Archive for April, 2010

Conserving Water in Urban Environments

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

San Antonio has long been viewed as the role model in water conservation. That’s primarily because it relies on the strictly regulated Edwards Aquifer.

Greg Flores is the vice president of public affairs for San Antonio Water Systems. He says because of San Antonio’s experience in water conservation, it can help other cities with their programs.

:12—There are a number of communities that will for the first time have to submit water conservation plans to the state of Texas. Well we’ve got a lot of experience doing that for many years, and we can help a lot of communities get their plans done and submitted to the state.

In 2008, San Antonio used one hundred thirty nine gallons of water per person per day.

Dallas used two hundred and seven gallons per person per day. But that’s down twenty percent from water use in 2000. And Yvonne Dupré, a Dallas water conservation program coordinator, says outdoor watering restrictions, conservation education and rebates for water efficient toilets are paying off.

:09—We have really seen a difference. Our population has continued to grow in this region, but our gallons per capita per day continues to decline.

But as cities grow and resources are limited, cities like Dallas and San Antonio are searching for other sources of water. Do what you can to conserve; we have tips at

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Water Conservation Tips*


  • Check your home for leaks: read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. Repair all leaks a.s.a.p.!
  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily by disposing of tissues and other waste into the trash can.
  • Take shorter showers and consider buying an ultra-low-flow showerhead.
  • Do not let water run while brushing your teeth or washing your face.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a glass of water.
  • Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded.
  • Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.
  • Recycle water from your fish tank by using it to water plants. Fish emulsion is a good, inexpensive fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphorus.


  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean sidewalks and driveways.
  • Place a layer of mulch around trees and plants to retain water.
  • Use a moisture indicator to tell when your lawn needs watering and when it does not.
  • Do not over-water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer and every ten to fourteen days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks.
  • Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speeds are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
  • Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
  • Plant native and/or drought tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.
  • Consider installing drip irrigation for individual bushes, trees, flowers, and garden areas.

* Special thanks to the American Water Works Association. Please visit their web site at for additional information.

Children in Nature

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Unstructured outdoor play used to be the norm—but not anymore. And that’s unfortunate, as time spent outdoors enriches children’s lives.

:18—It broadens their world; reduces the stress tremendously—it’s an amazing thing. Their attention is improved; they’re more creative in school. The kids who get outside and play, and especially play in nature are more resilient; they’re better problem solvers. They cooperate better with other kids.

Nancy Herron coordinates outdoor learning programs for Parks and Wildlife. Many parents feel the world has become a dangerous place, and no longer insist their kids spend time outdoors, because then they’ll be away from mom’s or dad’s watchful eyes. But getting the kiddos outside is something parents should reconsider.

:12—I think it’s going to be a conscious effort for parents to take their kids outside. It might be a trip to the park; it could be looking at how your community is built. Are there safe places to play where you can look out the window and see where they are?

Make getting outside a family activity; it’s is as easy as…

:09—Deciding that an hour a day or a half hour a day we’re just going to take as family time. And why can’t that family time be outside. And just make it a part of your schedule.

Find suggested outdoor activities for families at

That’s our show for today… remember: life’s better outside… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Recycling Monofilament Fishing Line

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

It’s rarely worth picking apart a snarl in your fishing. When tangles happen, most anglers snip them off and start again. But what happens to the line afterward is critical. Don’t toss it in the water or on the shore.

:10—People just don’t realize it can get caught up in boat motors, and it really has been quite a problem. There have been many animals that’ve been injured and killed with this monofilament fishing line.

Ann Miller is the Aquatic Education coordinator for Texas Parks and Wildlife. If you think UV rays will break down the monofilament line no matter where it is, rendering it harmless to man and beast, think again.

:16—But…you forget that many times, if the monofilament is below the water line or in the shade, those UV rays are not there breaking it down. And so, we really do have a lot of monofilament that is in the environment for many, many years.

When you cut a tangle out of your line, look for monofilament recycling containers near docs or in marinas, and dispose of the line properly. The line’s collected and recycled.

:11— The goal of the monofilament recycling program is to help reduce the amount of monofilament in the environment to help protect wildlife and fish and people’s property as well.

If you can’t find a recycling bin, then properly dispose of your line it in a trash bin. Find more information about recycling fishing line on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show, sponsored in part by the Sport Fish Restoration Program.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Wildscaping–Earth & Wildlife Friendly Landscapes

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

A highly manicured landscape may attract the praise of neighbors, but it won’t attract much native wildlife. To do that, you need a wildscape.

:05—Essentially, wildscaping is creating your landscape in a way that’s going to be friendly to wildlife.

Mark Klym is with wildlife diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

:16—So, we’re looking at providing food, shelter and water for the wildlife on the space that you have available using native plants. We ask for at least fifty-one percent native plants. And creating a habitat they feel comfortable with, while at the same time, keeping it comfortable for yourself and your neighbors.

For example, creating a wildlife attracting brush pile in your yard may seem a bit unruly for your tidy suburban neighborhood, but if done right, it can satisfy both man and beast.

:20—Well, a brush pile is a wonderful thing for the wildlife to have. And if it’s properly done, it can be a very pleasing thing for us, especially when you start getting some of the field sparrows that we don’t normally see around our gardens, coming into our garden because of that brush pile. These are a wonderful resource. I’ve seen them in downtown Corpus Christi in a way that the neighbors wouldn’t even know they were there unless they looked for them.

Find more information about wildscaping on the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site.

That’s our show for today …For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Wildscapes are earth-friendly because native plants require less water and fertilizer to thrive once they’re established, which has a positive impact on the environment.

Earth Day–What Will You Do?

Monday, April 19th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment…and thus began the annual celebration of the planet called Earth Day.

2010 marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, and millions of people worldwide are gearing up for it. But a once a year celebration is useless if that’s where it ends. So I want to challenge everyone listening, to do something every day to care for Mother Earth.

What kinds of things can you do? Perhaps plant native plants that use less water and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Or take a ceramic coffee mug to the office instead of using disposable cups. Perhaps you could make sure to properly dispose of monofilament fishing line so it doesn’t harm aquatic life.

In addition, when camping, leave your campsite in better shape than you found it. Or, your stewardship goal might be to spend time with your family outdoors instead of inside with the television—because you’re no good to nature with a remote in your hand.

Mix it up, and add new earth friendly activities to your list every week…or at least every month. As for me, I plan to use less water inside and outside of my home, and install native flowers and shrubs when I redo my landscape. That’s just for starters.

What will you do? Go to and let me know. I could put you on the radio.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.