Team begins work on giant river cane

Team begins work on giant river cane

Work has begun to fight back against the giant river cane clogging local creeks. Members of the Hill Country Alliance and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department met early Wednesday morning at the recently renovated Frantzen Park to start test plots on treating Arundo donax, the invasive, aggressive species that can reach heights of 30 feet. “We worked on a total of four properties over two days, and I think it was successful,” said Katherine Romans, landowner outreach program manager for…

Read More
Blanco River Flood Exacerbated by Manicured Lawns on the Riverbanks

Blanco River Flood Exacerbated by Manicured Lawns on the Riverbanks

Rachel Ranft steers a mud-splattered white pickup slowly along River Road, a narrow strip of asphalt a few feet above the now-placid Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas. She pulls up next to a towering bald cypress, a type of conifer native to central Texas that grows along creeks or near springs. This one measures about 100 feet high and 6 feet around. A tangle of debris wraps its trunk like a fibrous scarf, and rough bark dangles off it in…

Read More
State Comptroller approves $300,000 to investigate monarch decline

State Comptroller approves $300,000 to investigate monarch decline

Texas is getting involved in the investigation into why the monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80% over the past 20 years. Concerns that the butterfly could become a federally-listed endangered species have prompted Comptroller Glen Hegar to fund research into the abundance and distribution of milkweed, a plant that is critical for the monarch’s migration, as well as the potential costs of a listing. Critics argue that documenting the potential costs of a listing ignore the alternative-…

Read More

Pollinator PowWow Draws Hundreds from Texas and Beyond

Icy roads and freezing rain couldn’t stop more than 200 people from making their way to the second annual Pollinator PowWow in Austin last weekend. The all-day gathering of pollinator advocates and native plant evangelists gathered at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday for a full day of education, enlightenment and wisdom sharing. Read more from Texas Butterfly Ranch here.

Read More

New Commitment to Bring Back the Monarch

This week the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced what many have noticed for the past 20 years- monarch butterfly numbers are on a precipitous decline. Over the past 25 years an estimated 970 million monarchs have disappeared, largely due to loss of habitat. The Texas Hill Country is an important part of the monarch migration route, and USFWS has prioritized the entire I-35 corridor for reestablishing butterfly habitat. That means planting native milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants. Read…

Read More
Scientists Seek Public Help to Track Monarch Butterfly Milkweed Habitat

Scientists Seek Public Help to Track Monarch Butterfly Milkweed Habitat

“Where have all the monarchs gone?” This is becoming an oft repeated query, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists are asking for citizen help in answering the question. Since monitoring of overwintering monarch butterfly populations 1993, the WWF has documented a significant decline that reached an all-time low in the winter of 2013. Biologists recently launched a project to explore Texas milkweed and determine where it is, how much is out there and are the monarchs using it. Read…

Read More

NPSOT Native Landscape Certification Program – Register Now for 2014 Fall Classes

The Native Plant Society of Texas Native Landscape Certification Program is a series of courses that teaches best practices for native plant landscape and habitat preservation. Targeted audiences are homeowners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape architects, architects, landscape designers and nurserymen, Master Naturalists, teachers, citizens, Master Gardeners, engineers, and more. Learn more and register.

Read More

Lawn alternatives gain popularity but ‘carpet grass’ remains norm

By Elena Tucker, Features Writer The Boerne Star Part one of a two-part series At a glance, Boerne shows up as an emerald dot on a NASA map of lawns. The area’s cultivated green St. Augustine or “carpet” grass also figures as a fraction of Duke University data in which 40.5 million acres are said to be covered by lawns across the nation. That’s at a cost of $30 billion annually to grounds owners and homeowners who put more than…

Read More

Georgetown moves to limit residential lawns and landscaping to save water

“The rules require residential developers to use only drought-resistant plants from a list provided by the city. St. Augustine grass, which tends to be very thirsty, can only be planted in areas where there is 10 inches of topsoil and less than 6 hours of full sunlight per day.” Read more from the American Statesman (subscription required). Learn more about St. Augustine and the impact lawn watering has on our regional water supply from Native American Seed here. KXAN reports…

Read More