Across Texas, diverse wetlands are benefiting Texans — and facing threats

Across Texas, diverse wetlands are benefiting Texans — and facing threats

“Historically, some people thought of wetlands like nasty places we need to fill in or useless land,” he said. “But really, they’re among the most productive and valuable ecosystem in terms of the goods and services they provide to humans.” Nicknamed the kidneys of the earth for their ability to filter water and improve water quality, wetlands are defined by three things: water, plants and soils. To be a wetland, water should flow through or stand in the area for…

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Resources for new landowners: Aldo Leopold’s five tools of wildlife management

Resources for new landowners: Aldo Leopold’s five tools of wildlife management

Aldo Leopold – author, philosopher, conservationist, and so-called “Father of Wildlife Ecology” –  is a pillar of the modern-day wildlife conservation and management movement. His revolutionary musings on the value of land and wildlife and his intentional management techniques often appear in the discourse on wildlife management. In Game Management, Leopold wrote, “Are we too poor in purse or spirit to apply some of it to keep the land pleasant to see, and good to live in?” This conveys a…

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Hays County Parks & Open Space Advisory Commission call for projects

Hays County Parks & Open Space Advisory Commission call for projects

The Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC) is now accepting project ideas for parks, open space and natural areas from cities, nonprofit organizations, homeowner associations, and other groups or individuals who see specific needs for their communities and for the county as a whole.  In February 2020 the Hays County Commissioners Court recognized the need for additional public park lands and conservation spaces in Hays County and established the POSAC to provide a democratic, public process to…

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awards $3.71 million in recreational trail grants to Texas communities

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awards $3.71 million in recreational trail grants to Texas communities

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $3.71 million dollars in grants to fund 22 motorized and non-motorized recreational trail-related projects across the state. The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) funds recreational trail construction, renovation and acquisition. The grants are funded from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases for off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. Thirty percent of the total NRTF grants must be earmarked for motorized recreational trails, while another 30 percent must be spent on…

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‘Meandering’ restores twists and turns on Lambert Creek in Ramsey County

‘Meandering’ restores twists and turns on Lambert Creek in Ramsey County

A  portion of Lambert Creek prone to flooding in eastern Ramsey County is being reshaped into a meandering stream, the latest attempt to restore metro area rivers that have become polluted ditches… “Almost 50 percent of stream channels across the state have been altered — mostly by straightening,” said Jamison Wendel, stream habitat supervisor with the Fish and Wildlife Division of the state Department of Natural Resources. “There was a lot of ditching that occurred in the early 1900s. It…

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The Trailist: 4-mile extension connects Mission Reach and Medina River trails

The Trailist: 4-mile extension connects Mission Reach and Medina River trails

Mile by painstaking mile, the City, Bexar County, and the San Antonio River Authority have made incremental progress on expanding concrete paths along local waterways, such as the San Antonio River and Leon and Salado creeks. However, the completion of 4.1 miles on the southern end of the Mission Reach trail is a good time to step back and look at the bigger picture. The City’s newest completed trail section joins the Mission Reach to the roughly 10-mile Medina River…

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Fort Worth is moving forward to buy land despite the coronavirus budget crunch

Fort Worth is moving forward to buy land despite the coronavirus budget crunch

The city expects to close this month on a $610,000 deal to buy the 53-acre Broadcast Hill property adjacent to the Tandy Hill Natural Area in east Fort Worth. It is the first step in a broad plan to buy open space ahead of urban sprawl, with the goal of preserving the Texas landscape while helping to mitigate flooding. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the city’s robust growth consumed 2,800 acres of Texas prairie a year for housing divisions, strip malls…

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Our need for the outdoors: The role of nature during COVID-19

Our need for the outdoors: The role of nature during COVID-19

Research on the connection between human health and exposure to nature started to get a foothold in the early 1980s. The renowned biologist E. O. Wilson hypothesized that humans had an innate connection to nature. At the same time, Roger Ulrich, a professor of architecture at Texas A&M University, was looking at how surgery patients with a view of a natural scene out of their windows recovered compared to those with a brick wall outside. He found that patients with…

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Quarantined for the very first time

Quarantined for the very first time

Nearing the line of demarcation for achieving “octogenarian,” it has been a shock to the system to face the necessity of “quarantined.” Even as a youngster in a household of several children and on a city block populated by many more suffering from measles I remember being “one of the ones” able to go and come. With so many others, my spouse, Karen, and I have honored the urgent requests of our adult sons that we take all deliberate precautions and significantly modify our…

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Central Texas Gardener: PBS show producer offers tips

Central Texas Gardener: PBS show producer offers tips

Your garden need not be cancelled! Central Texas Gardener producer Linda Lehmusvirta offers pandemic-proof advice for growing food and sprucing up your yard. Spring and early summer are always a good time to get out in the garden—but of course, our notion of “getting out” this spring has changed, and how. Yet gardening and staying safe aren’t mutually exclusive. Read more from Andrew Keys with The Texas Wildflower here. 

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