Consider Wildlife in Oakwood Cemetery

RECEIVED Sun., Feb. 24, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I have heard that the city is looking for a new maintenance contract for Oakwood Cemetery just east of I-35 between MLK and 14th Street. As you know, this cemetery has been neglected for many years, but this has resulted in it becoming a haven for wildlife, including rare silver foxes and ravens. Yes, I said ravens, not crows. I live nearby and often drive along Comal Street, which is where I have seen these animals, which most likely few know are living right in the middle of Austin. I'm sure they are there because of the cemetery being a large undisturbed habitat for them. I'm concerned that any improvements that are planned for this cemetery, and the inevitable disturbance, habitat loss, and possible use of herbicides and pesticides, would lead to the death of these rare species.
    I wonder if the city would consider conducting a survey of wildlife in the cemetery, with a view to possibly designating it a preserve. I understand the relatives of those buried there may be upset over the condition of the graves, but I suspect that the deceased themselves would prefer to rest in peace, and I'm sure the living residents would agree with them.
Joe Salaman
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