RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – More than 95 percent of all the native habitat in the Rio Grande Valley has been cleared, but the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with the public’s help is working to reforest vital areas and link up remnant islands of wildlands.
Gisela Chapa, Refuge Manager at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, is helping organize the 28th annual Rio Reforestation, which is set for Saturday, October 19th at Sal del Rey.
“We want to bring back some of the character of the region. Since the 80’s we have been working on a habitat restoration program to restore between 300 to 500 acres a year. Every year we put about 200 to 300,000 seedlings on the ground.”
The annual reforestation event is very popular, and if interested in attending you are encouraged to preregister.
Chapa says, “They can call Heidi Stream at 956-784-7530 or they can google Reforestation and Eventbrite. We set up a site specifically for people to register.”
Since those first seedlings went into the ground in 1984, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with the public’s help has reforested more than 13,000 acres with some 6.5 million seedlings.
“We are here to not only preserve habitat for wildlife, but this is also for the benefit of the people of our community.” says Chapa.
You don’t have to wait until official reforestation day to help restore our natural heritage.
“And, if they want to, they can contribute to habitat restoration by planting native plants in their own backyards.” adds Chapa.