Monthly Archives: March 2010

Benefits of Brush Control for Wildlife Habitat Management

Selective Brush Control: Habitat Management in Texas

Habitat management is the keystone of successful wildlife management. This statement has never been more true in Central Texas, where brush control is critical for maintaining important natural processes and suitable habitat for endemic wildlife. On March 25th, directors from Pedernales, Gillespie County, Comal-Guadalupe, Kendall, Kerr County, and Bandera soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) attended a tour of the Honey Creek State Natural Area.

The Watershed Study in Honey Creek State Natural Area was established in 1999 by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to evaluate the combined effects of using selective brush removal (Ashe Juniper) to increase water quantity while protecting water quality. Phillip Wright, Range Management Specialist, with NRCS led the tour. Tour participants were taken to four sites to view equipment used to gather data for the Watershed Study. At each site, information was presented on how the equipment works and the results it has produced from cedar removal. The tour wrapped up with a walk along Honey Creek to see the stream flow that the Brush Removal has created. Continue reading

Drought Mitigation and Habitat Management

The year of 2009 reiterated the importance of water on the landscape. Water is not only necessary for maintaining habitat and wildlife populations, but it’s important for humans as well. Because proper management can help mitigate for dry conditions,a Drought Mitigation Workshop is being held by Holistic Management Institute (HMI) on April 11-12 in Wharton, Texas.

Drought is a consistent state of the environment in Texas, particularly the South Central Valley and Gulf Coast Regions. As an organization that is committed to the health of the land, HMI Texas believes it is important to educate landowners about how they can prepare, manage through, and recover from drought. Farm Aid is also dedicated to helping landowners remain sustainable through drought conditions and we are privileged to have their financial support and partnership in this endeavor. Continue reading

Ocelot Hit By Car in Palo Pinto, Texas

Ocelot found road-killed in Palo Pinto County

Ocelots are endangered animals in the United States, found primarily in South Texas. It’s always a big deal when these rare animals are spotted, particularly when that sighting occurs outside of their normal range, and especially when that ocelot is found hit by a car. That’s exactly what happened within the last week just outside of Palo Pinto, Texas, way up in North Texas!

The above photo shows a male ocelot that was found dead on Highway 180 just East of Palo Pinto. And although the cat may look strange to many of you, it’s even more odd that this animal was found this far north. Has this animal moved up from South Texas, where residents hold an annual Ocelot Festival, or was it simply an escaped or dumped animal from someone that illegally possessed it? The jury is still out. Continue reading

Landowners Enlist in EQIP to Battle Cedar

As water supplies become more valuable, conservationists say proper habitat management is an important way to improve them in urban areas, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has begun an effort it calls Rural Land-Urban Water to promote the connection to urban audiences, funded through their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

“We can’t make it rain in Texas when and where it’s needed,” state conservationist Don Gohmert said. “But conservation measures on the state’s vast rural lands can increase the amount, and improve the quality, of water available to Texas cities.”

In the long run, as cities grow and political power grows farther removed from the soil, the effort is partly a survival measure for the NRCS itself, which splits the cost of conservation work with landowners for habitat management. Continue reading

Texas Rainwater Harvesting Course Set

Rainwater collecting class set for Central Texas

The value of water is becoming increasingly important in Texas, particularly through the recent drought that Central Texas experienced in 2009. As ponds and lakes went dry, residents realized that much value resides in underground and surface water. But regardless of where water is stored, it all comes from the same place—rain that falls from the sky. And as such, it can be contained, harvested, or collected before vanishing before our eyes.

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service is offering a 1 ½ day course on the basics of rainwater harvesting on April 21 and 22 in Harker Heights. Even though the drought of 2009 in Central Texas may seem like a bad dream after a wet winter, there are many other good reasons to set up a rainwater harvesting system than an ongoing drought, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“For many who get their water from wells, it is security if the well is running dry,” said Brent Clayton, AgriLife Extension assistant. “For those on municipal water, it is a way to irrigate when restrictions come into place. Others do it for environment. Rainwater harvesting uses less groundwater.” Continue reading

Guadalupe River State Park Science Festival

Guadalupe River State Park

If you enjoy science and the outdoors, head over to Guadalupe River State Park (GRSP) on April 24th for a Family Fun Science Festival! Interpretive Services and the staff of GRSP cordially invite you to bring your families to attend a grand opening celebration for the children’s interactive Discovery Center newly installed in the park. Families can enjoy a free hot dog lunch from the Friend’s Group before trying twenty different stations of science activities including nature drawing, looking at river insects under microscopes, petting live crawfish and taking home native plant seeds. Continue reading

Game Warden Investigates Dead Ocelot

TPWD investigates Palo Pinto ocelot

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Game Warden Matt Waggoner, based in Palo Pinto County, is investigating the discovery of a dead ocelot east of Palo Pinto early Sunday. This member of the cat species is normally found only in the lower Rio Grande Valley, so the presence of an ocelot in Northwest Texas is highly unusual, Waggoner said.

A motorist spotted the dead animal along the right of way of Highway 180 as of the county seat about 7:45 a.m. Sunday. After viewing the animal and realizing it was probably an ocelot, the woman’s father-in-law called Parks and Wildlife. Waggoner took custody of the carcass and refrigerated it. Continue reading