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Waco Woman Is Finalist in National Wetlands Photography Contest
Release Date: 8/27/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.
Ms. Annette Jones of Waco, Texas, won a spot as a finalist in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2003 wetlands photography contest, an annual national event that promotes public awareness of the functions and values of wetlands.
Ms. Jones' winning photograph of a green tree frog was taken at the Lake Waco Wetlands Project in Waco, Texas. The grand prize winner and twelve finalists highlighted this year's theme, Wetland Wildlife, in their photographs of reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds, and mammals. The winning entries were displayed at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in May 2003, during the National Wetlands Awards Ceremony, and are posted on EPA's website at: https://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/photocontest2003.html.
"Ms. Jones' photograph shows that wetlands are an integral part of our environment and reminds all Americans of the many economic benefits that wetlands provide," said G. Tracy Mehan, III, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water.
Ms. Jones, an amateur photographer, has been an Assistant City Attorney in Waco for 25 years. Her interest in the outdoors and photography has taken her on hiking, backpacking and rafting trips throughout the west.
Annette volunteered her services for the Lake Waco Wetlands Project when she learned of the need for photographs of the project as it evolves from farmland to wetland habitat.
"Ms. Jones has a keen eye for nature's beauty. I commend her for capturing and sharing the green tree frog's image, helping us all learn more about its place in the ecosystem. The Lake Waco Wetlands Project is lucky to have her support," said Richard E. Greene, EPA's Regional Administrator in Dallas.
The project is a joint effort between the city of Waco and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace wetland habitat that will be lost when the level of Lake Waco is raised seven feet. It is supported by scores of volunteers who have donated many hours to set between 150,000 and 200,000 plants in the new wetland area.
Local schools and universities are already using the project as a living laboratory, and its benefit as a teaching tool will be expanded in the future to educate people on the need for wetland ecosystems and conservation. Annette has spent considerable time enjoying the Waco wetlands, taking hundreds of photographs, and becoming acquainted with its various inhabitants, including the green tree frog.
Photographs by other finalists include a Florida panther in the Everglades, a yellow headed blackbird in Idaho, and an alligator in a Louisiana bayou. "These winning photographers created wonderful art, and at the same time, captured the essence of the connections between wetlands and wildlife," said Diane Regas, Director of EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds.
Wetlands are important features of watersheds as they provide numerous functions and values that have both economic and environmental benefits. Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on earth, comparable to coral reefs and tropical rainforests, and provide food, shelter, and breeding grounds for a great diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants. Up to half of North American bird species nest or feed in wetlands, and a third of the plant species in the continental United States are found in wetlands. Additionally, 95 percent of commercially harvested fish and shellfish depend on wetlands for their survival.
Wetlands help to protect the health and safety of people and their communities. Often called the "kidneys of the watershed," wetlands filter and clean water by trapping sediments and removing pollutants. Wetlands also provide natural buffers against floods as they store enormous amounts of flood water, thus reducing downstream flood damage. In addition, wetlands store and slowly release water over time, helping to maintain water flow in streams, especially during dry periods. Some wetlands are also important for recharging aquifers, a vital source of water supply in many regions of the country.
Despite the many environmental, economic, and health benefits that wetlands provide, the United States has lost over 50 percent of its original wetlands. Annette Jones' photograph, "Green Tree Frog," reminds us of what is at stake when wetlands are lost or degraded. EPA's Office of Water commends the many Americans who are working hard to protect and restore wetlands so that present and future generations can observe natural wonders such as those portrayed in this year's winning photographs.
For more information about wetlands, go to: www.epa.gov/wetlands