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Highlights January 2009 Monthly Activities Report
Southwest Region, January 31, 2009
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New Balcones Canyonlands NWR Entrance Gate designed and fabricated by the Balcones Fire Crew. Mike Wilson 01/2009
New Balcones Canyonlands NWR Entrance Gate designed and fabricated by the Balcones Fire Crew. Mike Wilson 01/2009 - Photo Credit: n/a
Map showing exceptional drought conditions in Central Texas counties for January.
Map showing exceptional drought conditions in Central Texas counties for January. - Photo Credit: n/a

"The worsening 'Exceptional Drought' surrounding Balcones Canyonlands NWR was having a drastic effect on habitats and wildlife populations, to the extent that staff could get out to monitor things.  The only previous ‘exceptional drought’ was declared in the 1950’s.  Governor Perry wants to restrict burn bans to include certified burners, which heretofore were exempt.  Large areas of grasslands were virtually bird-less. 

 

Despite these conditions, the Friends of Balcones organized a very successful 4th SparrowFest workshop on January 31, during which participants encountered a record 20 species of sparrows on and near the Refuge (some in very low numbers)."  It was interesting to note that despite the lack of any substantial rain, the base flow of Cow Creek actually increased through January.  This is probably an indication of minimal evapotranspiration in the cool winter months, coupled with the continued low baseline seepage and spring flow through our limestone terrain. 

 

 Returning for a second winter, volunteers Paul and Peggy Stanilonis, arrived in early January.  On January 31, David and Alice Weaver and Bob and Margaret VanDomelen concluded their volunteer stint by helping serve food and cleaning up at Sparrowfest.  These four volunteers, known as the “Fantastic Four”, contributed 989.5 hours in a mere eight weeks!  In that time, they were only required to contribute 640 hours.  Thus, these volunteers contributed an astounding extra 350 hours (two weeks worth)!

 


Contact Info: Deborah Holle, (512)339-9432 ext. 10, Deborah_Holle@fws.gov



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