flurry o’ blurbs

Short bursts of semi-related scrum that have been collecting in my lower tract this week… how to nap (in case you forgot); why we love warblers; a poem to lift you up; and cps energy news to drive you mad.

Firstly, this image above of future reverse-migration rights advocates was forwarded by a friend near El Paso: Psychically congratulate the second place winners (“Spirit of the River” category) of Southwest Environmental Center’s Rio Grande raft event last weekend in Las Cruces, N.M.

napping monkey

Open and check it out: How to Nap. What a great info-graphic! Must have taken up like a half page in the Boston paper

Why GEAA wants to make out with the golden-cheeked warbler (and you should too):

The protection of the Golden-Cheeked Warbler habitat and the preservation of the Edwards Aquifer go hand in hand. The preferred habitat of the Warbler is in areas where mature junipers grow, which is often on slopes, along drainages, and in creeks and riparian zones. These are the areas that provide the natural filtration and recharge for the Edwards Aquifer that GEAA seeks to protect.

golden-cheeked-warblerThis project proposes to produce extensive maps of preferred Warbler habitat with an emphasis on fast-growing areas near San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, and Austin. Following the production of these maps will be an assessment of the areas that are at risk to new development. Avian biologists will also perform limited site-specific inventories of habitat and bird populations in major growth corridors and on select properties of cooperating owners. The project culminates in a two-day strategizing workshop including biologists and attorneys to draft a strategic plan for Golden-cheeked Warbler conservation across the Texas Hill Country.

The Golden-Cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) is a neo-tropical migratory songbird that has been listed as an endangered species since 1990. The Warbler spends March through July in Central Texas to nest and raise its young. In July it returns to Mexico and Central America for the winter. Of the 360 bird species that breed in Texas, the Golden-cheeked Warbler is the only species that nests exclusively in Texas. The habitat covers parts of 33 counties including the Edwards Plateau, which includes much of the recharge and contributing zones of the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers.

What makes this area attractive to the Warbler is the combination of ashe juniper trees (often called cedars by locals) and a mixture of oaks and other deciduous trees. The bark of the juniper is an essential part of their nest and the oaks are their feeding grounds where they find insects. The Warbler prefers mature junipers over 15 feet tall for nesting. Most junipers of this size are found on slopes, along drainage bottoms, and in creeks and draws. This habitat is the nexus of the Warbler and the recharge of the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers that the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) seeks to protect. In these drainages and creeks are located many of the springs, caves and recharge features that are essential to providing clean and plentiful amounts of water for the aquifers.

The greatest threats to the survival of the Warbler are habitat loss and fragmentation or division of open space into smaller segments. Several of the counties in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone that also are home to the Warbler are in the top 100 fastest growing counties in the United States. In the list of large counties, Travis County with Austin is #41 and Bexar with San Antonio is #20. In the small county top 100 list is Hays County at #20 and Comal at #46. The impending development of these and neighboring counties is why GEAA is seeking funding for this project that seeks to identify and prioritize Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat that is at risk to development. As a result of the strategic plan provided by this project possible outcomes include purchase or donation of conservation easements for selected properties and cooperation with cities and counties to preserve selected properties.

A much-needed poem arrived from a friend right in time to intersect and soften a turbulent and erratic day.

Sometimes

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,pugh
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.

Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to,
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

– Sheenagh Pugh

Now you have all those good optimistic and charitable juices flowing, enjoy a little eco-political drama, courtesy of Environment Texas.

See how San Antonio’s City-owned utility is arguing before the state Public Utility Commission against significantly increasing transmission potential for wind and solar power from West Texas.

Be sure to thank Luke at Environment Texas for this one… CPS Energy attorneys arguing for least aggressive transmision options before the PUC.

I blogged on this for CurBlog.

Wanna pitch in and help (with anything sustainability related in SA)? I just re-stumbled upon a running list of ways to participate maintained by the San Antonio Audubon Society Conservation Committee Chairman Harry Noyes.

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