The belted kingfisher can be spotted throughout much of Texas patrolling rivers and estuaries for food. But much of their habitat and food supply is in jeopardy from the drought and growing human water demands. Right now, a Texas agency is developing rules to rank new water supply projects for funding. Prioritizing water conservation projects over other water supply projects and urging that environmental impacts be considered could help keep rivers flowing for fish and wildlife.
The colorful belted kingfisher feeds almost entirely on aquatic prey such as fish, crayfish and mollusks. These energetic birds often watch for prey from a tree or pier piling and dive into the water to grab it with their bill. Sadly, the kingfishers’ food supply is in jeopardy as increasing human water demands and a long drought reduce river flows. While we can’t fix the drought for the fish and wildlife that depend on aquatic habitats, we must take every opportunity to urge actions that make the most efficient use of our water resources. Investing in water conservation projects before building other types of new water supply projects could help reduce the strain on Texas’ rivers and bays. Right now, the Texas Water Development Board is seeking comments on their proposal on how to prioritize new water supply projects as they apply for state funding. Help Texas wildlife that depend on flowing rivers by urging the Board to make water conservation a top priority and consider wildife impacts in the final rules.
Last fall, Texas voters approved Proposition 6 which created a new state water fund to help our communities provide for their water future. The continuing drought in much of Texas is a reminder that we need to do more to conserve our water and consider the impacts to wildlife as we make our water supply investments. By contacting the Texas Water Development Board and asking that these items be high priorities in the final rules, you can help protect rivers, bays and our wildlife heritage.