Trinity Refuge Plants New Trees

With financial help from an environmental group and several large companies, the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge east of Houston has been enlarged, and is getting thousands of new trees. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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With the recent addition of 1,600 adjoining acres, the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge now covers 22,500 acres along the Trinity River north of Galveston Bay. It's home to hundreds of plant, bird and animal species, including the bald eagle and white-tail deer. Refuge Director Stuart Marcus says about 160 acres of it was a thick forest at one time.

"It was a bottom land hardwood forest, but it was cleared out by a rancher, and they ran cows and had some hay out there. And we decided that this would be a perfect area to replant with native trees."

Marcus says they picked about a dozen varieties of trees to restore that forest, and they've just finished planting them. A lot of them. Fifty thousand seedlings spread out over 160 acres. He says their goal is to restore as much of the natural environment of that area as they can, in the interest of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

"When these trees mature and put their seeds out, they will do a couple of things. One, they're good for wildlife of course. That's what's natural to this area, and as they're growing they also trap carbon."

The Trinity Wildlife Refuge project was led by the Conservation Fund, a national environmental group. Texas Director Andy Jones says this little project may not look very big in the larger scheme of things, but it's an example of what can be done when people with seemingly different interests work together toward a larger goal.

"It's part of a much broader program called Go-Zero, that helps to fight climate change by trapping carbon dioxide and restoring sensitive wildlife habitats. So it's kind of a win-win for both the public and the wildlife habitat at the same time."

Jones says this work couldn't have been done without funding from Dell Computer, Travelocity, Environmental Synergy Incorporated, and NBC Universal. There's more information about the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge, and the work of the Conservation Fund, in links on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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