FRIENDS OF ANAHUAC REFUGE
During National Wildlife Refuge Week
October 13–17, 2015
Photo by Allen Biedrzycki at Anahuac NWR
Nature moves us. What better time to celebrate that connection with the natural world than National Wildlife Refuge Week?
National wildlife refuges, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are part of Americans’ rich natural heritage. They have been so since 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Pelican Island, Fl.
Anahuac, McFaddin, and Texas Point NWRs are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the nation’s premier public network of lands and water dedicated to habitat and wildlife conservation. The nation’s 563 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts offer visitors wonderful opportunities to fish, hunt, hike or see and photograph iconic wildlife in its natural setting.
Refuges also help clean our air, filter our water, teach our children and support local economies. More than 47 million people visit a refuge each year.
Ninety percent of refuge visitors come away pleased according to a 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” said one respondent.
Here’s what Texas Chenier Plain NWRs Complex, located at 4017 FM 563 (map), Anahuac, Texas, has planned to help you celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week:
Learn how you can help protect and preserve your natural resources. Start here at the Texas Chenier Plain NWRs Complex. Consider volunteering or joining us a Friends member and volunteer
For more information about national wildlife refuges, visit: www.fws.gov/refuges or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfwsrefuges.
Family Fishing Day
Photographic Bird List Now Available on FOAR Website
Check out our updated bird photo page. As a quick reference to identifying birds, photos of nearly every bird typically seen at the refuge is listed on one page. Less common species are included as well, but some still need a photo. If you have photos of specific types of birds, please send them our way and we will share them online.
Click here for photographic bird list
History of Tropical Weather on the Texas Coast and Anahuac NWRMap of Hurricane Ike's Storm Surge in Texas and Louisiana in September 2008
Summertime on the Gulf coast means tropical weather. The upper Texas coast has had it's fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes over the years. Read more about that history and how Anahuac NWR has recovered from Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Click here for story
National Wildlife Refuge System News
USFWS Releases List of Most Visited Refuges in 2014
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has released it's list of the 20 most visited refuges in 2014. Refuges in 18 different states are included.
Read the story here
Buy a Book About the Refuge...
to Support the Refuge!
Don't Forget to Renew Your Membership!
Snowy Egret at Anahuac NWR
Photo by Allen Biedrzycki
Thank you for supporting YOUR
By Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
For more stories like this, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/newswire/
20 Most Visited Refuges in Fiscal Year 2014
Photo by USFWS
Anahuac NWR's Family Fishing Day even returns on Saturday, June 6, 2015. It will be held on Frozen Point at the refuge from 9am to 1pm. The first Saturday of June each year is the only day in Texas where everybody can fish without a license. This family-friendly event is suitable for all experience levels and open to the public. There will be volunteers helping rods and and casting, fish education, crafts, games, refuge information.
The event is free and registration is not required.
Click here for printable map
FOAR/Audubon Bird Surveys Continue
David Sarkozi and Travis Lovelace at Birding Workshop, Spring 2015
Consider completing a bird survey on your next trip to the refuge. The data collected supports ongoing bird studies on the upper Texas coast for the USFWS and Audubon Texas. The directions are simple:1) Got to a spot on the refuge and identify it and the weather on the form.
2) Observe and record as many birds as you can from your spot for as little as 20 minutes at a time.
3) Drop the form at the VIS or the VC before you leave or scan and email it Travis Lovelace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Come back the next month and count birds again from the same spot. You will be surprised how many birds you can identify!
Any experience level is welcome to complete forms as any data is useful!
Click photo for Audubon TERN workshop video courtesy of Chambers Wild
Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge Established in North Carolina
Bog turtle at Mountain Bogs NWR in North Carolina, photo by USFWS
That National Wildlife Refuges System welcomes it's 563rd refuge. It could eventually preserve over 22,000 acres of wetlands in the Appalachian Mountains that are home to 5 endangered species, including the bog turtle.
Bog turtles – the smallest North American turtle – is one of five endangered species that find a home on the newly-established Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.
This article was originally written in the 2013 summer edition of FOAR's newsletter Gator Tales.
Welcome a Special Visitor - Pingo Has Made It to the Refuge
By Tim Cooper, Project Leader, Texas Chenier Plain NWR Complex
During this season, Anahuac, McFaddin, Texas Point and Moody refuges host birds that are traveling over great distances and find shelter in our area. Even though Anahuac NWR is now celebrating its 50th year as a National Wildlife Refuge, we still have much to learn about its value to wildlife resources on a global scale. I am excited about the increasing information that is coming in regarding the Whimbrel roost on Anahuac NWR. Right now, the roost is becoming more active as birds come in daily from wintering in South America. Refuge Biologist Patrick Walther has been working with others to increase understanding of this annual concentration of remarkable birds.
One of the things that makes a National Wildlife Refuge significant on a larger scale is well illustrated with this example. This Whimbrel roost, discovered by Refuge Biologist Matt Whitbeck and proven to be a globally important migration roost, is located deep in the heart of the refuge's East Unit. It is estimated that as many as 10% of North America's Whimbrel population uses Anahuac NWR as a safe haven and a critical "refueling" area for a much further migration push into the Arctic. These birds must arrive in the Arctic in adequate condition to quickly conduct an elaborate courtship display, nest, lay up to 4 eggs and rear young; and hopefully be back in shape to migrate south.
Whimbrels are one of the world's great migrants that nest in the Arctic tundra then migrate down to South America for winter - often over water most of the way. Heading south, our visiting bird, named Pingo, left land at the Saint Lawrence River mouth in Quebec and crossed the open Atlantic Ocean headed south to Brazil. She spent the winter almost 6,000 miles from her summer grounds. What kind of athlete does it take to fly that great route burning body fat and eventually muscle tissue for days on end? Likely never seeing land and never being able to stop and catch her breath, Pingo made her way south on an all-or-nothing non-stop flight. Her southbound trans-Atlantic flight was around 3,500 miles and it looks like she added a slight detour! She averaged around 46 mph on the start of this trip, which would make the trans-Atlantic flight more than 76 hours of non-stop flying. Her navigation ability with no ground based landmarks alone is an incredible feat.
The SeaTurtle.org website has tracked about 23 Whimbrels that were fitted with satellite transmitters in the fall. By spring, only four are still working and sending data. See a listing of these Whimbrels on their website. Click on the list under Pingo and see the brief story surrounding one of our international refuge visitors this season. Thankfully, she arrived on the refuge and is here as I write this. Let’s see how long she stays and maybe the bird named Mackenzie (on the same site) will pay us a visit as well.
As spring migration comes into its own, take a moment and marvel at what is happening around us. The story of Pingo should remind us that we all play a support role in a much bigger picture, providing and maintaining a network of critical habitats for wildlife. She is one single bird, one of many thousands of her species, and Whimbrels are just one species which are protected and sheltered by National Wildlife Refuges. But with technology putting her tracking and life history story information in front of you, it is amazing!
Thank You for all that you do on a daily basis to help keep these refuges such special places.
Whimbrel at Anahuac NWR photo by Joe Blackburn
A member appreciation event is scheduled for the afternoon and evening of Saturday, April 18 from 2pm-8pm. It will be held at the Oyster Bayou Hunting Club west of the refuge. This event is for EVERYONE who is a part of the Friends of Anahuac Refuge. If you are a volunteer, member, donor, USFWS personnel, or anything in between, we want to visit with YOU! Light refreshments will be served, and we will be celebrating our accomplishments and giving away door prizes. You are welcome to stop by anytime this Saturday! We hope to see everybody there.
Final Spring Rail Walk Scheduled for April 25
Rail Walk at Anahuac NWR, Spring 2013
This year's final spring rail walk at Anahuac NWR is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at 7am. Participants could see or hear as many as SIX rails during a walk including King, Clapper, Virginia, Yellow, Sora, and the elusive Black Rail. Meet at theVIS at 7am the day of the walk for a briefing to arrange carpools to drive to the walk location on the refuge.
Check out our Rail Walks page for more information.
Spring Newsletter Now Available
Our 2015 spring Gator Tales newsletter is now available. View it online here and check out previous issues here.
Birding Workshop Highlights
Check out video highlights of our latest birding workshop held at the refuge Visitor Center on April 4. FOAR board member David Sarkozi discussed migrating birds found at and near Anahuac NWR. Fellow board member Travis Lovelace discussed Audubon Texas' ongoing TERN Citizen Science project. You can be a part of the project by picking up a bird survey form at the VIS (or download here). Take the form to a spot on the refuge and count as many birds as you can for 20 minutes. Any data is helpful!
You can email Travis Lovelace at email@example.com for more information.
Video courtesy of Chambers Wild
Save the Date!
Family Fishing Day at Anahuac NWR
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Click here for details
Refuges, YouTube Help Researchers Discover Frog Species in New York City
Atlantic Coast leopard frog in New York City; photo by Jeremy FeinbergBiologists have discovered a new frog species in New York City with the help of two National Wildlife Refuges and videos posted on YouTube.Read the story here
Buy a Book About the Refuge...to Support the Refuge!
The 50th anniversary books are for sale at the Visitor Center and Visitor Information Station as well as online on our book project page. The book tells the story of the Anahuac NWR's 50th year through photographs and writing all done by volunteers. Profits from book sales go back to the Friends to pay for refuge projects.Check out an article from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service about the book here.
Conservation by Multiplication
By: Dan Ashe, Director, US Fish & Wildlife Service
In the 20th century, led by icons including John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold and Ding Darling, America created the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the National Wildlife Refuge System and other federal and state public land protections. As a result, nearly 30 percent of the nation’s land is protected, in some form, and stands as a foundation for the future.
In the 21st century, we will strengthen that foundation. But if we want to meet this century’s conservation challenges, we must link the public estate to the more than 70 percent of the land that is privately owned. Many species entrusted to our care rely on private land to survive and thrive. If we’re going to conserve biological diversity, we must keep our public land foundations strong and build on them by engaging private landowners, most of whom are proud land stewards.
That’s why we’ve focused on a vision for the Refuge System that sees refuges as hubs of networks of public and private lands. It’s why our field offices are engaging landowners across the country and developing voluntary conservation easements on hundreds of thousands of acres. These easements and other tools allow us to do conservation work through landowners, helping them achieve sustainable economic use of their lands while protecting and enhancing essential habitat for wildlife.
By linking habitat on these private lands to our public estate, we are doing conservation by multiplication rather than simple addition. And to deal with 21st-century challenges like changing climate, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s next generation will need to graduate to algebra, trigonometry and calculus, creating more complex connections and giving wildlife the means to move across the landscape in step with the seasons, increasing human presence and shifting sources of food and shelter. That’s why we are building next-generation capacities like Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and Refuge System Inventory and Monitoring.
I recently read an article about Jude Smith, the manager of Buffalo Lake, Muleshoe and Grulla National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and New Mexico. He’s at least in Algebra II already.
“Whatever we are doing on the refuge complex,” he says, “I’m considering how we can take the benefits and knowledge we have gained to surrounding landowners on the larger landscape. This complex is too small to make the big difference for wildlife that we are after.”
Smith knows the formula for success. If you multiply your refuge lands by partnership with private landowners, the product is a landscape that makes the difference.
This is happening as we work to conserve the greater sage-grouse. We have a strong public lands foundation, with 64 percent of the habitat under Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service management. We are strengthening that foundation but also working with and throughout the 11 range states to build strong state conservation programs and enlist private landowners in voluntary conservation. In the end, we are multiplying efforts and conserving a “sagebrush sea” that supports sage-grouse and hundreds of other species.
In Harney County, OR, our folks have signed up nearly 300,000 acres of private ranch lands in conservation agreements. Rancher Tod Strong put it best when he said, “What’s good for the bird is good for the herd.” Amen, Tod.
We can conserve the nature of America, if we think big, like Jude Smith, and reach out to good private land stewards like Tod Strong. Practice multiplication! Prepare for calculus! Think big!
For more stories like this, visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/newswire/index.html
Refuges, YouTube Help Researchers Discover Frog Species
With help from YouTube and two national wildlife refuges, researchers have discovered a new species of frog in New York City.
The Atlantic Coast leopard frog’s existence was ratified in the October 2014 PLOS One article “Cryptic Diversity in Metropolis: Confirmation of a New Leopard Frog Species (Anura: Ranidae) from New York City and Surrounding Atlantic Coast Regions.” The discovery was a 10-year journey.
In the mid-2000s, after three years as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service term biologist with Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Jeremy Feinberg decided to pursue a PhD from Rutgers University and focus on why southern leopard frogs had vanished from his native Long Island. For two years, Feinberg spent countless hours in southern New Jersey, where southern leopard frogs thrive. He knew their mating call by heart.
One day he learned there might be a surviving leopard frog population on New York City’s Staten Island. Those frogs would be more genetically and geographically relevant, so one evening in 2008 he visited the Staten Island site.
“Within five or 10 seconds of getting out of my car, I heard a vast chorus of leopard frogs from this big, wet meadow,” he says. “The problem was: The call I was hearing was not the southern leopard frog call. Nor was it a northern leopard frog call. It was a call that I had never heard in my life.”
But, because he was a field herpetologist inexperienced in genetics and taxonomy, he feared no one would believe that he might have found something unusual. He needed help. A series of fortuitous events brought it to him.
In 2009, Feinberg stumbled on a YouTube video that had been shot two years earlier at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, 25 miles west of Manhattan. He contacted the poster, Brian Zarate, an amphibian-reptile zoologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Pretty quickly, I said to Brian, I think it’s a new species,” Feinberg recalls.
In 2010, Catherine Newman, then a University of Alabama graduate student, agreed to run the genetics. “She started to see things in the tissues and DNA sequences that made her interested,” says Feinberg. A year later, Newman told Feinberg that her molecular evidence strongly supported his hunch.
In all, nine researchers contributed to the project. In 2012, Newman, Feinberg and others authored an initial article in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution suggesting a new species had been discovered. But it needed to be formally described. Describing the new species involved three lines of evidence.
One line was molecular – showing it was a genetically distinct species. Many tissue samples for that work, which was largely covered in the 2012 paper, were gathered at Great Swamp Refuge. The second line of evidence was bio-acoustical – comparing mating calls of the new species to other known species. Feinberg used the call to identify the new frog at, among other places, Wallkill River Refuge on the New Jersey/New York border. “It was crystal clear that they were everywhere, a massive population,” he says. “I think, to date, Wallkill has the most impressive chorus I’ve ever heard.”
The third line of evidence was morphology – physical characteristics and shape. The new species is a cryptic species (basically, a look-a-like). Still, there are differences. The Atlantic Coast leopard frog has a smaller, fainter white spot on its eardrum than the southern leopard frog does, and a wider body and stouter head, too.
Feinberg credits refuge biologist Colin Osborn, Great Swamp Refuge deputy manager Steve Henry and Wallkill River Refuge manager Mike Horne with wonderful cooperation. For Feinberg, the discovery’s locale makes it extra-special:
“As a guy who grew up in New York reading about the new Florida this species or the California that species, I always said, ‘Boy, how come there’s nothing ever from New York?’ So to be able to find a frog not only in the U.S. but to formally describe it from New York, and not just from New York, but in the five boroughs of New York City, was a real treat.”
CAPTION: With the help of several collaborators and two national wildlife refuges, Jeremy Feinberg discovered this new frog species – the Atlantic Coast leopard frog – in New York City. (Jeremy Feinberg)
The Friends of Anahuac Refuge was established in 1997 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Anahuac, TX.
For questions, call the refuge office at 409-267-3337.
P.O. Box 1348
Anahuac, TX 77514
Refuge Office Address:
4017 FM 563, Anahuac, TX 77514