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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Congress could put Americans back to work through conservation

Congress could put Americans back to work through conservation

Why post-COVID economic recovery efforts should include investments in our public lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation infrastructure Across the federal government, there are a suite of habitat restoration programs designed to benefit fish and wildlife and enhance the resiliency of our natural systems, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, and the Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails Program. These on-the-ground restoration programs infuse important resources into local communities, generate construction jobs,…

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Montana judge upholds ruling that canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit

Montana judge upholds ruling that canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit

A federal judge in Montana on Monday upheld his ruling last month that canceled an environmental permit for the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline and threatened other oil and natural gas pipeline projects with delays… Morris said that the Army Corps did not adequately consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on risks to endangered species and habitat when it renewed the permit in 2017. To allow the agency to continue authorizing new oil and gas pipeline construction “could…

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Monarch butterfly gets protection in ‘historic’ deal

Monarch butterfly gets protection in ‘historic’ deal

The Fish and Wildlife Service today unveiled a sweeping, multistate plan to protect the monarch butterfly without adding it to the Endangered Species Act list. A long time in the making, the plan called, in part, a “candidate conservation” agreement unites state and federal officials with energy and transportation industry leaders on a common cause. “Completing this agreement is a huge boost for the conservation of monarch butterflies and other pollinators on a landscape scale,” FWS chief Aurelia Skipwith said in…

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Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Fifth-generation Texans, David and John Talbot of New Boston, in February 2020 sold one of the last examples of unplowed native prairie in northeast Texas to the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) for permanent preservation as the Talbot Brothers Prairie Preserve. The 366 acres in Bowie County also includes more than 200 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands. The Talbot family owned the property for more than 55 years. “The land stewardship and preservation of these unique prairie…

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Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Our natural world provides innumerable benefits to human health and economic prosperity. As wildlife and their habitats disappear, these benefits are compromised. Nationwide, experts have identified more than 12,000 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including over 1,300 here in Texas. The majority of these are at-risk fish and wildlife — like the Texas horned lizard, Pronghorn, and American bumblebee. Unfortunately, America lacks a dedicated funding stream to conserve vulnerable fish and wildlife. We are in danger of losing the ecological…

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Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Troubled waters: San Antonio weighs the cost of preserving its water supply

Taxpayers have spent $260 million to protect the Edwards Aquifer. With the tax set to expire, officials can’t agree on how much more to spend. The Frio River snaked south through the hills of Uvalde County, its clear waters coursing over a bed of white, fractured limestone in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. Then, unceremoniously, it disappeared. The river had flowed into — and underneath — Dripstone Ranch, nearly 2,000 acres of undeveloped ranchland named after a system of…

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