Archive for June 5th, 2013

Conservation: Houston Toad Recovery, 1

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Houston Toad Tadpoles, Image by Earl Nottingham, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Houston Toad Tadpoles, Image by Earl Nottingham, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

This is Passport to Texas

Drought and wildfires were the latest crises faced by the endangered Houston Toad, populations of which exist in only a few counties east of Austin; most are found in and around Bastrop State Park.

16— The wildfire came through in September, at a time of year where the Houston Toad was actually buried underground. So the Houston Toad did not suffer direct impacts from the wildfire. The biggest challenge was the habitat change that occurred due to the wildfire.

Greg Creacy, a wildlife biologist for TPW, says the habitat is markedly different now than it was pre-fire; it remains to be seen how the Houston Toad will adapt to those changes.

20— We had a few thousand – estimates range from three to five thousand – just five years ago. The drought negatively impacted that species in a big way. And so, the numbers had been declining, and we are significantly lower than that now but we are continuing to do surveys to refine our estimates.

A recent survey turned up findings that have Creacy feeling cautiously optimistic.

12— This past breeding season, which just ended in March 2013, we documented many more individuals than we had documented the previous year, which really gives us some hope for the future of that species.

Tomorrow: toad health and recovery strategies.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series, and is funded by your purchase of fishing & hunting equipment and motorboat fuel.

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