Wetland Creation At Alazan Bayou - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/23/07

Wetland Creation At Alazan Bayou

by Donna McCollum

In the marshy areas of the Alazan Bayou sunshine glimmers on the ponds providing a glimmer of hope where waterfowl live. Their home is drying up.   No water, no wetland. That's what the Texas Parks and Wildlife encountered. A ten year plan to manage the natural wetland almost dried up when the natural flow of water went away with the construction of Farm to Market Road 2782, adjacent to the area.  

But thanks to a unique collaboration the critical wetland site could remain viable for over a quarter of a century. That's an accomplishment worth noting. Dignitaries gathered to celebrate a substantial gift. Texas Parks and Wildlife will be given water from nearby Moral Creek by the Lower Neches Valley Authority. LNVA board member Kathleen Jackson said,  " Up to about 10,000 acre feet a year which the value of that water over the 20 year period will be more than $10 million."

And Ducks Unlimited is providing a portable pump to draw the water from Moral Creek.   Regional director J.E. 'Yazoo' Thomas stood in front of the pump called a " gator pump." " This is going to be trailered to the creek right down here and in early September that's how they're going to put water inside the wetland unit cell."

Just in time for fly away days. The Alazan Bayou is on the central fly zone, the super highway for the nation's migrating birds. Biologists strive to provide ample "duck days". TPWD wildlife biologist Gary Calkins explained that's, " How many days we can support a duck during the winter. Alazan Bayou is identified in the joint venture of one of the management areas in the whole central fly away amongst several states."

An observation deck overlooking the site provides a bird's eye vantage point of the levees built on the 120 acre tract. The goal is to make sure the birds from a much higher altitude will see it and decide to stay awhile.

The wetlands provide a place for birds to rest. For people, wetlands purify the water that people drink, not to mention giving them a great bird watching spot.

The Alazan Wildlife Management Area is off of Farm to Market Road 2782, between Highway 7 west and U.S. 59 North.

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