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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Texan by Nature Conservation Wranglers Summit

Apr 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Martin Miron
Texan by Nature (TxN), a Texas-led conservation nonprofit selected the 2021 Conservation Wranglers to receive 12 to 18 months of dedicated support with program management, strategic planning, marketing strategy, metrics capture and analysis, professional content production and partnership development. Conservation Wrangler is an accelerator program that catalyzes the very best Texan-led conservation projects occurring in the state. This diverse set of projects impacts land, water, habitat and more represents the vast ecological diversity of the Lone Star State.

Texas Water Trade (TWT) Restoring Comanche Springs

This is a collaborative effort to restore Comanche Springs, in Fort Stockton. Once known as the Spring City of Texas, Fort Stockton’s 30-million-gallon-a-day spring has not flowed reliably since groundwater pumping accelerated in the 1950s. The local groundwater regulator, the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, recently developed a model indicating a realistic reduction in annual groundwater pumping could allow Comanche Springs to return to year-round flow. Texas Water Trade, partnering with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, has completed a feasibility study of a market-based restoration of Comanche Springs. They are creating a pilot market for the world’s first spring restoration and investing in recreational infrastructure to facilitate access to Comanche Creek for residents and tourists.

Expanding Longleaf Ecosystem Restoration

The Texas Longleaf Implementation Team was created to establish and restore upland and wetland longleaf pine savannas by working with public and private forest landowners across the historic range of the longleaf pine in East Texas. The longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the scarcest plant communities in the Southeastern U.S. Less than 3 percent remains. Longleaf pine communities are essential for migratory birds, resident wildlife and a host of rare and endemic plants and animals. A well-managed longleaf pine savanna that includes frequent prescribed fire has the potential to produce and sustain habitat for rare species such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow and the Louisiana Pine Snake. Game species such as the Eastern Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, and American Woodcock take advantage of these open forest conditions, as well.

San Antonio Zoo Texas Horned Lizard Reintroduction Project

Through their passion and expertise in animal care, conservation and education, the zoo’s unwavering dedication to the conservation of wildlife has led them to establish the Texas Horned Lizard Reintroduction Project. The Texas horned lizard was once abundant across the western two-thirds of Texas, but since the late 1960s, horned lizard populations have declined or disappeared in many areas due to fragmentation and loss of habitat, the introduction of exotic grasses and red imported fire ants, and pesticide use. This species was added to the state list of threatened species in 1977 and was adopted as the Texas state reptile in 1993.

Audubon Texas Matagorda Bay Rookery Island Conservation

Audubon, along with the support of valued partners, manages 177 islands along the Texas coast, including 12 islands within Matagorda and San Antonio Bays. Matagorda Bay is a priority location for Audubon’s conservation efforts due to the bay’s iconic bird species, such as the Roseate Spoonbill and the Brown Pelican. Constructed from dredge spoils in 1962, Chester Island, a 73-acre rookery island in Matagorda Bay, is actively stewarded by Audubon and hosts around 20,000 breeding pairs of at least 18 species every year Audubon Texas plans to partner with local communities, businesses and industry partners in Matagorda Bay, as well as upstream urban populations, to expand constructed habitat and awareness of critical bird conservation efforts in the Bay.

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