Did you know that funds from the sale of fishing licenses in Texas support the management of the state’s aquatic resources? 100% of your hunting and fishing license fees go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for on-the-ground conservation efforts; with more than 2.4 million licenses sold annually, that adds up to a lot of funding. Fish stocking, wildlife management, habitat restoration, land conservation, and Texas Game Wardens are just some of the initiatives those funds support.
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to help improve our waterways and wild lands, get a license and cast a line. Your contribution might help build an artificial reef off the coast or remove zebra mussels from your favorite lake. And when you do go fishing be sure to follow state regulations for fishing in public waters.
Thank you for your support of outdoor recreation and conservation in Texas and our community.
Questions or comments? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Just what are invasive species? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an “invasive species” is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration; and, whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. A number of federal and state agencies are concerned with invasive species including The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which battles non-native plants and animal species every day to maintain the health of our natural areas and waterways.
Closer to home, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department is addressing the many invasive plant species that have infiltrated our pathways and open spaces, impacting native plants and trees. Since May 2019, nearly one hundred Township residents have attended classes on invasive plants, learning to identify them, monitor their spread and report data. This “Invasives Task Force” has also gone to work on our on pathways, removing hundreds of pounds of air potato vine, Japanese climbing fern, nandina, elephant ear, Chinese privet and other non-natives.
Texasinvasives.org offers a wealth of helpful information on invasive species in our state and region. Learn how to identify key invasives in our area and how to take action. Whether you are a boater, aquarium owner, gardener, hiker, pet owner or all the above, you’ll find specific tips to help stem the tide of invasive species.
Stop the spread
Once you’re familiar with our most common invaders, check your yard to see if you have any. If so, take a simple but important action for the health of our local environment by replacing them with natives. Then, consider increasing your impact even more by joining the Township’s Invasive Task Force!
You might also be interested in exploring the “Citizen Science” section of texasinvasives.org for advanced learning opportunities such as area workshops and online trainings. Citizen Scientists are volunteers who receive expert training to identify and track key invasives in our area. The information they gather is delivered into a statewide database and to those who can do something about it. The premise is simple. The more trained eyes watching for invasive species, the better our chances of lessening or avoiding damage to our native landscape.
More than 500 households took the pledge to turn off their sprinklers from October 15, 2019 through April 15, 2020. Each pledge earned their village a point and a chance to win a monetary donation towards their scholarship fund as part of the annual Water Wise Village Challenge.
Turning off your sprinklers during the winter not only conserves water, it creates healthier lawns in the spring. The most common turf grass in our area, St. Augustine, goes dormant during the cooler months to conserve energy and strengthen its roots. Rainfall alone provides all the water it needs during this period. In fact, too much water will weaken grass, making it more susceptible to disease and pests when spring rolls around.
Now put your hands together for the 2019-2020 Water Wise Village Challenge Winners:
First Place – Village of College Park
Second Place – Village of Creekside Park
Third Place – Village of Sterling Ridge
Congratulations to these villages, but remember, everyone who saved water is a winner!
If you missed out on this year’s village challenge, be sure to check back in August and make the pledge to turn off your sprinkler for winter 2020-2021. Visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/environment for more information on Water Conservation and the Water Wise Village Challenge.
Turning off your sprinkler is just one simple way to save water around the house. Check out these resources for more easy ways to save water at home.
The population of Montgomery County is on the rise. In fact, we’re projected to be one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, doubling in size to 1.4 million by 2050. This growth speaks to the beauty and livability of this area. However, it comes at a cost, particularly the strain it places on our water supply. That strain will maximize during times of drought. Preparing for drought on top of a rapidly expanding population requires us to conserve water now.
Weather plays a major role in our water supply. Case in point, during the week of April 13, 2020 Montgomery and Harris counties were in “moderate drought” according to the Texas Water Development Board’s Water Weekly post. Subsequent rains improved our status to “abnormally dry” and now to “normal”. We hope these moderate conditions last forever but history alone tells us they won’t. Drought is undoubtedly in our future.
The Region H 2021 Water Plan relies on conservation to provide 18% of the water supply during a drought. In other words, simply relying on surface and groundwater leaves us far short in meeting future demands, especially in times of need.
So, let’s make things easier on ourselves and start conserving now: Fix a leak, water your lawn only when needed, install low flow showerheads, and avoid irrigating the driveway and street.
How much water can you actually save through simple measures like these? First, consider that an average family uses 120,000 gallons of water a year. By turning off the water when brushing your teeth you can save 4,000 gallons a year. Efficient dishwashers save more than 6,000 gallons of water per year compared to hand washing (and use less than half as much energy, too). Leaks (toilets, faucets, appliances) may be the most surprising waste of water, amounting to 18 gallons of water per day, or 7,500 gallons a year. By simply addressing these three factors alone, you’ve nearly reached the 18% of conserved water needed to support the water plan.
Even though pressures on our water supply will mount, we can take simple measures now to conserve and that will ensure we are prepared. Will you help?
For more about ways to conserve water at home, follow the latest blogs from Environmental Services by signing up here.
Questions or comments? Email email@example.com
We have all been staying home and away from our favorite activities, but we remain connected by community – one with deep roots and a rich history of volunteering.
Our forested community was once a dynamic gathering place filled with unique biodiversity. We live in the western-most part of the “Big Thicket,” an area unrivaled in the U.S. for flora and fauna richness. Over the centuries, as the population of the area grew, our community was developed and with that development came change. The number and diversity of species was reduced and non-native, invasive vegetation and animals were introduced, leading to issues like loss of native habitat.
In May 2019, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department held a training class for volunteers to help alleviate the damage caused by removing invasive species from our pathways. The response by volunteers was overwhelming!
By December 2019, volunteers had spent more than 500 hours removing a huge amount of invasive vines and other non-native vegetation from green spaces so native plants and trees could thrive again. A record number of volunteers were hard at work in 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic brought a stop to these activities. . When the time is right, these volunteers will be ready to get back to their work and you’re invited to join them!
The Invasives Removal Task Force has quickly become an established community group and riding on their success, another volunteer opportunity presented itself for 2020. Growing concerns about our waterways have led to the creation of The Watershed Project. Our community is built around a complicated web of streams, waterways, bayous, ponds and lakes, creating many opportunities for them to be negatively impacted by litter, chemical runoff and invasive species. Being surrounded by so much water also means that there are any opportunities for volunteers to help manage the health of our waterways.
When the new Watershed Project was launched, earlier this year, more than 50 residents signed on to learn how to save water, reduce chemicals in our landscapes and waterways, and offer educational training to neighbors in their community. In the first two months of the year, more than 140 hours of time was recorded in water related training and volunteering. Yes, for now, projects, trainings and community educational outreachhave been postponed but we know it will return stronger than before. And when it’s safe for our community to come together again, we hope you will join us in working to make our outdoor spaces a healthy and vibrant place to call home.
To those who have volunteered in the past, THANK YOU! But, if you haven’t found your niche to serve and would like to know about upcoming opportunities, contact Environmental Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can be a part of the work to keep our community connected and healthy by serving as a volunteer. It works because of YOU.
Questions or comments? Email email@example.com
Did you follow a link to view this article? If you would like to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox, subscribe for blog updates here.