Wetlands and their habitats are having a hard time surviving. In Texas, we have lost more than half of the wetlands that were here 200 years ago. Additional wetlands are lost everyday. Government agencies and private organizations now have programs to restore and protect Texas endangered wetlands.
The basic threat to wetlands is human activity. More specifically, some of the threats wetlands face are:
Dredging along and in a stream to allow water to move more quickly or to allow boats to move along the stream.
Wetlands and other habitats are continuously lost to agricultural, commercial and residential growth and the infrastructure required to support both. Habitat lost is the biggest environmental challenge facing the Houston area.
Wetlands are nurseries to many kinds of fish, birds and shellfish. ~90% of the fish and shell fish caught by commercial and sport fisherman in Galveston Bay began their life in Armand Bayou or other estuary. Commercial and sport fishing together represent a multibillion dollar industry in Texas.
Plants and animals that are not native to a habitat. They may be brought in on purpose or by accident. These invasive species can grow so fast they can completely take over a habitat. The result is a habitat that may not be a welcome home to the native plants and animals. For example, when Chinese tallow trees are allowed to grown unmanaged in the ABNC wetlands prairie, the prairie would soon become a forest of tallow trees. Animals and plants native to the wetlands prairie may not survive in this new forest habitat.
As wetland habitats are lost, the remaining animals either die or have to crowd into nearby remaining wetlands habitat.
Many acres of wetlands are now underwater because of subsidence or sinking of the land around a body of water. The sinking was caused by pumping water and petroleum products from the ground. The in-between wetlands habitat has now been changed to a water habitat where many wetlands animals and plants cannot survive.
Wetlands are impacted by the quality of rain water run-off that passes through. The ABNC wetlands are a part of the Armand Bayou watershed. Rain water in this watershed may pass through residential neighborhoods, streets and highways, parking lots, golf courses, an airport, petrochemical plants or Johnson Space Center before it reaches Armand Bayou. The rainwater run-off picks up soil, chemicals and debris on its trek to Armand Bayou. Wetlands can filter some of these pollutants out, but not all. As the surrounding areas continue to grow, the amount of pollutants in rainwater run-off will increase.The rainwater run-off that flows into Armand Bayou eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico.