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Saving Southern swamps
.....there are two distinct kinds of bird movements during spring migration along the Gulf of Mexico's coastal areas.

Articles published about deer hunting, turkey hunting and more... Nice shot as this hunter takes down a white tail deer.
 


By Keith Gauldin — Alabama DNR
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2006

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Partners of the Mobile-Tensaw Project have helped to protect
one of the largest deltaic systems in the Southeast

According to Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux Jr., of South Carolina's Clemson University, there are two distinct kinds of bird movements during spring migration along the Gulf of Mexico's coastal areas.

The first is the arrival of trans-gulf migrants from South America during daylight hours. Migrants generally bypass barrier islands, if weather permits, and fly directly to the mainland to refuel.

The second is the nocturnal exodus from the mainland to the wintering grounds. Records show high concentrations of migrants emerging from forested bottomlands of river deltas all along the northern tier of the gulf, including Alabama's Mobile-Tensaw Delta. These habitats are crucial for both passerine stopovers and breeding populations.

Intent on ensuring that habitat will always be available for these long-distance flyers, the Mobile-Tensaw Phase II Project partners used a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to acquire three bottomland parcels totaling 1,945 acres. These tracts will become part of the Alabama Forever Wild Program's Recreation Area and Nature Preserve System and the Upper Delta Wildlife Management Area.

Partners laid out another $3.2 million to acquire an additional 8,000 acres. These acquisitions plus the adjacent state lands add up to more than 100,000 acres of public land, protecting one of the largest state-owned deltaic systems in the Southeast.

Partners laid out another $3.2 million to acquire an additional 8,000 acres. These acquisitions plus the adjacent state lands add up to more than 100,000 acres of public land, protecting one of the largest state-owned deltaic systems in the Southeast.

The acquired lands are typical of the delta's many interior islands, characterized by naturally occurring river levees and dominated by water, laurel, swamp chestnut, and overcup oak, which gradually transition into interior basins of tupelo/cypress forests, known locally as backswamps. Freshwater marshes are scattered throughout the acquisitions.

 

The biological significance of the project area is impressive: 32 plant and 17 animal species are recognized as Rare by the State, and 10 animal species have State Protected status. The land also is important to three federally listed endangered species, Alabama red-bellied turtle, Alabama sturgeon, and wood stork; one threatened species, gulf sturgeon; and one candidate subspecies, Florida black bear.

Substantial numbers of migrating waterfowl have been observed using the forest openings created from past tupelo/cypress harvest operations that occurred prior to purchase. The opening of the forest canopy has stimulated the growth of many species of aquatic vegetation, including pondweed, duck potato, and smartweed, creating an abundance of preferred food items for waterfowl.

 

The deltaic vegetative composition acts as a sediment trap for the ever-increasing nutrient load from upstream sources in the Mobile Basin, protecting the water quality of fish nursery areas. These nurseries are crucial to Alabama's $130 million commercial and recreational fisheries economies. Other recreational opportunities afforded to both local residents and visitors to this area include hunting, conservation education, primitive camping, birding, canoeing, and boating.

 

Through this project, the partners are fulfilling their commitment to keep the delta's habitats forever wild, benefitting not only the wildlife that need these lands for their survival but also the people who enjoy the lifestyle that the landscape has to offer.

 

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