The Armand Potholes area is a unique geologic formation – one of the last prairie pothole complexes left in the Houston area. Prairie potholes, (concave remnants of ancient river channels) once covered millions of acres on the Texas Gulf Coast. Only a few thousand acres are left today. These freshwater depressions, formed thousands of years ago and shaped by wind, by buffalo and other creatures, are irreplaceable geographical legacies – one of the most diverse on earth. Once they are gone, there is no replacing them.
Their diverse concentric zones provide fresh water and support a variety of plants and trees – vital habitat to over hundreds of species of resident and migrating birds as well as resident wildlife.
There are many different kinds of wetlands and they all perform ecological functions, and produce certain goods and services that are valuable to humans. The most important functions wetlands perform on the Texas Gulf Coast are:
Wetlands are one of nature’s most efficient water filters. Wetland plants and soils clean the water before it goes into groundwater or into rivers. Once destroyed, they cannot be optimally re-created to function equally as well.
Wetlands reduce severity of floods by acting as natural detention areas. Destruction of many wetlands has made downstream flooding much worse. This particular complex is the last natural detention area in this watershed before storm water runoff gets to Clear Lake and Galveston Bay.
Our coastal plain wetlands are home to a wide diversity of birds and animals. 80% of all migrating birds in North America (and many also from South America); depend on Texas coastal wetlands for survival during migration. Our Texas wetlands support abundant wildlife such mammals, amphibians, wading birds (who eat amphibians), thousands of migrating birds, resident birds, and other wildlife.
“The consensus among landscape ecologists is that only 3-5% of the land remains undisturbed for plants and animals” (Rosenzweig 2003). “In other words, humans have taken 95-97% off all land in the lower 48 states for our use” (Tallamy 2007), with “41.4% of land for agriculture, and 53.6-55.6% of land for cities and suburbia” (2002 Census of Agriculture).
This green space was promised to remain undisturbed by Friendswood Development, an affiliate of ExxonMobil.
Bird-watching is economically important. Wildlife watching is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. In 1996, 3.8 million U.S. residents spent $1.2 billion watching wildlife in Texas. This rare natural area is a valuable asset not only to resident and migrating wildlife but to human residents as well – offering potential aesthetic, educational and recreational opportunities not found in other Clear Lake neighborhoods – an asset we want to preserve and enhance.
The area is home to an abundance of wildlife and will become ‘nuisance’ animals to many residents once their homes are destroyed and/or are killed as a result of the development.