By Kevin Chandler, Communications Coordinator, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign
Last week, the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign’s Fall Flyway Migration Tour touched down in coastal Alabama for the 9th Annual John L. Borom Coastal BirdFest. On October 4 and 5, we tabled at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, the second largest delta in the United States. The 5 Rivers Center sits at the point where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakeley rivers meet to flow into Mobile Bay. On Saturday, October 6, we shared a tent with the Pascagoula River Audubon Center at the BirdFest expo on the campus of Faulkner State Community College in beautiful Fairhope, Ala., on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.
The festival is a great opportunity for birders throughout the United States and abroad to take expertly guided trips along the Alabama Coastal Birding trail, one of the most important migratory stopovers in the United States. Though many participants were already very familiar with the problems the Mississippi River Delta faces, we were able to connect some visitors with the region for the first time. And because those who love the outdoors are intimately connected with the health of ecosystems, we had no trouble recruiting signers to our petition to BP demanding that they accept responsibility in the gulf.
Events like this remind us that the Mississippi River Flyway is highly interconnected, and just as the delta’s land loss affects birds throughout the flyway, it also affects the birders and outdoorsmen who are dedicated to enjoying and protecting the wildlife along its migratory path. We are incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to connect with so many engaged conservationists throughout the three day event. As the Migration Tour continues, we look forward to more opportunities to help spread the word that the delta’s crisis is a national issue. The delta’s loss is your loss.