Lydia Ann Channel and Whooping Cranes

by Chester McConnell, FOTWW

Corps of Engineers continuing to accept comments concerning Lydia Ann Channel

The Galveston District Corps of Engineers is continuing to accept comments concerning the Lydia Ann Channel project, a mooring facility where barges can be staged (parked). The barges are mostly filled with toxic chemicals waiting to be unloaded along the Texas coast near Corpus Christi. The project has a disastrous history from a regulatory respect and Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) is attempting to help correct the problems.

What if one or more of the barges spills its contents during a hurricane or a large ship sailing into one of them? That is a major concern. A spill could contaminate Gulf of Mexico waters and wetlands for miles along the Texas coast. Such spills could easily effect the Aransas Wildlife Refuge if tides and water currents forced the chemicals eastward.

Major concerns with the Lydia Ann Moorings project

One of FOTWW’s major concerns with the Lydia Ann Moorings project is its potential adverse impacts directly on Whooping Cranes and on their habitats on Aransas Refuge and surrounding private and government lands. The cranes are endangered species and only about 350 remain. They spend six months during fall-winter season on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge which is near the proposed mooring project. Whooping Cranes commonly travel all around in the vicinity of their primary habitat on Aransas Refuge. They have often been observed near the Lydia Ann Channel Moorings project.

Because of the location of the project, numerous identified and unidentified impacts and the tremendous controversy associated with this project, FOTWW firmly believes that the moorings (large metal pipes) should be extracted and removed to a more acceptable location. FOTWW supports the USACE’s letter that stated “The only option to protect Lydia Ann Channel, surrounding waters, fish, and wildlife, is the removal of the mooring structures and restoration of the shoreline”.

If the project is not halted and the site restored then we strongly believe that an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act must be prepared. Threatened and/or endangered species or their critical habitat will definitely be affected by the work and future use associated with all of the alternatives proposed. Importantly, consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service should be initiated to assess the effect on threatened and endangered species.

Lydia Ann Channel

Lydia Ann Channel

Lydia Ann Channel public comment deadline March 2nd

Click this link to get information about commenting to the US Army Corps of Engineers in opposition to the barge mooring facility:

Let them know, by March 2nd, how you feel about having YOUR public water taken over by a small group of Corpus Christi investors – Lydia Ann Moorings,LLC

For more in-depth information about the Lydia Ann Channel controversy, click on:   Click here to read the Removal and Restoration Plan


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Farmer files federal lawsuit to prevent wind farm from starting, to protect Whooping Cranes

Farmer files federal lawsuit to prevent recently completed Pratt area wind farm from starting, to protect Whooping Cranes

wind farm

Wind farm project area

PRATT – A Pratt County farmer has filed a suit in federal court seeking to prevent a new wind farm in Pratt County from starting up because of the risk he believes it poses to Whooping Cranes.

Edwin Petrowsky, a former member of the Pratt County Zoning Commission, filed the suit Nov. 23 seeking temporary and permanent injunctions against NextEra Energy Resources.

Petrowsky contends the Ninnescah Wind Farm, which consists of 121 wind generators in the southeast quadrant of the county, is in the flyway of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane, which is an endangered species. The wind farm is expected to go online next week.

At last count, there was only an estimated 329 wild Aransas-Wood cranes in North America.

Petrowsky charges that NextEra is aware of the danger the project is creating, yet has failed to obtain an “incidental taking permit” that would allow the incidental killing of some birds under the Endangered Species Act.

NextEra spokesperson Steve Stengel said that the company has worked with state and federal authorities “all throughout development of the project” and that the siting of the turbines “has taken into account migratory flyways.”

“Whooping Cranes generally fly higher than the heights of the turbines,” Stengel said. “But, in working with the agencies, we have agreed to ongoing bird monitoring at the site.”

According to an earlier story in the Pratt Tribune, the company has agreed to bird and bat monitoring during its first year of operation, “to track mortality rates.” The farm is also in an area with a high number of bat hibernation sites.

Parts of the wind farm, which will generate 200 megawatts of electricity that Westar Energy is under a 20-year contract to purchase, are within 35 to 40 miles of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms, both designated as critical habitat for the whooping crane. The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, another designated habitat, is also nearby.

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***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

wind farm