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Path of Destruction

October 29, 2008 | Houston Audubon Society | TX


Path of Destruction

Houston Audubon Society Tries to Recover Habitat Damaged by Hurricane Ike


HOUSTON, TX -- The special places we value are not only threatened by man-made Bolivar Flats before the hurricaneproblems like sprawl and development, but also by natural disasters. Hurricane Ike, which struck in September 2008, made its mark on the Houston's avian inhabitants and coastline.

All 17 of the Houston Audubon Society’s sanctuaries were affected by the storm, and the Houston Audubon Society is trying to recover each of these areas with the help of staff members and volunteers.

“The coastal areas were hit the hardest and suffer from beach and dune erosion, debris build-up, and vegetation loss from salt water saturation,” Sanctuary Steward Andrew Beck said. “The in-land sanctuaries experienced high winds during the storm and we lost many trees, the forests were littered with broken limbs and branches, and many of our boardwalks will need to be repaired and/or rebuilt.”

Bolivar Flats after the HurricaneRecovery efforts include debris clean-up, trail maintenance, replanting and habitat restoration and are ongoing, Beck said. People can help by donating money to Houston Audubon Society or volunteering for the organization. The Houston Audubon Society is also encouraging people to donate native plants, purple martin houses and barn owl boxes.

The main goals of the recovery process are to provide habitat to birds and wildlife that was lost during Ike, and to create a safe environment for sanctuary visitors.

“It is essential to replant native trees and shrubs in order to provide food and shelter for migratory birds as well as resident species,” Beck said. “The storm hit during the height of fall migration when birds are foraging for food on the coast to support them during their migration south across the Gulf.”

Beck said that all migratory song bird species will be affected due to shortages of food sources. Habitat loss is also a concern for many of the resident water birds such as Brown Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, American Oystercatchers, and the many species of shorebirds that inhabit Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island.

More information about Hurricane Ike and the Audubon Society’s recovery efforts can be found at the Houston Audubon Society’s website. The office can also be contacted by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at 713-932-1639.

The Houston Audubon Society is a non-profit partner of the Land Trust Alliance. Learn more about becoming a non-profit partner, including a list of benefits.


Story by Tina Deines

Photos of Bolivar Flats vehicular barrier and vegetation line in May 2004, and after the storm in September 2008 (with loss of 200 feet of beach)/ Photos by Winnie Burkett

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