Archive for September 15th, 2011

Wildlife and Drought

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Drought doesn’t just affect how green your lawn is. It also affects wildlife.

Robert Perez, the parks and Wildlife’s upland game bird program leader, says ground nesting birds like the endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken are vulnerable during droughts.

11—Even winter rain is important for those species to get their greens and get their vitamins and get their body ready to get into the breeding season. Once they breed they need soil moisture in the form of rainfall on the mostly native grasses.

Agency water resources branch chief, Cindy Loeffler, says sometimes the drought can become worse when people use too much water. And animals in Texas springs are some of the most affected.

12—There are plans in place to go in and remove endangered species from these springs and put them in locations for safe-keeping in case the springs do go dry.

Drought can also cause coastal waters to have high salt-concentrations. That means species like oysters suffer.

11—The predators that prey on these oysters do better in higher salinity conditions. So that’s one indicator of how we’re doing in our bays and estuaries is how the oysters are doing.

And right now, says Loeffler, the oysters aren’t happy.

We receive support for our series from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program, funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel…

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.