Tag Archive: wetlands

SSCI in Support of Armand Bayou EcoCamp

Educating the public on the importance of conservation efforts is key, and what better place to start than with our community youth. As a parent, I learned that teaching kids starts at home, and environmental awareness is very important as Earth’s population continues to grow and spread. I chose to enlighten my two children at Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Summer EcoCamp. They loved it so much last year that they wanted to participate again this year.  Armand Bayou Nature center provides for children ages 4-13 programs that encourage observation, problem-solving and creativeness in the natural setting of the wetlands. ABNC EcoCamp gets kids outdoors to demonstrate how wetlands affect humans and animals by featuring hands-on activities like seining at the bayou, pond dipping, and scat identification, which is very entertaining to school-age groups. My kids enjoyed the seining most of all because they caught a snail and made it their group mascot for the day.

Wetlands along coastlands, like here in the Galveston area, are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth because it provides a wide variety of food, nutrients, and shelter to a wide variety of indigenous plants and animals, as well as migratory birds, but public knowledge needs to be increased. Wetlands function as a giant water filter, extracting harmful pollutants from the water that flows through them.  When it rains, wetlands help prevent flooding of rivers by holding onto excess water like a sponge; during a drought, wetlands provide water to surrounding areas to keep the trees and animals alive. Wetlands are also “Biological Supermarkets” because they support so much animal and plant life that are unique to this ecosystem. Humans are impacted by wetland functions in many ways; for example, they recharge underwater aquifers, a large source of the potable water we use and drink daily.

Environmental programs, such as those at ANBC, provide a fun and educational foundation to act locally, and think globally. If you are interested in sending your child to EcoCamp or would like more information,

please visit their website:http://www.abnc.org/education/summer-ecocamp.html

Earth Day, April 22, 2017

SSCI will be celebrating Earth Day tomorrow, April 22, 2017 at the Party for the Planet  at Armand Bayou Nature Center.  Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about the environment.  The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects. The first Earth Day was in 1970.  For more information about the history of Earth Day, visit Live Science.

Party for the Planet is being hosted by Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) Board of Trustees.  ABNC stands out as one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the United States, providing the community with exceptional educational, recreational, and health benefits of nearby nature. ABNC is planning for the future to ensure ecosystem preservation and to educate our community about preservation and the benefits of nature.  The Party for the Planet is on Saturday evening, April 22nd includes honorary guest Senator Larry Taylor with live music by Andy and the Dreamsicles.  The evening will be topped off with a catered dinner, dancing, charitable auctions, and games.

SSCI Supports ABNC Owl Prowl

One of SSCI’s favorite charities, Armand Bayou Nature Center, is currently taking reservations for their January Owl Prowl! Sign up now before all the spots are filled.  January 23rd, 5:15pm. Ages 6+. Call 281-474-2551×10.

ABNC was founded based on the conviction that an educated, involved community is vital to the preservation of our natural environment.  ABNC has two missions:  provide environmental education to the public and act as the steward of the 2,500 undeveloped acres under its care.  ABNC receives no regular government funding and relies on foundation support, contributions from business and industry, dues, special project funding and the goodwill of the public for financing.  We hope you will visit Armand Bayou Nature Center to learn more.

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SSCI Supports Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC)

One of SSCI’s favorite charities has some fun yet educational activities for the holiday school break in the Clear Lake area.  Check out their winter schedule of events here:  ABNC Calendar

ABNC was founded based on the conviction that an educated, involved community is vital to the preservation of our natural environment.  ABNC has two missions:  provide environmental education to the public and act as the steward of the 2,500 undeveloped acres under its care.  ABNC receives no regular government funding and relies on foundation support, contributions from business and industry, dues, special project funding and the goodwill of the public for financing.  We hope you will visit Armand Bayou Nature Center to learn more.

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“Isolated wetlands” as we know them might be changing

Isolated Wetlands

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly proposed expanding the interpretation of “isolated wetlands.” The proposed rule is designed to clarify issues raised in Supreme Court decisions that created uncertainty over the definition of jurisdictional waters under the Clear Water Act (CWA). The proposed changes would expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction.

If the broadening of the definition happens, developers will see increased regulation of properties with isolated wetlands. Some previously “exempt” properties will require permits and more acres of mitigation might be required for full development. On the other hand, if wetlands are left as is (avoiding a permit), less land will be available for development.

Whatever the outcome, it’s important that developers be proactive in meeting CWA requirements, including Section 401 (water quality certification), Section 402 (storm water compliance) and Section 404 permit requirements. Being proactive means hiring competent professionals and actively engaging with the environmental regulatory community in a dialogue from the beginning. Careful planning and patience during development of initial project concepts and/or proposed site selection will prevent many permitting surprises.

Some background: The basic premise of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act stipulates that “isolated wetlands” are subject to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting requirements. If the development activity could affect offsite waters, the act of filling isolated wetlands may still be under the Corps’ jurisdiction because the activity may establish a significant commerce nexus and/or connect the isolated wetlands to nearby offsite navigable waters. The key is to determine if wetlands and/or waters are truly isolated.

Examples of the most common items used to establish a hydrologic connection are presented below. This list is by no means exhaustive, as caveats and special conditions exist for each site.

  1. Are the wetlands located within the 100-year flood plain? If yes, the wetlands are usually jurisdictional.
  2. Do the wetlands lie adjacent to, or are they connected to a river, stream, or intermittent stream? If yes, the wetlands are jurisdictional.
  3. Are the wetlands connected to one of the other types of waters listed in the above items? If yes, the wetlands are jurisdictional.
  4. Are the wetlands part of a “surface tributary system,” a continuum of wetlands or what appears to be a manmade drainage ditch that is hydrologically connected to a downstream navigable water? If yes, the wetlands may be jurisdictional.

Condition number four catches many developers off guard. “How can wetlands be considered jurisdictional solely because they are connected to a manmade drainage system?” they often ask.

Because many of the man-made drainage systems are rerouted/rechannelized historic waters of the United States, they remain within CWA jurisdiction. The water flows from the wetland into a drainage ditch and eventually into navigable waters. Hydrologic connection has been established, meaning the wetlands are likely jurisdictional.