More on Texas Ike disaster and how to help

2008 September 16
by David J. Ringer

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — Post-hurricane reports continue trickling out of the upper Texas coast. The Houston Chronicle has this county-by-county summary. The AP has an interactive map of Ike’s path across the coast. Google has published a KML image overlay using satellite data from the NOAA Remote Sensing Division. Satellite before-and-after shots are almost unrecognizable.

The Big Picture has shocking and distressing photos showing just how bad the damage is. Coffins floated out of the ground, oil and chemicals spilled and spread, and entire communities were razed.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports extensive damage to several state parks:

Hurricane Ike delivered a powerful blow to Texas State Parks. Two coastal parks, Galveston and Sea Rim, sustained catastrophic damage. Structures and facilities at Sea Rim near Port Arthur appear to be a total loss. At Galveston Island, Ike caused heavy beach erosion and swept away the park headquarters building, restrooms, and shelters. [read more]

Twenty-three state parks are closed, including parks as far inland as Martin Creek and Caddo Lake, both of which I’ve birded often.

I can’t find any information about Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, but given that communities on all sides of the refuge were flooded and devastated, the refuge undoubtedly suffered from flooding and possibly also wind damage.

Last night, Winnie Burkett, Houston Audubon’s sanctuary manager, posted the following message on the Texbirds email list:

I talked to the Houston Audubon High Island caretaker, Houston Sliger this evening and he reported that the woods are full of warblers and gnatcatchers. He said that all High Island residents are being told to leave as there will be no services for at least a month.

He commented that the Boy Scout Woods board walk out to the wastewater pond over look was heavily damaged by waves!!!! There are dead cows everywhere and live cows walking all over High Island. I guess we will not be birding in the woods this fall.

She has also posted preliminary reports from other Houston Audubon sanctuaries.

The needs are huge — from immediate water and shelter needs for survivors to ongoing environmental and economic recovery, which will take years. So what can you do?

Humanitarian aid. You can donate to the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, the Texas Disaster Relief Fund, and other worthy charities assisting Ike victims. (And remember that though I’m writing about Texas, Louisiana and other US states have suffered damage too, and Caribbean nations like Haiti and Cuba have sustained catastrophic property destruction and loss of life.)

Houston Audubon. You can donate to Houston Audubon to help rebuild their sanctuaries, some of which are among the best-known birding sites in all of Texas. Look for the “Donate” link near the top of their site. Donations can also be mailed to Houston Audubon, 440 Wilchester, Houston TX 77079. Work and clean-up days will be scheduled this fall to help repair the sanctuaries. Consider volunteering your time. I’ll post more information as it becomes available.

Texas Ornithological Society. I haven’t heard any reports on coastal TOS sanctuaries, but with sites directly in harm’s way (e.g., Sabine Woods), there is undoubtedly severe damage. Donations toward recovery may be sent to Texas Ornithological Society, 6338 N New Braunfels Ave, PMB # 189, San Antonio TX 78209.

I’ll be making my donations later today. I hope that others of you will take action as well, especially if you’ve had the pleasure of birding this remarkable part of the world.

If you have more information or know of other ways to help, please let me know. I’ll try to keep the information coming.

Related posts:

  1. Upper Texas Coast in crisis
  2. Boat-tailed Grackle: Iris color in Texas
2 Responses
  1. Farokh permalink
    September 17, 2008

    Thanks for the information! After the destruction of the “cathedral” by Rita, I didn’t expect High Island to be birdable this fall (I’m sorely disappointed), but I’m glad that the woods continue to be full of warblers and gnatcatchers. That warms my heart a tiny bit.

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