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Volunteers Plant 5,000 Trees to Aid in Forest Recovery
Southwest Region, December 6, 2008
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Volunteers in Field Planting
Volunteers in Field Planting - Photo Credit: n/a

On December 6, 2008, 130 volunteers planted 5,000 young oak trees to reforest a field near the Texas Mid-Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex office.  Volunteers for the reforestation project were from Reliant Energy, Trees for Houston, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brazoswood Student Council, Honors, and PALS students, FFA, 4H,  Texas Master Naturalists, and Friends of the Brazoria Wildlife Refuges.  Reliant Energy sponsored lunch, which was cooked by members of the Refuges’ Friends Group.

“The effort put out by the volunteers was extraordinary, planting all the trees in three hours and putting up with a horrendous crop of mosquitos”, says Jennifer Sanchez, Project Leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   Although it will take years for the forest to mature, the effort will jump start the restoration process.  The live, Shumard, and burr oaks planted by volunteers will add diversity as native plants including pecan trees, yaupon, and dewberries colonize the fields.

Reliant Energy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are partnering on the restoration of forests on lands which were formerly used for agriculture within the Columbia Bottomlands.  These forests, which stretch across the coastal plain between the Brazos, San Bernard and Colorado Rivers, are vital to neotropical migrating birds, as well as other native wildlife and plant species.

As the native hardwood trees mature they will sequester, or hold C02, helping to reduce greenhouse gasses. In addition to this benefit and the restoration of critical wildlife habitat and biodiversity, the conversion of land cleared decades ago back to bottomland forest will improve water quality, enhance flood control, and provide recreation and wildlife habitat in Brazoria County.

The Columbia Bottomlands include some of the largest remaining tracts of old growth bottomland forest in the U.S.  Two hundred years ago, it was a forest of more than a thousand square miles. Today less than 25% remains, with remnants in Brazoria, Matagorda, Fort Bend and Wharton counties.


Contact Info: Jennifer Sanchez, 979 964-3639, jennifer_sanchez@fws.gov



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