Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and The War at Rollover Pass. Government Overreaching. Ponce de Leon. Muslim. Back To Vet.


For “Travel Tuesday”: let’s visit Anahuac NWR

It borders East Bay, part of the Galveston Bay complex, behind Bolivar Peninsula at the Gulf of Mexico, across the bay from Rollover Pass.

“The chorus of thousands of waterfowl, the splash of an alligator going for a swim, the rustle of wind moving through coastal prairie, the high-pitched call of a fulvous whistling duck are just some of the sound you may hear when visiting Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

Anahuac NWR shares its name with the town of Anahuac. The name is an Aztec wor (watery plain) but the area had no connection with the Aztecs, or any other distant peoples. Anahuac was part of the territory of the Atakapa and Akokisa Indians, a small and scattered population of nomadic people who resided here for century, and fished, hunted, and gathered every available plant and animal resource that the region could offer. Their middens (also kitchen midden or shell heap) of discarded shell fish and their campsites dot the landscape, but there were no permanent settlements here.” 


Snow Geese flying in the refuge

Bolivar, High Island, Anahuac NWR

“Across the ship channel from Galveston is the Bolivar Peninsular. Bolivar Flats on the Gulf side is one of the 20
most important shoreline wintering sites in North America. The Audubon sanctuary is a large tidal sand/mudflat adjacent to a large marsh area. Over 100,000 birds have been seen on the flats in a single day. But this western tip of the peninsular also offers other great birding opportunities.

En route to High Island from Galveston, check for
shorebirds in the ponds and pastures along Hwy 87. About half
way take a look bay-side at Rollover Pass.” 


“People can’t resist tinkering with nature. Old-timers say that East Bay was once clear as gin and floored with eelgrass. In 1955 the Texas Game and Fish Commission dredged a channel across Rollover Pass to improve fishing, inadvertently spiking East Bay with salt water and killing off vegetation. In the 1950s the bay supported 2,500 acres of seagrasses; now it has fewer than 700.

East Bay exchanges seawater with the Gulf of Mexico at Rollover Pass in Gilchrist and at Galveston Harbor near Port Bolivar. It is fed by Oyster Bayou, an important nursery for oysters and shrimp, which runs 23 miles from its source near Winnie through the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

Saltwater intrusion from the GIWW have altered the historic hydrology, causing a conversion of freshwater marshes to more saline ones.  Increased salinity may have also accelerated the degradation of the substrate’s organic layer, contributing to marsh loss.”


Now Rollover Pass has a problem. 

On Mar 30, 2013 Jerry & Gloria Quincy of “Adventures in Our American Dream” blog wrote:

People come here from all over the world to fish...

“We went fishing again today at Rollover Pass. This is a really quick update and fishing report:
We had much better luck, I caught a ten pound drum and Jerry caught a very nice 15 inch flounder. We gave the drum away and took the flounder home for dinner. A nice man we met fishing offered to filet it for us, he did a wonderful job and now we both know how to fillet flounder for the next one. He was a great teacher. How wonderful to meet new friends that are that giving. Jerry also caught a whiting and tossed it back in, it was a bit too small. It is really nice to start CATCHING fish. :-) We have fished all over the place and this place seems to be the best place we have found in the area.

I read they are trying to fill Rollover Pass in and build a pier instead. They have a petition to sign to stop this from happening. I signed the petition right away in hopes it will help to keep Rollover Pass open. Here is a link to the petition, please read and sign it if you are familiar with the pass and would love to return and fish here, if you have never visited and would love to visit and fish....OR....if you would like to help keep it open for friends like us, please click on the link and sign it. Jerry and I will be most grateful, we love this area and hope to return again next year.”    10 more pictures at: http://www.mytripjournal.com/travel-724686


From me: So I looked into it, and found the two sides of the story…..  I wrote about Bolivar Island and Rollover Pass on the 5th. March 2013 on this blog, http://pennys-tuppence.blogspot.com/2013/03/bolivar-peninsular-tx-rollover-pass.html , but I didn’t know this debate was going on.


Rollover Pass

Now this is Rollover’s Problem. 

State Seeking to Close Rollover Pass After Almost 60 Years, to Residents' Regret

“It's a battlefield out there.

Back in the rum-smuggling days, runners used to head for the narrowest, shallowest spit of land blocking the Gulf of Mexico from entering Galveston Bay.

They'd roll their barrels over the land, which became known as Rollover Pass. In 1955 the state dredged the site in order to improve fishing and salinity conditions in the area, creating one of the island's favorite fishing spots.

And now, saying Hurricane Ike did so much damage it's pointless to rebuild, the state is seeking to close Rollover down.  They have a $6 million plan to build new fishing spots and recreational facilities, and they're ready to use eminent domain to condemn the land and take it.

The two sides don't agree on much, but the state does have the eminent-domain hammer, and that's a big hammer.”     From: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2013/03/rollover_pass_closing_pier.php


Government Overreaching

“Recently, in a gross example of government overreaching in violation of private property rights, the General Land Office of the state of Texas went to the U.S. Corps of Engineers and applied for and received a permit to close Rollover Pass.

The US Corps of Engineers say “The strong current through Rollover Pass is still carrying hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand from Peninsula beaches into Rollover Bay and the GIWW (Gulf Intracoastal Water Way) where it is lost to the beaches forever.  The General Land Office needs to get on with permission to close Rollover Pass while images[5]there is still some sand left on the Peninsula.” http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/workshops/11Sept-EWN/Stites_Closure%20of%20Rollover%20Pass%20Bolivar%20Peninsula.pdf

Supporters of Rollover Pass have launched a petition drive to try to stop efforts to close what is arguably one of the state's most popular fishing spots.

"Rollover Pass is used by thousands of fisherman, families, elderly, handicapped persons from all over Texas and the country," said Ted Vega, who heads the Gilchrist Community Association. "To use eminent domain is an abuse of private property rights." 


BUT, we also have to see the side of the coin, and what it costs the COE to maintain it at:



Crystal Beach Local News

Keep Rollover Pass Open

“ Not only do they not own the land in question, they did not ask the owner of the land – the Beaumont Rod, Reel and Gun Club – - if they could. They just did it.

“First, we are always told it is because of erosion. Unfortunately, the big erosion problem on the Upper Texas coast is that the source of sand for all of our beaches is not what it used to be. Rollover Pass is a small symptom of the larger disease of loss of sand supply due to dams up the Mississippi River. Shutting Rollover Pass is not going to solve the erosion problem on Bolivar or anywhere else. Severe storms such as Ike cause ten to a hundred times more erosion in one day across a hundred miles of beach than does Rollover Pass in a decade. If the jetties were constructed that were part of the original plan, the erosion issue – such as it is – would go away.

Second, we are told that the problem is siltation of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway – that sediment comes through the Pass and is deposited in the canal and causes increased maintenance dredging costs. However, consider this. A diversion was recently constructed (and permitted by the Corps and the GLO) to allow the diversion of Taylor’s Bayou in Jefferson County southward into the GIWW about fifteen miles in from the easternmost point of East Bay. That diversion will dump incredibly large amounts of sediment into the GIWW – a much larger amount than is contributed by Rollover Pass. So if increased dredging were really a concern, that project would never have been allowed. Yet it was with full support by the very entities that are trying to shut down the Pass.

Third, we are told that the GLO wishes to restore East Bay from an ecological perspective. To us, that sounded like a decent reason. But once again, this issue must be viewed in a cumulative context. The Taylor Bayou diversion mentioned above will divert millions and even billions of gallons of floodwaters into the GIWW and East Bay. That diversion is a new event. If Rollover Pass is closed, the ecology of East Bay will be dominated by freshwater inflow and will cease to function as a salt water fishery for long periods of time.

The Taylor Bayou diversion is a much bigger threat than Rollover Pass. However, if the Pass is left open, the freshwater domination of the Taylor Bayou diversion would be moderated by an exchange with the Gulf of Mexico and East Bay will likely be just fine. With the Pass closed, East Bay is doomed.”    A lot more and some heated comments at: http://www.crystalbeachlocalnews.com/?p=19250



“Here are some questions and concerns that we would like to make sure the Corps of Engineers considers before considering the permit.

·         Recreational Value: As it is now, Rollover Pass is accessible to all people. It has land-bound access for the handicap and elderly or those who can't afford boats. The current structure also allows easy access for children to fish. There is no charge to any person visiting or fishing at Rollover Pass. A pier would necessitate a longer travel distance to the fishing area which could possibly deter prospective fisherman.

·         Historical Value: The Pass has been open for over fifty years. Many people have been visiting for generations and generations. Some families consider it a tradition to visit the Pass and fish every year. Also, Rollover Pass was used as a crossover point during prohibition for smugglers who avoided the Galveston customs station by rolling barrels of import or export merchandise (i.e., whiskey and rum).

·         Economy/Property Value: Visitors travel from all over the state, country and world to fish at Rollover Pass. The loss of Rollover Pass will decrease visitors not just to the Gilchrist area, but also the Bolivar Peninsula. Any businesses or former business will have less of a customer base to generate revenue.  Will it be possible for Gilchrist to survive and rebuild if Rollover Pass is closed?

·         Flooding: The current structure of Rollover Pass helps alleviate high water levels on the bay side. Stopping the flow of water will no longer allow this to happen and properties on the bay side are in danger of being flooded. What will be done to help relieve the water in the bay if the pass is allowed to be closed?

·         Wildlife: Many different kinds of fish, shellfish and even turtles travel through the pass. What will happen to the marine life that travels through the pass? What will happen to their migration route?

·         Effects on Rollover and East Bay: There are many wild grasses, birds and marine life that live in the Bay. If the pass closes, how will this affect them? How will the bay system be affected?”  From: http://www.rolloverpasstexas.com/rollover-news

Other solutions

“Opponents to closing the pass argue options addressing the erosion concerns that don't involve closing the pass were not seriously considered. Studies show installing a system of baffles in the pass would slow velocity of current in the pass and greatly reduce the amount of sand sucked through the channel.

"Installing baffles would cost a fifth of what it will cost to close the pass," he said. "But they're not considering it. Closing the pass is the only option they're looking at.” More at: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Rollover-Pass-advocates-battling-closure-to-the-3336157.php

If you think it shouldn’t be changed, help Rollover Pass, and sign the petition to stop this.



From Me: Everyone loves this natural setting and it is just great for wheelchairs as they can sit right there and fish over the bulkhead.  I like Rollover Pass, and I would hate to see it go, but what is best for Nature?


On This Day:

Ponce de Leon discovers Florida, Apr 2, 1513:

“Near present-day St. Augustine, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon comes ashore on the Florida coast, and claims the territory for the Spanish crown.

Although other European navigators may have sighted the Florida peninsula before, Ponce de Leon is credited with the first recorded landing and the first detailed exploration of the Florida coast. The Spanish explorer was searching for the "Fountain of Youth," a fabled water source that was said to bring eternal youth. Ponce de Leon named the peninsula he believed to be an island "La Florida" because his discovery came during the time of the Easter feast, or Pascua Florida.

In 1521, he returned to Florida in an effort to establish a Spanish colony on the island. However, hostile Native Americans attacked his expedition soon after landing, and the party retreated to Cuba, where Ponce de Leon died from a mortal wound suffered during the battle. Successful Spanish colonization of the peninsula finally began at St. Augustine in 1565, and in 1819 the territory passed into U.S. control under the terms of the Florida Purchase Treaty between Spain and the United States.”



An enlightening chat with a visitor in the morning about all kinds of topics including religion and diet.  They are Muslim, and when I searched afterwards, I was disgusted at myself for having preconceived ideas, when we should not judge others.  Many people consider them to be terrorist type people, but their religion teaches peace, prayer, family values, a way of life and the only one true God.

What is Islam ?

“Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.”   A lot more at: http://www.islamicity.com/education/understandingislamandmuslims/default.asp?ContentLocation=/Education/UnderstandingIslamAndMuslims&CurrentPageID=1&Top=&Bottom=&Right=&Left=&SideBarWidth=&RightWidth=&LeftWidth=&SideBarLocation=&Style=&CatID=&Destination=/Education/UnderstandingIslamAndMuslims/1.asp

At lunchtime, I tried one more time to get some food down Terry-cat with the feeding syringe, but he didn’t want it. He has not been eating or drinking so I tried to get some Pedialyte down him.  He just wanted to stay hidden in my closet and didn’t want me bothering him.  He is a gentle cat, so he wouldn’t lash out, but he just wanted to be left alone.

In the afternoon, I took him back to the vet, and I didn’t think I would be bringing him home, as I thought he was dying.  His temperature was 103.3, he had lost 7 oz, and the vet said he wasn’t dying.  They put a bunch of fluid under his skin with an IV, shot B12 into the fluid, and gave him a penicillin shot, which apparently burns, so he didn’t like that at all.   I am supposed to still feed him with the feeding syringe, but he just fights it, and spits it out.  Now he hides from me under the bed.

He has to be taken back to the vet every day for three days for another shot, hopefully he will start feeling better today.

1 comment:

Judy and Emma said...

I read, with great interest, your information on Rollover Pass. I'll be returning to Anahuac next spring so will have to see what the final decision will be.