Conservation Matters April 2013

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

  • Buck Creek Watershed Partnership recognized with Texas Environmental Excellence Award

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has announced the winners of the 21st annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards, a statewide honor that recognizes 10 projects that demonstrate positive effects on air, water, and land resources. The Texas Water Resources Institute and Texas A&M AgriLife have been selected as the winner of the award in the agriculture category for the Buck Creek Watershed Partnership.

    Created by the Texas Legislature in 1993, the awards honor individuals, organizations, and businesses that protect our state’s human and natural resources while ensuring clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste, according to TCEQ officials. TCEQ commissioners will present the awards to the winners at a banquet, to be held May 1, as part of the TCEQ Environmental Trade Fair and Conference at the Austin Convention Center, April 30–May 1.

    Visit buckcreek.tamu.edu for more information about the partnership and teea.org for more on the award winners.

  • New Texas A&M survey: Texans care about water issues

    New Texas A&M SurveyA recent survey has revealed that Texans are interested in, and concerned about, the quality and quantity of water in the Lone Star State. Respondents reported being concerned about the increasing number and severity of droughts in Texas and about the availability of enough water to serve all water needs, according to Texas A&M University researchers

    The survey was led by Dr. Arnold Vedlitz, director of the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy (ISTPP) in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

    “This survey revealed that Texans are very worried about our state’s diminishing water resources, and that they are willing to see conservation methods put in place,” Vedlitz said. “They are also concerned about how our water resources are managed and used.” 

  • IRNR providing social media training May 15

    The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) will conduct two “Social Media 101—Raising Stakeholder Awareness in an Information Age” training workshops in May.

    Amy Hays, IRNR’s emerging technology specialist and workshop trainer, said one workshop is set for May 15 in San Antonio. The workshop, sponsored by the Texas Wildlife Association, will be held at the association’s office, 3660 Thousand Oaks Drive, Suite 126. The second workshop, sponsored by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, is May 23 in Houston and will be held at council’s office, 3555 Timmons Lane, Suite 120.

  • Management of invasive aquatic fern continues at Caddo Lake

    Caddo Giant SalviniaCaddo Lake, the only natural lake in Texas, has seen no reprieve from the fast-growing biomass of giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta), a free-floating aquatic fern first introduced in the United States by the water garden industry.

    The Caddo Lake Giant Salvinia Eradication project, established within the Center for Invasive Species Eradication (CISE) as a joint effort between Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, through the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), has made progress in salvinia management. Biological and chemical controls have been helpful in efforts to limit the invasive plant and help minimize the negative economic and ecological impacts to Caddo Lake since the salvinia infestation began in 2008, according to CISE scientists.

  • Range and wildlife management field days set for May in Brown, Kerr counties

    Two interagency range and wildlife management field days for landowners, land managers and brush control contractors operating in possible endangered species habitats have been scheduled in late May.

     “Both field days will follow a similar agenda but are tailored for their specific site,” said Brian Hays, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources associate director. “Registration for each site will last from 7:45–8:15 a.m., followed by the programs which should conclude by 4:15 p.m.”

    The first field day is set for May 29 at the Muse Wildlife Management Area, located on County Road 478, about a mile and a half north of Farm to Market Road 1467 in northeastern Brown County. The second program is scheduled for May 30 at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, located at 2625 Farm to Market Road 1340 near Hunt.

    “We especially encourage any landowner or contractor who plans to conduct brush management within the vicinity of golden-cheeked warbler or black-capped vireo habitat as part of work involving the Natural Resources Conservation Service to attend one of these events,” Hays said.

  • Arroyo Colorado cleanup efforts paying off

    Wild nilgaiThe award-winning cleanup efforts to help revitalize a highly polluted yet important waterway in South Texas are entering their second phase, and officials want public input as they begin updating the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan, according to the program coordinator.

    Jaime Flores, the Arroyo Colorado watershed coordinator with the Texas Water Resources Institute in Weslaco, said that phase one of the state’s first watershed protection plan is coming to a close, and cleanup efforts through 2020 and beyond need to be defined.

    “We need to update the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan, which was intended to guide implementation efforts through 2012,” he said. “There was so much to do, we couldn’t get everything into the first plan. We want stakeholders, which includes the general public, to assess our original plan and help us determine how our future efforts should evolve.”

  • AgriLife Extension publishes new native grassland management resource

    New grassland publicationThe Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has a new resource available to help landowners monitor and manage the health of their native rangeland. The publication, Native Grassland Monitoring and Management, targets landowners within the Trinity River Basin and similar areas, said Blake Alldredge, AgriLife Extension associate with Texas A&M University’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

    He said the publication describes in detail several range monitoring and management techniques. It is now available in the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore. Alldredge noted that the monitoring and management information offered is applicable across the state.

  • Universities Council on Water Resources conference set for June

    The 41st annual Universities Council on Water Resources Conference will be held in Lake Tahoe, California, June 11–13. The conference theme is “Sustaining Water Resources and Ecological Functions in Changing Environments,” and it is coordinated by the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) and National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR). According to organizers, the event is designed for water managers, educators, researchers, and other water professionals. Several Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife researchers will be presenting at the conference.

  • Environmentally Friendly Drilling program hosting May 14 workshop

    The Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) Systems Program is hosting a workshop May 14 at Pearl Studio, 200 E. Grayson Street, in San Antonio. According to organizers, the workshop will bring together research teams that have been reducing the environmental footprint of oil and gas for over a decade. The EFD program conducts quarterly workshops all over the United States.

    "At this workshop, attendees will hear from top industry professionals on the successes and challenges of powering energy production with natural gas," said Dr. Susan Stuver, research scientist at the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and manager of the Environmentally Friendly Drilling West Regional Center.

  • National Drinking Water Week is May 5–11

    The American Water Works Association (AWWA) organizes the annual National Drinking Water Week, which is May 5–11 this year, and provides an opportunity for educators to share information and resources on drinking water. The following sources have educational resources that can be used for National Drinking Water Week:

    • Take Care of Texas, an initiative of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, has many resources for educators and citizens.
    • Water IQ, developed by the Texas Water Development Board, publishes a wide variety of water education resources.
    • The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Water Conservation Resources page provides science-based information and materials.
    • AWWA National Drinking Water Week materials include posters and activity pages.
  • Riparian area grazing workshop set May 10 in Ennis

    Formerly degraded riparian areaThe Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will partner with several other agencies and entities to conduct a grazing workshop to focus on riparian areas May 10 in Ennis.

    “With most of the land in the Trinity River basin under cattle production, this workshop is designed especially for cattle producers who have creeks or rivers on their property,” said Blake Alldredge, AgriLife Extension associate with the Texas A&M University Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

     “It’s important for landowners to understand how these systems work and how to properly manage them,” he said. “Good land stewardship in these areas can provide long-term sustainability and increased land productivity for landowners and have positive effects on the quality and quantity of water for both rural and urban populations.”

    Individual registration is $10 and includes a barbecue lunch. The workshop is limited to the first 100 registrants, and an RSVP is required. For more information and to RSVP contact Alldredge balldredge@tamu.edu or 979.845.0916, or see the full AgriLife TODAY article.

  • Ground Water Research and Education Foundation events coming to Grapevine

    The Ground Water Research and Education Foundation is hosting the Stray Gas Incidence and Response Forum and the Unconventional Oil and Gas Water Management Forum, at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, July 9–11. According to the foundation, the development of unconventional gas resources poses new challenges for the management and protection of water resources. The Unconventional Oil and Gas Water Management Forum will focus on the status of current regulations and the potential risks and challenges associated with safe-guarding and managing water resources in areas of shale-gas development. Organizers say the Stray Gas Incidence and Response Forum is an opportunity for regulatory officials, industry, consultants and other interested parties in the region to learn, interact and develop recommendations that will improve protocols for response to the prevention of stray gas incidents.

  • Southwest Stream Restoration Conference coming to San Antonio

    Resource Institute, Inc. is presenting the inaugural Southwest Stream Restoration Conference May 28–30 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio.

    The conference will provide an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share knowledge, experiences and innovations in stream restoration, according to organizers. It will include presentations, panel discussions, exhibits and professional networking focused on ecosystem and watershed restoration. 

    Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) associate director, is leading the organization of a pre-conference workshop on riparian vegetation establishment, which will cover stream bank stabilization, overcoming challenges of riparian management and restoration and methods of establishment. TWRI has partnered with Resource Institute, Inc. to provide this conference.

    For more information and registration, visit southweststream.org.

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