Archive for the 'Habitat' Category

TPW TV – Up on the (Green) Roof

Friday, November 16th, 2018
Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

This is Passport to Texas

The new public library in Austin is an oasis in the midst of a steel and concrete desert.

[opens w/ambience] This is the, uh, rooftop garden, which we also call the butterfly garden.

John Gillum is library facilities manager. Native plants sway in the breeze six stories above busy thoroughfares.

It is a green roof. It means a roof that’s actually landscaped. We wanted to do something to help out our little pollinators. We will do anything we can to attract them. If we can come up with different plants we think will draw more butterflies, we’ll do it.

An oasis of native plants help bees and butterflies make their way through increasingly urban landscapes. It also makes for a nice spot to sit and read.

This is really the best part of the library as far as a natural setting to sit in.

Putting a park on a building saves space and lowers energy costs when temperatures soar.

As opposed to the concrete around us, this is going to be an area that really absorbs heat rather than reflects it out, so even in the kind of summers that we get here in Austin, this is still going to be a pretty pleasant place to be.

Can’t get to the library? Then get to a television. Explore the Austin Central Library rooftop garden on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS, the week of November 25th.

In an age when news about nature is not always cheery, look for some good news on the top shelf of Austin’s new library.

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

Building Marine Habitat by Recycling a Ship

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Onlookers watch the Kinta go under.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for substrate—the hard material on which marine organism live and grow. That’s where this guy comes in.

[I’m] Dale Shivley; I’m the program leader for the artificial reef program for Texas Parks and Wildlife

Artificial reefs provide habitat for saltwater fish as well as destinations for underwater divers. About four years ago Shively and his crew were preparing to reef a 155 foot decommissioned freighter, called the Kinta, in 75 feet of water off the coast of Corpus Christi.

Basically, what we have is a huge piece of metal that will benefit the local environment. Marine organisms will begin to grow on it; fish will be attracted to it immediately; it’s been cleaned of environmental hazards and is ready to go. [ambience]

The ship has a new purpose on the gulf floor: nurturing marine life. Brooke Shipley-Lozano, a Scientist with the GIS Lab at Parks and Wildlife explains what happens when they reef a ship.

So, the water will start coming in at the stern. And then gradually the water will fill up the ballast tanks one by one from the stern to the fore, and the rear of the ship should hit the bottom, and then eventually the bow will follow suit, and it will land perfectly upright and everyone will celebrate…

See a video that features reefing the Kinta on the Texas Parks and Wildlife YouTube channel Find a link at passporttotexas.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

The Rule of Trees

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Tree planting photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr, Creative Commons

This is Passport to Texas

Trees are habitat for wildlife. And if you’re adding new trees to your landscape, you need to know the rules.

People frequently ask how close they can put a tree to the house, because shade on the house obviously is a huge energy savings. The general rule of thumb is you go no closer to the house than the eaves are high. So, if you measure up to the eaves of your house, and it’s ten feet high, then you need to get ten feet back from the house.

Scott Harris, a certified arborist in Austin, recommends planting only native specimens.

You always want to plant your trees at the exact level they were in the pot. Don’t dig a big deep hole, dig a big wide hole. Always use the same soil you took out to backfill. But, you can put your compost underneath the mulch, and then all of that organic goodness will dribble down in the way that nature intended.

By watering infrequently and deeply, we can help new trees develop extensive root systems.

If you just have a little bit of water in one area, that’s where the roots are going to go. But if you water very deeply, it’ll spread into the surrounding soil, and the roots will follow that moisture out.

Strong root systems help trees remain strong and withstand drought.

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

Tree Planting Time in Texas

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Scott Harris, when he also farmed flowers. Image from his Facebook page.

This is Passport to Texas

Now is an ideal time to plant trees throughout most of Texas…and you might wonder why.

Two reasons: the two most important constituents in tree planting—the people planting the trees and the trees. It’s just much easier on them.

Scott Harris is a certified arborist in Austin. Tree planting season in Texas begins in October and continues through March.

Getting the trees in the ground in the fall [and winter], they have the entire cool season, dormant season, to spread roots out before the big demands on roots and water start in the spring.

Just because a tree will grow in Texas, doesn’t mean it’s good for Texas. Harris advises that we exercise caution about what we plant in our yards.

The biggest thing to avoid is non-natives. Our natives have all of the features you would want, but they’ve spent thousands and thousands of years getting used to being here, and with all of the wildlife used to having them, too. It’s all a web, and you can’t tell which string you can pull out without upsetting things.

Tomorrow we’ll have a few tree planting tips to help you and your newly planted tree enjoy a long and happy life together

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to serve.

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

Landowner Incentive Program

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

This is Passport to Texas

With more than 95% of Texas’ land in private hands, it’s crucial that landowners participate in the protection, restoration and maintenance of our state.

Texas Parks and Wildlife wants to help with the Texas Landowner Incentive Program, or LIP.

LIP’s goal is to meet the needs of private, non-federal landowners that wish to enact good conservation practices on their lands, for the benefit of healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Landowners must apply for the program. The first step is to contact your local TPWD office and speak with a staff biologist. They will help with an ecological assessment of your land, review your goals, and provide you with information on the various incentive and assistance programs available.

LIP is a cost-share reimbursement program. Depending on the funding series, TPWD will contribute between 50% and 75% of a total project cost. The applicant is expected to contribute the balance; materials or in-kind services are acceptable match.

If together you and your biologist decide that the LIP program could help you meet your management and restoration goals, your biologist will help you to prepare and submit a project proposal packet. Find more information on the LIP program on the TPW website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series, providing support for private lands initiatives.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti