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Winter storm impact to Texas fish, wildlife topic of April 13 webinar

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AUSTIN — The Texas Master Naturalist Program will present an “Impacts of Winter Storm Uri on Texas Fish and Wildlife” webinar on April 13 covering the storm’s impact on fish and wildlife, their recovery and fish and wildlife management efforts moving forward.

The webinar is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. The webinar is part of the monthly #TMNTuesday series, which aims to bring natural resources stewardship, management and education to its members and the public through engaging online sessions.

Winter Storm Uri swept through Texas mid-February and had significant impacts on wildlife, plants and the state’s natural ecosystems. National headlines focused on the work being done in Texas to save and protect wildlife, from rescuing cold-stunned turtles and wintering bat populations to the impacts on coastal fisheries and bee populations.

“We’ll get to answer the questions still lingering from this extreme weather event and learn how our resources adapt and recover from this and possible future events,” said Michelle Haggerty, state program coordinator for the Texas Master Naturalist Program. “Our Texas Master Naturalist volunteers are eager to learn about the effects from the polar vortex on natural resource flora and fauna in Texas, but more specifically, what recovery looks like and how they can help.”

The Texas Master Naturalist Program webinar will address how these impacts can be scaled on a statewide level and discuss what can be done to manage and prepare for a similar future event.

The webinar will bring together natural resource experts from across the state. Topics and presenters will be as follows:

  • Overview of Winter Storm Uri and the Historical Significance of This Winter Event– John Nielsen Gammon, Ph.D., Texas A&M University Regents Professor and Texas State Climatologist
  • Overview of Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s Winter Storm Uri iNaturalist Project— Tania Homayoun, Ph.D., TPWD Texas Nature Trackers Program biologist
  • Impacts to Birds — Cliff Shackelford, TPWD ornithologist
  • Impacts to Bats — Nathan Fuller, TPWD bat biologist.
  • Impacts to Exotics — James Gallagher, Ph.D., TPWD natural resource specialist
  • Impacts to Fish and Other Aquatic Species — Dakus Geeslin, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division, Chief of Science and Policy Resources
  • Impacts to Sea Turtles — Tony Reisinger, Texas A&M Sea Grant agent
  • Impacts to Plants and Insects and other Naturalist Observations — Craig Hensley, TPWD Texas Nature Trackers biologist
  • Where Do We Go from Here and What Can Texas Master Naturalists Do to Prepare for the Next Winter Event — Jonah Evans, TPWD mammologist and Non-game and Rare Species Program Leader

The event will also be live streamed to the Texas Master Naturalist Program Facebook and recorded for viewing on the Texas Master Naturalist Program’s website.

The Texas Master Naturalist Program’s mission is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their Texas communities. Learn more about the program and how to get involved on the Texas Master Naturalist Program’s website.