Conservation Matters May 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

  • New txH2O examines groundwater in Texas
    New <em>txH<sub>2</sub>O</em> examines groundwater in Texas

    Did you know groundwater is the largest source of water in Texas, comprising almost 60 percent of water use in the state? Did you also know that storing water supplies underground is becoming an important tool for helping Texans meet future water demands?

    You can learn about these groundwater issues in Texas and more in the Summer issue of txH2O. The new issue is available online at twri.tamu.edu/txh2o. Print subscribers will receive their copies soon, and free subscriptions to the digital version of the magazine are available at twri.tamu.edu/publications/subscribe.

  • Position announcement: TWRI director

    The search is underway for a director of the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI). The position vacancy is posted on the Texas A&M AgriLife Great Jobs website. This position will lead the Texas Water Resources Institute, which focuses on water-related applications, including water quality, supply and water use in Texas, the U.S. and internationally. The director will provide intellectual, philosophical and strategic leadership to system faculty and the institute’s scientists, staff and students to meet teaching, research and extension missions. Visit the Great Jobs posting for more details. Texas A&M AgriLife is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability employer.

    Dr. Roel Lopez is currently TWRI interim director as well as director of the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and will continue in the later role following the hiring of a new TWRI director. The institutes will continue to work together and share staff and services.

  • Aquifer storage and recovery initiative aims to increase expertise, research
    Aquifer storage and recovery initiative aims to increase expertise, research

    While not widely used in Texas, experts with The Texas A&M University System are promoting aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) through a new initiative to increase expertise in this subject area as well as conduct more research on potential aquifers and increase the public’s knowledge.

    The project, Aquifer Storage and Recovery for Texas – A Research and Extension Initiative, was recently funded by money provided to Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) by the Texas Legislature.

  • Learn social marketing June 18–19 in College Station
    Learn social marketing June 18–19 in College Station

    The Texas Watershed Planning Program of the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) is sponsoring a social media workshop for natural resources professionals June 18–19 at Texas A&M University. 

    Amy Hays, program specialist for the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) and workshop trainer, said the first day will be “hands-on” and cover the basics of the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter and how to get more out of them.

  • Well owners: Subscribe to new TWON resource
    Well owners: Subscribe to new TWON resource

    The Texas Well Owner Network (TWON) educates private well owners throughout the state and is now publishing an email newsletter, Well-Read, with timely information on protecting groundwater and water wells and details about upcoming TWON trainings and screenings.

    To subscribe to Well-Read, visit twon.tamu.edu and provide your contact information on the home page. The TWON website also includes numerous resources and publications for well owners and a full schedule of upcoming trainings and screenings.

  • Wurbs honored by American Academy of Water Resources Engineers
    Wurbs honored by American Academy of Water Resources Engineers

    Dr. Ralph Wurbs, Arthur McFarland Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, was recently named an Honorary Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE), a part of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

    Since the founding of AAWRE in October 2004, only 32 individuals have received the Honorary Diplomate, Water Resources Engineers (Hon.D.WRE) status. Wurbs, along with other new honorary inductees, will be recognized and honored June 2 during AAWRE’s 10th Anniversary Diplomate Ceremony at the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute’s 2014 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress in Portland, Oregon.

  • NRCS accepting agricultural land, wetland conservation easement applications

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture–Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP).

    “This is an exciting new opportunity for even more people to get involved in conserving natural resources,” said Texas State Conservationist Salvador Salinas. Created through the 2014 Farm Bill, ACEP funds easements for agricultural lands and wetland reserves. Approved agricultural easements would prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production, according to NRCS. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible. Wetland reserve easements would restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat.

  • Zebra mussel rules for boating now expanded statewide
    Zebra mussel rules for boating now expanded statewide

    The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved a new regulation requiring that all boats operating on public fresh water anywhere in Texas be drained before leaving or approaching a lake or river to help combat the further spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species.

    “Zebra mussels have been moving steadily deeper into Texas since they were first found in Lake Texoma in 2009,” says Brian Van Zee, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries Division regional director who has spearheaded the agency’s response to zebra mussels in Texas. “Now that they are in Lake Belton, the Highland Lakes are in the cross hairs as are many of the public waters in Central Texas.”

  • The Cattleman magazine features Texas Well Owner Network
    <em>The Cattleman</em> magazine features Texas Well Owner Network

    Published by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, The Cattleman magazine’s annual water issue recently featured the statewide education and water well screening work of the Texas Well Owner Network (TWON).

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel conducted 14 free, 6-hour Well Educated TWON trainings during 2013, with about 750 participants. The program continues through 2016, and additional trainings are planned throughout the state each year.

  • Lone Star Healthy Streams workshop coming to Seguin June 5
    Lone Star Healthy Streams workshop coming to Seguin June 5

    A Lone Star Healthy Streams workshop will be held June 5 at the Texas Agricultural Education and Heritage Center, also known as the Big Red Barn, 390 Cordova Road, Seguin.

    The Lone Star Healthy Streams program aims to educate Texas livestock producers and land managers on how to best protect Texas waterways from bacterial contamination associated with livestock production and feral hogs, said Jennifer Peterson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist.

  • Lufkin landowner honored with conservation award
    Lufkin landowner honored with conservation award

    Virginia H. Winston of Lufkin, owner of the 3,418-acre Winston 8 Ranch five miles south of Nacogdoches, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Leopold Conservation Award. Winston received the award, the state’s highest honor for private land conservation, for her family’s ecological transformation of their East Texas land in Nacogdoches County, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

    The ranch is a verdant medley of pine forest, longleaf pine, open range and wetlands providing food and shelter for a resurging population of whitetail deer, quail and Eastern turkeys, officials said.

  • New IRNR and TWRI projects

    History of the San Antonio Viejo Ranch – Phase II

    Funded by: East Wildlife Foundation
    Partners: Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University History Department

    Fort Sill BCVI – 2014 Option Year 2

    Funded by: Department of Defense – Army Corp of Engineers through the Gulf Cost CESU
    Partners: Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

    Freshwater Mussels Survey of the Bosque River Spillway – Waco

    Funded by: Department of Defense – Army Corp of Engineers through the Gulf Cost CESU
    Partners: Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

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