Wren: Dark skies vital to gaining perspective

Wren: Dark skies vital to gaining perspective

Friday evening’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Expo keynote speaker was William Wren, a distinguished and award-winning advocate for dark sky preservation. Wren has worked at the McDonald Observatory for 29 years and currently is the special assistant to the superintendent. The McDonald Observatory is part of the University of Texas system, located on Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains, 313 miles West of Uvalde. The 500-acre site sits beneath some of the darkest skies in…

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For the first time, researchers find captive-bred horny toads that survived winter in the wild

For the first time, researchers find captive-bred horny toads that survived winter in the wild

For the first time ever, researchers have found captive-bred Texas horned lizard hatchlings alive after winter hibernation. It’s a big win for the state reptile, which has vanished from Texas landscapes over the past several decades. New technology has allowed Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials to track the tiny hatchlings more accurately than ever. In the past, hatchlings were nearly impossible to track after release, and all died within a few months. Even in good conditions, Texas horned lizards have a high…

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CWD sampling effort leads to proposed containment zone expansion

CWD sampling effort leads to proposed containment zone expansion

AUSTIN – Texas remains vigilant in monitoring and testing for chronic wasting disease, with no reported spread beyond existing containment zones over the last 12 months. However, the discovery of CWD in a free-ranging whitetail near the perimeter of the disease containment zone in south central Texas has led to a recommended expansion of that zone. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) surpassed its statewide goal of 6,735 CWD samples, collecting 10,421 between March 1, 2018 and Feb. 28,…

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White Nose Syndrome is a ‘looming disaster’ for bats in Texas

White Nose Syndrome is a ‘looming disaster’ for bats in Texas

  • April 4, 2019
  • News

In the eastern United States, millions of bats have died over the past few years from a disease called white nose syndrome. Biologists across the country are racing to find a cure, or at least slow it down. So far there’s no evidence of white nose syndrome infecting bats in Texas, but the fungus that causes it is here. The question now is how much it’s spread. Cypress Creek is a clear stream that runs through Wimberley in central Texas.…

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Travis Audubon announces 2019 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Hero Chris Harte

Travis Audubon announces 2019 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Hero Chris Harte

AUSTIN, Texas– Travis Audubon announces the selection of the 2019 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Hero. Every year Travis Audubon honors an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to promoting environmental conservation, education, or advocacy. These heroes are recognized at our annual Conservation Award Luncheon, named after legendary birder and conservationist Victor Emanuel. The honorees are influential leaders who have inspired us to greater community involvement and environmental awareness through their work. On behalf of the Board of Directors of Travis…

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Texas Parks & Wildlife halts planned Sandy Creek dredging operation

Texas Parks & Wildlife halts planned Sandy Creek dredging operation

Landowners Steve Nash and Fermin Ortiz agree on one thing. There is a sand and silt issue in Sandy Creek and Lake LBJ; however they disagree adamantly on what to do about it. “The problem is in the lake. Get it out of the lake,” said Ortiz, whose family owns thousands of acres adjacent to Sandy Creek upstream of Lake LBJ in Llano County. Nash, a developer also owns land about two-and-a-half miles upstream of the confluence of where the…

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Landowners attend workshop on financial, conservation tools: About 90 hear CCCA, Hill Country Alliance speakers

Landowners attend workshop on financial, conservation tools: About 90 hear CCCA, Hill Country Alliance speakers

The Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and the Hill Country Alliance co-hosted the workshop, “Saving Family Lands: Tools for Landowners in Comal County” on Feb. 15 at the Anhalt Dance Hall in Spring Branch. The one-day workshop, which highlighted financial and conservation tools available to rural landowners in fast-growing Hill Country counties, attracted 90 attendees. The workshop was designed to provide farmers, ranchers and other landowners with effective tools and resources to help them address issues inherent in passing family…

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Landowners, volunteers wade into riparian restoration effort

Landowners, volunteers wade into riparian restoration effort

While the cooler temperatures March 2 were enough to send some people inside, a number of folks rolled up their sleeves, and pants legs, sowed seeds, and planted vegetation along a stretch of Sandy Creek. “We want to be proactive by doing riparian zone restoration,” Fermin Ortiz said. He and about 25 local landowners, concerned residents, and volunteers gathered along the creek at CR 316 in Llano County. Ortiz and several other residents and landowners are concerned about a sand-mining…

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J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

J. David Bamberger on fifty years of coaxing his Blanco county ranch back to life

On an overcast day in early February, J. David Bamberger charged down a trail at his ranch near Blanco, pointing out maples he’d planted more than a decade ago. The ninety-year-old land conservationist wanted to determine why the leaves of some of the trees turned orange last fall, while those on others became deep red or golden yellow. To collect the data he sought, he needed to clear the brush from around each maple. The former door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman…

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New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

The new study, produced by Siglo Group in partnership with the Texas Land Trust Council, quantifies the value of lands and conservation easements that have been conserved by or with assistance from the Texas land trust community. Values for benefits provided by these conserved lands were calculated using an ecosystem services approach. Specifically, the study assessed the more than 1.6 million acres of open space lands that have been compiled into a statewide conserved lands database by TLTC members, and evaluated those acres for the services they offer Texas in terms water quality, water quantity, flood prevention, and…

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