Conservation Matters April 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

  • TWRI hosts water seminar

    The Texas Water Resources Institute is hosting the third in a series of three water seminars by candidates for the chief water scientist position with the institute. Dr. Venkat Lakshmi of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina will present "Studies of the Land Surface Hydrological Cycle using Modeling, Observations and Remote Sensing" on Friday, May 4 at 11 a.m. in room 129 in the Agriculture and Life Sciences Building.

    Dr. Brent D. Newman of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, lectured on "Sustainability of Water Resources: Status and Outlook" on April 24 and Dr. Vincent C. Tidwell of Sandia National Laboratories spoke on "Collaborative Modeling for Integrated Energy and Water Planning" on April 6. Both presentations are available online.

    The institute is seeking a chief water scientist to lead its water science program in addressing high priority water management needs in Texas and the south-central United States.

  • Gulley honored as first recipient of Sierra Club’s award

    Dr. Robert GulleyDr. Robert Gulley, former Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) program manager, recently received the Ken Kramer Living Waters Award from the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club for his work with the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program. He received the award in a special ceremony April 17 in San Antonio.

    Gulley guided the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program, a collaborative, consensus-based stakeholder process, through development of a habitat conservation plan to protect federally listed endangered species affected by the management of the Edwards Aquifer.

  • Advanced water rights workshop to be held Aug. 30–31 in College Station

    WRAPThe Texas Water Resources Institute will host an advanced Water Rights Analysis Package workshop Aug. 30-31 in College Station. The workshop will be held at the Spatial Sciences Laboratory on the Texas A&M University campus.

    WRAP is a generalized modeling system for simulating the development, management, allocation and use of the water resources of a river basin. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Water Availability Modeling (WAM) System consists of this modeling system, along with input data sets for all river basins of Texas, explained instructor, Dr. Richard Hoffpauir, a research engineering consultant for the Texas Engineering Experiment Station in College Station.

    Hoffpauir said the workshop will cover advanced aspects of the Water Rights Analysis Package, or WRAP, related specifically to simulations using daily time steps.

  • 2012 Land Grant and Sea Grant National Water Conference to be held May 20–24 in Portland

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture is hosting the 2012 National Water Conference: Land and Sea Grant Initiatives for a Changing World on May 20-24 in Portland, Ore.

    Dr. Kevin Wagner, associate director of the Texas Water Resources Institute and the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, and Dr. Terry Gentry, assistant professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University, are hosting a Bacterial Detection and Tracking workshop.

  • UNT professor works to conserve the Texas quail population

    Bobwhite QuailThe northern bobwhite quail is a valuable bird to the Texas ecosystem and an excellent indicator of healthy grasslands, according to University of North Texas Quail Director, Dr. Kelly Reyna.

    According to a study conducted by Reyna, Texas quail hunters can spend more than $8,000 per hunter annually—money that some rural Texas economies have come to rely on. However, the northern bobwhite population seems to be in decline, which has drawn the attention of many, Reyna said.

    Noticing this decline, Reyna created a program intended to help combat the limiting factors that have begun to cause population decline in the northern bobwhite quail.

  • High school students invited to State Youth Water Camp in Monahans

    Water CampThe 2012 State Youth Water Camp will be July 8-12 at the Bentley 4-H Center in Monahans. The camp is open to high school students who are interested in water conservation and water issues and is co-sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District.

    According to organizers, the five-day educational camp is planned to teach the importance of water stewardship, train them in water conservation and preservation and illustrate how Texas' water resources are being used by industry, agriculture and municipalities. Activities include hands-on experiences, guest speakers and field trips.

  • NRCS announces lesser prairie chicken wildlife conservation efforts

    Lesser prairie chickensPrivate landowners and operators in the Southern Plains and Panhandle regions of Texas have an opportunity to apply for a new conservation funding source announced recently by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announcement.

    The Working Lands for Wildlife partnership creates a $33 million partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to use innovative approaches to restore and protect the habitats for wildlife, including seven at-risk species and other vulnerable game species.  

    The targeted at-risk species in Texas, the lesser prairie chicken, is a ground-nesting bird native to the rangelands of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

  • Riparian Workshop to be taught by NRCS staff May 5 in Cleburne

    A Riparian Workshop will be held May 5, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., at the United Cooperative Services, 3309 N. Main Street, in Cleburne. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), in cooperation with the Texas Master Naturalist and the Buffalo Creek Association, the workshop will cover the basic interaction of hydrology erosion and deposition, and the riparian vegetation for North Central Texas creeks and rivers. 

    According to organizers, Ricky Linex and Ken Mayben from the NRCS field office in Weatherford will lead the training. Each participant will receive riparian resource materials as well as a copy of Remarkable Riparian, published by the Nueces River Authority.

  • Texas Sea Grant seeking public input on coastal and marine efforts

    The Texas Sea Grant College Program is seeking feedback from Texans in the areas of coastal and marine research, outreach and education through an online survey, available at available The program is currently developing its strategic plan for 2014-2017. As a "thank you," five people who complete the survey will be chosen at random to win $100 gift cards, according to Texas Sea Grant.

    Texas Sea Grant's mission is to improve the understanding, use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources. To achieve this mission, the program develops and supports research, education and outreach programs and partnerships, and relies on the public for knowledge, advice and guidance.

  • Texas AgriLife Research and Texas A&M investigate green roofs

    Green RoofsCould green roofs help solve urban energy issues? Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist Dr. Astrid Volder thinks so. With Texas AgriLife Extension Service agents and Master Gardeners, a team of researchers and a commercial building company in Houston, Volder is studying the viability of green roofs.

    "These green roofs actually will help mitigate problems in the urban areas like what people call having an urban heat island," Vodler said. "Urban areas are usually a lot hotter than rural areas, so having plants on your roof will actually facilitate cooling."

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