Conservation Matters November 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

  • New txH2O issue examines research ensuring water supplies

    txH2O coverThe Texas Water Resources Institute has published its Fall 2012 issue of txH2O. This issue of the magazine spotlights water quantity projects in various stages of the research process: research and development, testing and evaluation, and technology transfer. Read about a Texas A&M University research team that is examining soil moisture in the vadose zone, a stakeholder group that reached a consensus resolution to balance protection of endangered species and water use in the Edwards Aquifer region, and the Water Conservation and Technology Center director sharing his vision for the center created to address water supply issues in the state.

    Other stories report on desalination technology, a conservation partnership on the Trinity River, and successful projects in the Texas Panhandle, Rolling Plains and East Texas. Read the issue for more information, and subscribe to receive future issues.

  • 2013 Water Resources National Competitive Grant announced

    The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) announces the Request for Proposals for the FY 2013 National Competitive Grant Program by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR).

    Proposals must be filed online at by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 21. The proposals will then be approved for submission to the National Competitive Grants Program by TWRI by March 7.

  • Consumer food prices remain relatively stable despite drought

    Drought Stunted WheatMost of Texas is still in some degree of drought. That, coupled with the drought in the Midwest United States, has caused crop production and livestock to be effected, but how does this translate to consumers and ranchers?

    So far in 2012, grocery price increases have been moderate. However, further drought could lead to multi-year effects on livestock and some crops, bringing increased prices to consumers, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists.

  • New publication sheds light on agricultural water use in Texas

    EM-115Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts recently released a report, Status and Trends of Irrigated Agriculture in Texas, highlighting the current status of irrigation in Texas.

    "Irrigation is critical to our food production and food security and is a vital component of Texas' productive agricultural economy," said Dr. Kevin Wagner, associate director of the Texas Water Resources Institute and lead author of the special report. "Decision-makers need the facts on just how much water agriculture is using as well as how much food and fiber it's producing with that water."

  • Ogallala Aquifer Program receives water conservation award

    The Ogallala Aquifer Program, a university and federal agency research-education consortium, recently received the Save Texas Water Blue Legacy Award in Agriculture from the Water Conservation Advisory Council.

    Program leaders accepted the award at the Texas Commodity Symposium on Nov. 28 held in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.

  • Upper Llano Watershed Coordination Committee meeting set for Dec. 11 in Junction

    Upper LlanoA new group helping to protect and improve the water quality and flows of the North and South Llano River is inviting local residents to attend a Dec. 11 meeting in Junction, said Dr. Tom Arsuffi, director of the Texas Tech University Llano River Field Station.

    The inaugural meeting of the Upper Llano River Coordination Committee is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Llano River Field Station, 254 Red Raider Lane. Refreshments will be available at 6 p.m.

  • Tourism industry feels drought impacts, state parks bounce-back from 2011

    Lake TravisIt's no secret that Texas is prone to drought. With water levels as low as 48 feet below normal in some Texas lakes, activities such as boating, fishing, water skiing and even camping become more difficult, or impossible--boats don't float in dry lakes, and fish don't bite if there isn't any water. The impact of drought is seen not only in lakes, but also in local economies as tourism revenues decline.

    "Few industries are more vulnerable to the ravages of severe drought and water shortages than the travel industry," according to Texas Travel Industry Association documents from a 2012 public forum.

  • Marshall recognized at Texas Section Society for Range Management

    Mike Marshall, extension assistant for the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR), recently won an award for best presentation by a young professional at the Texas Section Society for Range Management (SRM) conference in Fredericksburg, Texas, Oct. 2-6

    His presentation, titled "Relationship between habitat quality and ESDs: a novel approach to managing endangered species," discussed recent happenings within IRNR's Fort Hood project regarding endangered species conservation.

  • TPWD develops new CWD protocols for mule deer

    Wildlife officials are asking mule deer hunters and landowners in far West Texas to familiarize themselves with new protocols developed as part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) response plan. The plan includes mandatory check stations for harvested mule deer taken inside the CWD Containment Zone, which covers portions of Culberson, Hudspeth and El Paso counties. 

    The response plan is being implemented after tissue samples from two mule deer in Far West Texas tested positive for CWD. These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer, according to TPWD. CWD is in a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

  • Dwindling water supplies prompt recommendations for growers

    Water ManagementTexas A&M AgriLife Research has released a set of recommendations for South Texas growers facing an extended drought and dwindling water supplies, according to an agency water engineer.

    "A relentless drought, record high temperatures and depleted water reserves for the past two years in South Texas require us to take a closer look at how we manage water under water-limiting conditions," said Dr. Juan Enciso, a water engineer at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.

  • Texas Tech experts monitor drought's effects on quail counts

    QuailThree years into a five-year project aimed at stemming the decline of quail in Texas, researchers with a conservation alliance based at Texas Tech University are finding that last year's blistering drought didn't help that rescue effort.

    "Even though we've seen improvement in this year's reproductive efforts, it's important to look at reality," said Dr. Brad DabbertQuail-Tech Alliance research project director and associate professor in Texas Tech's Department of Natural Resources Management. "We're coming off one of the worst droughts on record and we're seeing a corresponding reproductive failure. While environmental conditions improved during winter and spring, we can't expect populations to rebound in a single year."

  • Turf study monitors runoff, establish fertilizer management practices

    Turf Runnoff FacilityImproperly applied fertilizer on newly placed sod may result in nutrient runoff into the water supply, but just when is the best time to apply fertilizer and what kind is the best for new turf?

    A team of scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife Research is aiming to answer those questions. All with the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University, the group includes: Dr. Jacqui Aitkenhead-Peterson, assistant professor of urban nutrient and water management; Dr. Ben Wherley, assistant professor of turfgrass science and ecology; Dr. Richard White, professor of turfgrass physiology and management; and Jim Thomas, senior research associate.

    "We are looking at the establishment of turf and what nutrients are coming off of that turf in the water runoff after irrigation or rain events," Peterson said.

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