard Borchard and County Commissioner Joe McComb.  In October 1998, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson placed a bill into the budget bill which would give $19.5 million toward the $30 million project.  Her press release stated that the project was needed for the sant to re-nourish the beach to prevent the massive damage to that area from storms suring the summer of 1998.  (There was no such damage.)   She also stated that opening the channel would greatly increase the circulation of water to Corpus Christi and Nueces Bays.  This would be exceedingly difficult with an average one foot tide.  But now in 1999 the pressure from the proponents is on again and we are preparing to fight.
    Raising the Kennedy Causeway onto pilings has been an ongoing effort for many years.  Now at least, it is only money whichstands in the way.  Before there was active opposition.  So we will see.
    Industrial pollution has been a focus of efforts by many of our members for a long time.  Now the state office has set their priorities in the same direction and even some of the local plants are making noises to the tune of pollution clean-up.   We must keep up the pressure and make sure that the citizens rights to know what is in their air and water are not abridged by the current legislature.


From January 2000


                     by Mina Williams & Venice Scheurich

Last Month (December) the executive committee of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club voted to support "a zero to 7 fathom" closure to shrimp trawling along the entire Texas coast year round. Further, our state organization supports a "zero to 10 fathom closure to shrimp trawling along Padre Island National Seashore from March 1 to August 31 for the purpose of protecting 50 % of the Kempís ridley turtles". The positive significance of these statements, which appear in a resolution issued by our state chapter, can hardly be over-estimated.

In a memo, Brian Sybert, National Resources Director of the Lone Star Chapter of Sierra, announced a meeting of environmental organizations that are concerned with sea turtle survival and recovery. This meeting was held on Thursday, January 6 in Austin. Included in that group will be the Center for Marine Conservation and the Sea Turtle Restoration Project. These two organizations are central to beneficial movement to assure sea turtle survival, so this initiative on the part of our state-level organization is a cause for celebration.




    By the time you read this TNRCC will have met and considered the issue of the permit to transfer water the 110 miles from Lake Texana to Corpus Christi and also the request of the City of Corpus Christi to declare "condition 2" of their drought plan.  Both of these issues will effect most of our members in one way or another.  You will need to come to the May 21 meeting to hear the  latest and to learn of any action Sierra will take.
    Edie Cosgrove loaned me a book to read which she said made a strong impression on her.  It made such a strong impression on me that I went out and bought my own copy.  The book is OUR STOLEN FUTURE by Colburn, Dumanoske and Meyers and published by Dutton.  The authors report the recent discovery that persistent chemicals, such as PCB's, dioxins, pesticides, plastics, and styrene are attaching themselves to the endocrine cells in our bodies and those of mammals with frightening results.  I recommend that you get a copy from the library or borrow or buy the book and read it.
One reviewer said this book may be another SILENT SPRING.


The Stores of John Muir - Public Presentations May 1996

Friday, May 10  7:30 p.m.        Warren Theater, Texas A&M - CC
Saturday, May 11  10:30 a.m.   Corpus Christi Public Library (In the park around the McCracken
                                                 Memorial bird Bath)
Saturday, May 11   2:30 p.m.    Museum of Science and History (The Water Garden Room)

Listen! Learn! Enjoy! Stories of a naturalist by a naturalist.  John Muir, celebrated and revered by ecologists, teachers, students, and scientists, lives.   Experience adventures from his Scots boyhood to his legendary 1,000 mile walk across America.  Recall his past through story, song, and drama.

Richard Shore transcends time and revisits a distant era as an American icon.  He evokes the stillness of the forest, distills the principles of conservation, and exhorts us, with entertaining wit and gentle humility, to be stewards of the wilderness.

John Muir needs little introduction.  He was the consummate environmentalist:   father of Yosemite, Sierra club founder, inventor, architect of the National Park Service, geologist, inspired storyteller.  His writings remain a model for contemporary authors; his hikes still challenge more ordinary "soles."

As the reincarnation of Muir, Dick Shore bewitches the mind's eye; he's entirely convincing as he dons the clothes, the mannerisms, the brogue.  His credits include audiences at high schools, colleges, and universities.  He's performed at Audubon, Sierra, and Nature Conservancy clubs.  Elderhostelers, civic groups, religious congregations, and army troops have applauded him engaging over 35,000 at presentations nationwide.

But who is he?  A zoologist, (Ph.D., Duke, 1963), Operations Analyst (MBA, 1974), and Quality Engineer, he works in both public and private sectors.  Indulging a life-long passion for theater, he has honed the skills requisite to create an impassioned, artful portrait.  Born in the shadow of Muir's beloved Sierra Nevada, Shore has hiked, camped, and explored half the United States, particularly Yosemite and the West Coast.  His uncanny resemblance to Muir and his own personal experiences inform a timeless message - perhaps more important today than it was a century earlier.

SPONSORS:  THe Friends of the Corpus Christi Public Library, Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, Corpus Christi Independent School District, Blucher Nature Center, and Texas A&M Department of Continuing Education.


We are all familiar with the slogan of the three "R's." Reduce, reuse, and recycle have become part of the mix here in Corpus Christi.  We have just completed four years of curbside pick-up of materials which can be recycled here in the city.

Think about what happens to paper and plastic bags, milk and drink bottles.  They must be trucked back, sorted, washed, groud up or pulped, and remanufactured.  All of these steps use resources.

CLOSING THE CIRCLE is still very important.  Reynolds Metals Company from Ingleside is helping the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens build "ECO-PARKING."   A new parking lot is being built next to the new entrance building which is made of recycled milkjugs.  The parking lot is full of holes, produces no run-off.  The material being used is 20 percent high-density plastic--mainly milkjugs; and 80 percent low-density plastic--post-use stretch film and packaging materials.

The parking lot is constructed using 3' by 1' by 2" recycled black plastic units laid over sand.  After the units are installed, the open "cells" are backfilled with good soil and seeded with Bermuda grass.  Once the turf is establishe,d only the black surface grid is visible.  The lot will be able to handle cars, vans, pickups, as well as most utility and delivery trucks.  Very little mowing will be required.

The "Eco-Parking" lot at the Botanical Gardens is one way to close the circle.  The Recycling and Waste Reduction Advisory Committee will hold its monthly meeting on May 1i6 at the Botanical Gardens to observe this latest addition to the recycling possibilities. At that meeting the Committee will present a Certificate of Appreciation to Reynolds Metals for their help in the creation of this parking lot.   The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation is at 6:30 p.m.  The public is invited.

                               NEWSLETTER EDITOR                  How about a few letters to the editor
                                                                                        expressing your wishes or views. We
                                                                                        will print them as space permits.



Pat Suter                         852-7938             Chairman
Randy Berryhill                883-0586             V. Chairman
Judy Tor                          241-2605             Treasurer
Dorothy McLaren           853-9049             Secretary


Henry Berryhill                 883-0586             Conservation
Elaine Giessel                   512-578-5291    
Randy Berryhill                 883-0586             Membership
Dorothy McLaren            853-9049             Labels
Marie Speer                     937-4584             Newsletter
Ken Jobe                         993-3737             Recycling
Edith Cosgrove                 241-2960            Air Quality
Elnora Trott                      241-1556             Parks
Henry Berryhill                 883-0586             Population
Sheril Smith                      853-2478             Population
Roy E. Bazire                   993-2148             Coastal

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John Muir
"Anywhere that is wild!"

   In 1868, John Muir, a Sccottish immigrant from Wisconsin stepped onto a bustling wharf in San Francisco and stopped a passerby to ask the fastest way out of town. When asked where he wanted to go, he responded, "Anywhere that is wild!" Then just thirty, he found the wild - and his life's vocation - in Yosemite.  On May 28, 1892, John Muir, with 182 charter members, founded the Sierra Club "to explore, enjoy and render accessible the mountain regions of the Pacific coast."
   The years sojourning in Yosemite were the wellspring of Muir's influential writings, which instilled the idea of preserving nature deep into the fabric of American life and political thought.
   Each member of the Sierra Club is part of a proud tradition of people united by their love of natural world and their determination to defend it. Won't you join today?
Help continue the tradition...Join the Club!

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Protect America's Environment.
For our families, for our future.

A Philosophy of Stewardship               
The Sierra Club's statement of Purpose is:  To explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.

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