In May, San Antonio Bay Foundation awarded Friends of Aransas $31,000.00 to provide reliable fresh water on Matagorda Island. The money was made available to the San Antonio Bay Foundation pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine. These funds are Supplemental Environmental Project funds which resulted from the oil spill in the Houston ship channel on March 23, 2014 that made landfall on Matagorda Island. San Antonio Bay Foundation previously contributed $10,000.00 to our Water for Wildlife Fund. We were able to supplement those amounts with other money from our Water for Wildlife and Whooping Crane Funds, thanks to individuals that gave donations.
A drilling project on a barrier island without road access, electricity, or potable water, and only spotty communication, is no simple matter. Some of the drilling companies contacted didn’t even want to make the attempt, especially since it meant barging their equipment to the island & leaving it there until the project was completed. Happily, Carl Critendon of Critendon Well Drilling Service was willing and able to meet the challenge.
We now have two wells on the south portion of the island producing good quality fresh water for the cranes and other wildlife. They are equipped with solar-powered pumps, which have been proven to need a lot less maintenance than the old windmills.
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge management & staff, especially Felipe Prieto, were instrumental in getting this accomplished. FAMI President Fred Lanoue spent many hours coordinating the project and never let the obstacles and difficulties deter him from the goal.
Thanks to San Antonio Bay foundation and everyone else involved, Whooping Cranes and other wildlife will have reliable fresh water on the southern end of Matagorda Island, even when dry conditions return to south Texas.