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Eye on Nature - Texas Parks and Wildlife E-Newsletter

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Fall 2014          A publication of the Wildlife Division—Getting Texans Involved

Drought

The word is too familiar to Texans for whom every rainfall is a precious event to treasured. We often forget that drought can be devastating to the wildlife we invite into our gardens though, and continue to manage our properties as if the rainfall did not matter. This newsletter focuses on drought, the impact it can have on wildlife and some of the simple changes we can make in our management practices to make the dry spell a little more tolerable to our wildlife guests.


Drought and Wildlife Considerations

Prairie Drought Forage

By Jimmy Kuntz

Drought can take a heavy toll on the productivity of wildlife populations, and can magnify bad management decisions. Severe droughts can impact adult individuals in a population, but survey data can show that drought greatly affects the survival of newborns in most wildlife species. Semi-arid South Texas is no stranger to drought, and it is often said that if we are not in a drought we are about to enter one. Rain is sporadic, and the timing of rainfall events means much more than the average rainfall for a given year. The last decade has seen historic droughts, in some areas of South Texas rivaling or surpassing the drought of the 1950s in terms of length and rainfall accumulation. So how does a land manager or wildlife biologist safeguard against drought?

Drought and Wildlife Considerations

Photo © Jimmy Kuntz


The Drought and Our Backyard Wildlife


Owl

By Sharon Steffen

The year 2011 dawned with our area in a drought. We live in southern Montgomery County between Tomball and Pinehurst, Texas. We are about 35 miles north of Houston. As the year progressed, so did the severity of the drought. This brought a change in the needs and habits of wildlife that frequented our birdbath and the woods surrounding our property. Having personally experienced a lack of water during Hurricane Ike in July 2008, we were aware of the consequences the lack of water has on everything and every living creature.
The Drought and Our Backyard Wildlife

Photo © Sharon Steffen


Water Management in Your Backyard

By Mark Klym

Water. We have all seen the old western movies with the cowhand wandering through the desert his canteen dry and lips parched looking for water. While we recognize the image as fiction, the message - we all need water - is all too clear when we think of droughts we have recently faced and the water restrictions that have been imposed.
Read more of Water Management in Your Backyard


Back Porch

By Mark Klym

One of my favorite places as a child was a small urban creek that ran behind a light industrial facility in our neighborhood. While the water probably was not the best, it was a great place to see small fish, some frogs and numerous small mammals that made this small habitat island their home. Many after school hours were spent exploring this stream, catching toads and tadpoles, looking for squirrels and rabbits. It was a special place where many of the neighborhood kids were introduced to nature.
Read more of Back Porch Article


Did You Know?

  • Did you know that grasslands were once widespread in west Texas?
  • Did you know that Texas is home to three species of horned lizards?
  • Did you know that beetles are now being used to help control salt cedar in Texas?
  • Did you know that the Desert Bighorn Sheep population in Texas may be as high as 1100 individuals?
  • Did you know that Texas is home to two diverse mountain lion populations?

Wild Stuff!

Introduction to Texas Turtles Ad
Introduction to Texas
Turtles Booklet

Send an email request to mark.klym@tpwd.state.tx.us

 

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Help protect native non-game species like the Horned Lizard with the purchase of the Horned Lizard license plate. The cost is just $30*, with $22 going directly to benefit the conservation of wildlife diversity in Texas.

Order online today and get your plate in just two weeks!

www.conservation-plate.org/nature

*In addition to regular vehicle registration fees.


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