Subscribe |  Donate  |  Shop  |  Endowment  |  Careers  |  Contact
Barton Creek Habitat Preserve Conservation To Continue ‘in Perpetuity’ Following Austin Acquisition

Barton Creek Habitat Preserve conservation to continue ‘in perpetuity’ following Austin acquisition

A 10-0 vote by Austin City Council on June 3 ensured the permanent preservation nearly 4,100 acres of land home to one of the area's unique wildlife habitats and key sources of drinking water. Council via consent June 3 approved the purchase of a conservation easement on the Barton Creek Habitat Preserve, located near Hwy. 71 southeast of Bee Cave, from longtime owners and stewards The Nature Conservancy for up to $2.8 million. The Barton Creek preserve now represents one…

Read More
Pretty And Powerful: Six Wildflowers That Benefit Texas Ecosystems

Pretty and powerful: six wildflowers that benefit Texas ecosystems

April showers bring May flowers, which may be the better part of spring for Texans-a charismatic display to distract us from the inevitable heat ahead. Alas, they are more than their displays: with over 2,500 species, native Texas wildflowers provide critical habitats for an array of pollinators, help protect the soil from erosion and create the best views for lone star road trips. Their beauty is showcased along winding highways, sprinkled through the piney woods, blanketed throughout the hill country…

Read More
Expanding Opportunities For Natural Resource Conservation In Texas

Expanding opportunities for natural resource conservation in Texas

Texas is home to a variety of unique, productive, and biologically thriving landscapes from the Piney Woods in the east to the arid mountain vistas in the west. Each year, these lands are the root of hundreds of thousands of jobs that help generate billions of dollars in revenue to the state economy. Our land resources also provide a wealth and variety of ecological services, including wildlife habitat, flood mitigation, carbon sequestration, and clean water. The same landscapes that so…

Read More
Hays County POSAC Seeking New Project Submissions

Hays County POSAC seeking new project submissions

The Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC), which was created in 2020 and recently restarted, is seeking additional project submissions that would be funded by Proposition A, a Parks & Open Space Bond, approved by voters in the November General Election. Prior to the passing of the bond, POSAC members announced a call for projects which resulted in an initial set of 15 recommended projects to the Hays County Commissioners Court. “The role of POSAC was to establish…

Read More
An Epic Monarch Migration Faces New Threats

An epic monarch migration faces new threats

One of nature’s most extraordinary spectacles unfolds in the 10,000-foot-high conifer forests of Michoacán, Mexico. In mid-November, swirling orange-and-black clouds appear in the skies above the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a 139,019-acre sanctuary carved out of the Transvolcanic Belt by the Mexican government in 2008. Millions of butterflies alight on oyamel firs, pines and junipers. As the late-year temperatures dip toward freezing, the beautifully patterned insects fall into a sort of hibernation, after their several-thousand-mile migration. “The area has the…

Read More
How To Poison Feral Hogs (and Only Feral Hogs)

How to poison feral hogs (and only feral hogs)

Early one winter morning in 2020, Kurt VerCauteren discovered a cluster of dead birds in a barren field in northwest Texas. They were small birds, mostly dark-eyed juncos, but also a smattering of white-crowned sparrows. VerCauteren’s team had poisoned them, inadvertently. The clues were clear, the death uncomplicated: The birds had flown in before dawn to scavenge deadly morsels of a contaminated peanut paste, left behind after a sounder of wild hogs had torn through the area in a feeding…

Read More
Rebecca Creek Salamanders Could Warrant Federal Protection

Rebecca Creek salamanders could warrant Federal protection

Lizard-like amphibians with elongated bodies and tails, short limbs and external gills are the focus of scientists keeping tabs on groundwater health in Rebecca Creek. In April, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) staff headed out to the area with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) scientists to collect salamanders to help determine what species are present and whether they warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Read more from Stephanie Johnson with My…

Read More
Update: Wild Pigs Negatively Impact Ground-nesting Birds

Update: Wild pigs negatively impact ground-nesting birds

Wild pigs are an invasive species that can cause damages to private land, water quality and other wildlife populations. For ground-nesting birds, wild pigs pose a real threat to nest success and population numbers. Recent research documented that wild pigs readily consume eggs and depredate both wild and simulated nests. For the Rio Grande turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia), Eastern turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and declining waterfowl species, nest destruction by wild pigs may lead to decreased…

Read More
Lege+water: April 2021 Update

lege+water: April 2021 Update

Every month during the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, Dr. Todd Votteler and Dr. Robert Mace provide an update on water-related legislation. The key water committees are Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs in the Senate, chaired by Senator Charles Perry (R) of Lubbock, and Natural Resources in the House of Representatives, chaired by Representative Tracy King (D) of Uvalde. The Senate Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs Committee is still meeting weekly on Monday mornings at 8 a.m., while…

Read More
Rebecca Springs, Salamander Surveys, And WHY They Matter

Rebecca Springs, salamander surveys, and WHY they matter

Salamanders are sensitive critters. With external gills and limited habitats, they are good indicators of groundwater health. They rely on clean, clear, flowing springs to maintain healthy populations. Low water levels in aquifers lead to less spring flow and less dissolved oxygen in the water. Pollution and contaminants from surface water runoff can drastically alter water quality. Hill Country residents rely heavily on groundwater, and the status of salamander populations can tell us how well we’re balancing resource protection and development.…

Read More