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Houston Regional Group - News - 2004
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 club notes
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Conservation News:
 forestry
 clean air
 clean water
 habitat preservation

Feature Article

Houston Sierra Club Restoration Principles for Sam Houston National Forest
To regain a healthy forest in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) we must restore natural ecological processes so they function as they did before Anglo-Saxon settlers arrived after 1800. A healthy forest contains a mix of species in most areas (both pines and hardwoods) with vegetation structure (vertical and horizontal) and layering similar to what existed in the forest before the 1800s.  (Jul 04)

Volunteer News:

Club Notes

2003 Annual Group Awards
2003 ANNUAL GROUP AWARDS were presented to members that gave special effort in support of the Club during the past year.  (Feb 04)
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ICO

Inner City Outing - 2005 Steering Committee
As we approach year end, the ICO Steering Committee is evaluating the accomplishments, strengths and shortcomings of our 2004 outreach to inner city youth. During 2004, Houston ICO conducted six day/weekend outings to provide a nature experience to 128 local youth. (Dec 04)
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Conservation News:

Forestry

Wilderness Non-degradation Principle
This is the third in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask? (Dec 04)

Wilderness Conference Celebrates Wild Lands
On October 10-13, 2004, the 40th Anniversary National Wilderness Conference was held in Lake George Village, New York. This conference celebrated wild lands protection on the state and federal level 40 years after the September 3, 1964 signing of The Wilderness Act by President Lyndon Johnson. About 250 people attended the conference.   (Dec 04)

Off-Highway Vehicle Use Rules in National Forests Need Strengthening
The U.S. Forest Service (FS) has proposed changes to its rules (36 CFR 212, 251, 261, and 295) that would control use of OHV’s (Off-Highway Vehicles include off-road cars/trucks, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)) in our National Forests. According to the FS, OHV use, which causes erosion, disturbs wildlife, and disrupts hiking and other recreational uses, is one of the top management challenges in our National Forests. (Sep 04)

Bush Destroys Roadless Rule: Your Chance to Fire Back
On July 16, 2004 the U.S. Forest Service (FS), at the behest of the Bush Administration, turned the protection of 58.5 million acres of roadless areas (RAs) in our National Forests on its head. (Sep 04)

Will Global Warming Mitigation Save Local Forests
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is preparing a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) to determine whether a program of mitigation measures will be implemented to reduce the impacts of global warming. This effort is part of President Bush’s Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) which was unveiled on February 14, 2002. The GCCI sets a deadline of 2012 for an 18% reduction in carbon intensity (the ratio of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to economic output).  (Jul 04)

Fire in Sam Houston National Forest
Some people called 2003, the Year of Fire. Because millions of acres burned, mostly in the Western United States, the public was exposed to numerous newspaper and magazine articles and television and radio broadcasts which emphasized burning forests. From this vantage point on fire it is easy to get the impression that the impacts that fire had on Western forests are representative of what happens throughout the United States. It would be a mistake to believe this.  (Jul 04)

Fire History Research as a Requirement for Restoring Natural Fire to Forest Ecosystems in Sam Houston National Forest
To restore fire as a natural, ecological, process in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) it is necessary to conduct fire history research. The purpose of fire history research is to determine from site specific, local, state, regional, and national sources of information, in conjunction with a fire field research program, the fire history of a particular forest ecosystem. This information is used to restore and mimic, as much as possible, the effects of natural fire on that ecosystem.  (Jul 04)

Houston Sierra Club Restoration Principles for Sam Houston National Forest
To regain a healthy forest in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) we must restore natural ecological processes so they function as they did before Anglo-Saxon settlers arrived after 1800. A healthy forest contains a mix of species in most areas (both pines and hardwoods) with vegetation structure (vertical and horizontal) and layering similar to what existed in the forest before the 1800s.  (Jul 04)

Sam Houston National Forest and Houston’s Drinking Water
The City of Houston and the surrounding Houston Area (COH) depend on a combination of surface and groundwater. The groundwater that Houston uses comes from the Gulf Coast Aquifer (a water bearing rock strata). This aquifer consists of four water producing units. Two of the water producing units, the Chicot and Evangeline Aquifers, are the major sources of groundwater in Houston. (Jul 04)

Guadalupe Mountains Dodges Visual Windmills, for Now
The Texas General Land Office offered for bid 89 tracts of land that it manages for the Permanent School Fund in its first Wind-power Lease Bid Sale on April 20, 2004. Three sections of land (a section is 640 acres, or a square mile) in the lease sale were in that Patterson Hills which lie next to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.   (Jul 04)

Comments Needed for Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement
The National Park Service (NPS) has proposed a Draft General Management Plan (GMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River (RGWSR).   The RGWSR was designated by Congress in 1978 and stretches 192.4 miles from near Mariscal Canyon to the Val Verde County line.  The RGWSR includes wild, scenic, and recreational river designations through Big Bend National Park, Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, private lands, and the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande.   (May 04)

National Park Service Proposes Approving 13 Oil/Gas Wells to be Drilled Under Big Thicket National Preserve
The National Park Service (NPS) has proposed allowing the drilling of up to 13 oil/gas wells by Davis Brothers next to and under Big Thicket National Preserve (BTNP). Nine of the wells would be drilled under Jack Gore Baygall Unit of BTNP, on both the east and west sides of the Neches River. Three more wells may be drilled about 500 yards outside the Lower Neches River Corridor Unit of BTNP. Because the mineral rights under BTNP are private, the NPS allows drilling unless it can prove environmental impacts will impair this park unit.  (Apr 04)

Forest Service Rejects Sierra Club Appeal of Boswell Creek Project
The U.S. Forest Service (FS) on March 8, 2004, rejected the appeal of the Houston Sierra Club (HSC) of the Boswell Creek Project in the Four Notch Area. The rejection of the HSC appeal is the last administrative remedy that the public has before the FS implements the burning of 7,240 acres and the logging of 4,800 acres of public lands in Sam Houston National Forest. (Apr 04)

Forest Service Logs Phelps Section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail
On January 10, 2004, the Houston Sierra Club (HSC) conducted trail maintenance on the Phelps Section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) in Compartment 65 of Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF). The five Sierrans who conducted the voluntary trail maintenance found a scene of logging ruin along the trail. The U.S. Forest Service (FS) permitted loggers to cut and construct roads right on, next to, and across the LSHT in several places. The Phelps Section of the LSHT lies between Huntsville State Park and Four Notch. (Mar 04)
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Clean Air

Carbon Sequestration Proceeds in Liberty County Aquifer
Programs by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to mitigate global warming are responsive to President Bush's Global Climate Change Initiative (as reported in the July-August Bayou Banner). The GCCI aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 18% (as a ratio of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) by 2012, with a goal of stabilizing CO2 emissions at the 2001 level.  (Oct 04)

Mayor White’s Good Words About Clean Air for Houston Must Include Action to Strengthen the Bureau of Air Quality Control
April 30, 2004, Mayor Bill White spoke to the state environmental agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), about the need for clean air in Houston. Bless him! We need a mayor that will speak out to protect citizens who are forced to breathe dirty air.  (Jul 04)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Weakens Mercury and Nickel Pollution Reductions: Write to Protect Children, Fish, and Water Quality
The U.S. EPA, pressured by the Bush Administration, has proposed rescinding a 2000 proposal that found it is “appropriate and necessary” to reduce mercury and nickel air emissions. The 2000 EPA proposal would have reduced mercury air emissions by 90%. The Bush EPA proposal allows coal-fired electric power plants to take up to 14 years (2018) to install technology that will reduce mercury emissions 70%!  (Apr 04)
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Clean Water

Water Conservation Needed in Texas
As the State of Texas plans for its water needs for the next 50 years, through its regional water planning groups, stringent water conservation measures should be implemented so that bays and estuaries, instream flows and aquatic life, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and other important amenities are protected. (Oct 04)
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Habitat Preservation

Cumberland Island National Seashore Threatened - Action Needed
If ever your voice was needed to protect two of America's special Wildernesses, that time is now. I mean, RIGHT NOW! At a time when the rest of America is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, some members of Congress have a different, and deadly, idea: scrapping some wilderness protection on Cumberland Island National Seashore off the Georgia coast. (Dec 04)

Bayou Farewell
The entire "sole of the boot" formed by the Louisiana coast is disappearing before our eyes. And this is not a process that will take millions of years - here, the coast is vanishing at the rate of one Manhattan every ten months, fast enough to make it the most rapidly disappearing landmass on the planet.  (Feb 04)
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Last updated:  11/20/2010.   Content 1999-2010 by the Sierra Club.