Conservation Matters January 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

  • Mills Scholarship applications due Jan. 31
    Mills Scholarship applications due Jan. 31

    The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) is accepting applications for the 2014–2015 TWRI Mills Scholarship Program. TWRI anticipates funding three students up to $5,000 each for the 2014–2015 academic year. Applications are due by Jan. 31.

    TWRI administers the competitive scholarship program, which is open to graduate students in water-related studies at Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Galveston and Texas A&M University-Qatar. This program is funded through the W.G. Mills Memorial Endowment. Since 2001, TWRI has funded scholarships for 151 students. View the application guide or contact Danielle Kalisek at dmkalisek@tamu.edu for more information.

  • Deadline extended for Southwest Stream Restoration Conference submissions
    Deadline extended for Southwest Stream Restoration Conference submissions

    The Southwest Stream Restoration Conference is set for May 28–30, at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio. The conference theme is “Streams in a Dynamic World: Managing Today for Resiliency Tomorrow,” and the event will include presentations, panel discussions, exhibits  and professional networking focused on ecosystem restoration, according to organizers.

    Practitioners, managers, scientists and regulators are encouraged to attend. The deadline for abstract, poster and workshop proposal submissions has been extended to Jan. 31. Sponsorship/exhibitor opportunities are also available.

  • RFP: National Competitive Grant Program

    The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) announces the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the FY 2014 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 niwr.net by 3 p.m. CST on Feb. 20. The proposals will then be approved for submission to the National Competitive Grants Program by TWRI by March 6. More information is available at twri.tamu.edu/usgs-104g, and a copy of the RFP is also available at niwr.net/public/get_RFP/?type=104G. Additional information about proposal content, format, review process and registration with the NIWR system is available in the RFP.

  • UT hosting workshop on water projects in the age of SWIFT Feb. 21

    The University of Texas School of Law is hosting a workshop, Water Conservation and Reuse Projects in the Age of SWIFT: New Funds and New PrioritiesFeb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.at the University of Texas at Austin.

    The first workshop panel discussion will cover challenges and opportunities for funding conservation and reuse projects through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), and Dr. Michael Webber, UT Energy Institute deputy director, will deliver a lunch keynote. A second panel will discuss the potential for conservation strategies to meet Texas’ water demand. Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute associate director, will be speaking on the second panel.

    Lunch will be provided. For more information, see www.utexas.edu/law/centers/energy/events, and to RSVP, contact Gena Dawson at gdawson@law.utexas.edu or 512.475.9328.

  • Quail Decline research awards announced
    Quail Decline research awards announced

    Texas A&M AgriLife is wasting no time in putting legislatively mandated dollars to work to find the cause of the widespread loss of wild quail across Texas, officials said.

    “Quail research awards have been made and instructions given to the investigators,” said Dr. Jim Cathey, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service wildlife specialist and project leader for the Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative. “Applied research proposals were submitted on Nov. 11, and award notifications made Dec. 2. Work on funded projects will be starting soon.”

    The $2 million initiative over two years includes dedicated research efforts as well as targeted education for landowners. Cathey serves as the initiative lead and works closely with Dr. Dale Rollins, the statewide coordinator for all efforts related to addressing quail decline in Texas.

  • New report from Texas Comptroller analyzes drought economic impacts
    New report from Texas Comptroller analyzes drought economic impacts

    Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has released a report examining the effects of the water challenges facing the state and offering recommendations to the Legislature. Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution, which revisits the effects of recent drought conditions, examines research-driven approaches for augmenting Texas’ water supply and proposes practical answers for the state’s growing thirst, according to the comptroller.

    “Texas has been prone to cycles of drought for centuries, and there is no reason to expect that basic pattern to change,” Combs said. “Yet our state has changed, and its booming population and economy are creating an increasingly unquenchable demand for water.”

  • TWDB accepting agricultural conservation grant applications

    The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) annually requests grant applications to fund agricultural water conservation projects. TWDB is currently soliciting applications for projects from eligible political subdivisions and state agencies.

    "Agricultural irrigation is the largest water-use sector in Texas, and conserving this resource is vital," said Doug Shaw, TWDB's agriculture and rural Texas ombudsman. "Many regions in Texas depend on a strong agricultural economy, and TWDB offers these grants to support this important industry."

    Available funding includes $1.5 million for cost share of metering equipment in groundwater conservation districts that have rules requiring metering of groundwater withdrawals and $600,000 for water-use measurement and irrigation system improvement projects. Applications are due by noon on March 12 with anticipated award date in mid-May. 

  • Water and wastewater issues short course at Texas A&M April 15–16

    The Global Petroleum Research Institute (GPRI) is hosting a short course, Water and Wastewater: Issues, Challenges, Solutions, and New Technologies, at Texas A&M University April 15–16. The course will include daily equipment demonstrations and cover practical aspects of separations technologies, case studies, system designs, industrial/commercial applications and field trials.                                        

    The registration fee for the short course is $1,095 and includes an eBook manual, daily lunches, refreshments, certificates of completion and pilot plant demonstrations. For more information, see www.gpri.org or contact Carl Vavra at carl.vavra@pe.tamu.edu or 979.862.1617.

  • Texas A&M AgriLife salt cedar control team earns Vice Chancellor’s Award
    Texas A&M AgriLife salt cedar control team earns Vice Chancellor’s Award

    The Salt Cedar Biological Control Team has been honored with the Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence. The award was presented Jan. 9 during the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Centennial Conference in College Station. The Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence were established in 1980 to recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions of Texas A&M AgriLife faculty and staff throughout Texas and provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those honored.

    Team members recognized were Dr. Jerry Michels, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist, and his research assistant, Erin Jones; Dr. Allen Knutson, AgriLife Research entomologist; and Dr. Mark Muegge, AgriLife Extension entomologist.

  • Invasive Plant and Pest Conference coming to Port Aransas Feb. 26–28
    Invasive Plant and Pest Conference coming to Port Aransas Feb. 26–28

    Water and land management professionals, researchers and students are invited to the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Conference Feb. 26–28 at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. The conference is co-hosted by the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council, the Marine Science Institute and the Institute for the Study of Invasive Species.

    According to organizers, the conference will include keynotes, concurrent sessions, posters and symposia designed to serve scientists, land managers, state and federal agencies, local governments and other professionals with an interest in Texas' invasive species. It will include plenary sessions featuring recognized speakers; concurrent sessions addressing coordination, prevention, early detection, management and research; more than $6,000 in student awards and travel grants; trade exhibits and poster sessions; a half day of field trips and workshops; and an awards banquet.

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