Invasive zebra mussels found in Lakes Lyndon B. Johnson, Pflugerville in Central Texas

Invasive zebra mussels found in Lakes Lyndon B. Johnson, Pflugerville in Central Texas

AUSTIN – Established, reproducing populations of invasive zebra mussels have been discovered at two new lakes in Central Texas, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) in the Colorado River basin northwest of Austin and Lake Pflugerville northeast of Austin. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) biologists confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake LBJ after LCRA staff found about a dozen juvenile and adult zebra mussels near the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in…

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What’s in the way of this Texas pipeline? A cute songbird

What’s in the way of this Texas pipeline? A cute songbird

The golden-cheeked warbler, an endangered songbird native to Central Texas, always seems to be flitting around controversy. It proved to be a roadblock derailing the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to build a toll road in 2016. Prominent politicians in Texas say protections for the bird infringe on property rights. And in the last few years, the diminutive bird has survived multiple attempts to remove it from the federal endangered species list. Now the warbler is at the center of…

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Texas could gain millions in federal funding to help at-risk fish and wildlife

Texas could gain millions in federal funding to help at-risk fish and wildlife

Texas could receive more than $50 million annually to pay for initiatives that support at-risk fish and wildlife populations under a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress. Known as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), House Resolution 3742 would provide $1.3 billion every year to states and $97.5 million to tribes. The Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife says the funding wouldn’t require new taxes. It would be supported by existing federal revenues. Under the Endangered Species Act, which Congress passed in 1973, species can be listed…

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During a solar eclipse, what are plants doing?

During a solar eclipse, what are plants doing?

  • July 15, 2019
  • News

As the total solar eclipse crosses South America on Tuesday, it won’t just be people oohing and ahhing as the sun is blotted out. Other living things will have their own responses, too — some of which we are just beginning to understand. As some scientists used the Great American Eclipse in August 2017 to watch how bees and birds dealt with sudden midday darkness, researchers in Wyoming investigated big sagebrush, a shaggy, aromatic desert shrub that grows throughout the…

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Proposed pipeline would cut through Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat

Proposed pipeline would cut through Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat

Every March, birders spill into the canyonlands outside of Austin, Texas, to search for Golden-cheeked Warblers. The tiny black-and-white songbird, with vibrant yellow splashed across its face, is the state’s sole endemic bird, and a federally protected species with an estimated population of 27,000. In early spring the birds migrate up from Central America to nest in the Hill Country, a region of limestone hills, caves, clear creeks, and swimming holes in Central Texas. There they construct deep cup nests, weaving strands of ash-juniper…

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New Edwards Aquifer facility designed to protect endangered species

New Edwards Aquifer facility designed to protect endangered species

A new facility to research and protect some endangered species that are native to central Texas opened Thursday. The new Edwards Aquifer habitat conservation plan buildings will house a handful of endangered species that include the San Marcos salamander, the comal springs riffle beetle, the foundation darter, and eve Texas wild rice–a grass native to the San Marcos River. Read more from Matthew Prendergast with KXAN here

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Bat-killing fungus detected in 21 Texas counties and in Bracken Cave, north of San Antonio

Bat-killing fungus detected in 21 Texas counties and in Bracken Cave, north of San Antonio

A fungus that kills hibernating bats has spread and is now detected in 21 Texas counties, including Bexar, and Comal County’s Bracken Cave, which houses the world’s largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. That’s double what it was in previous years, said Jonah Evans, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department state mammalogist. The fungus causes what’s known as “white nose syndrome” and has been deadly for millions of bats in eastern parts of the U.S., where some species have been…

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The flight of the Texas fireflies

The flight of the Texas fireflies

In a state with more than its share of biting, stinging, and creeping and crawling insects and arachnids with little or no charm to any but their own species, fireflies (or lightning bugs as they are variously known here) have long enjoyed a special place in our hearts, that rarest of varmints—a charismatic insect. To those of us who grew up in suburbia or out in the country in recent decades (or those who grew up in big cities long…

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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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