tx H2O

txH2O Summer 2011

Promoting safety, security, and sustainability

Institute fosters programs on natural resource science and management

Story by Kathy Wythe

Through its research and extension programs focusing on natural resource science and management, the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) protects and promotes the safety, security, and sustainability of land, water, and wildlife. IRNR, a unit of Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, conducts interdisciplinary research and technology transfer, policy and economic analysis, and engagement with land managers and policymakers.

Many of the institute’s land projects are science- based programs and demonstration projects that promote sustainable land use through stewardship practices, land-use forecasting and policy, restoration ecology, and ecosystem services. Involved in working on landscape-scale restoration projects, IRNR developed the Trinity River Information Management System (TRIMS). TRIMS provides landowners, stakeholder organizations, and the public with an outreach and planning tool for supporting land conservation and habitat restoration decisions in the Trinity River Basin.

IRNR’s water projects encourage secure and sustainable water resources for humans and wildlife through watershed restoration, conservation, and policy innovations. IRNR, AgriLife Extension, the Texas Water Resources Institute, the Texas Wildlife Association, and Trinity Waters have a joint project that engages and educates middle Trinity landowners about improving the river and its ecosystems.

The institute’s wildlife programs promote sustainable wildlife, including game, nongame, and endangered species, through demographic and spatial modeling, impact assessments, and monitoring protocols. In addition, IRNR works to solve problems with policy innovations concerning endangered species, including the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program—a collaborative, consensus-based stakeholder process working to protect federally listed endangered species potentially affected by the management of the aquifer. Other efforts include a Recovery Credit System developed for endangered species, such as the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireos.

IRNR has a strong history of working with military lands and land-use compatibility with military training. Currently, the institute is working with the military on land management and training on Fort Hood and on a regional readiness cooperative program. It also offers a web-based graduate certificate program in military sustainability that provides an understanding of how ecology, economics, policy, and culture influence natural resource conservation and management on military lands.

Along with its main office in College Station, IRNR has satellite offices in Gatesville and San Antonio. The Gatesville office addresses programmatic needs in Central Texas, including support for Fort Hood and work along the Leon River. The San Antonio office supports the ongoing Edwards Aquifer program, endangered species recovery, and expands efforts in military land sustainability.

For more information about IRNR, visit its website.

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