NRI researchers present in Texas Wildlife Association's seminar series

Each year, the Texas Wildlife Association welcomes the opportunity to showcase to its members, partners and guests a variety of natural resource and conservation presentations by agency, landowner, non-profit and university partners. This year’s line-up represents a diversity of topics focusing on wildlife, natural resource management, production agriculture, landowner liability and lease law, wild game cooking and conservation education.

Laying a foundation for feral hog removal

High Plains Journal — Brought over on ships by Spanish explorers as traveling food sources, feral hogs have slowly built up their numbers over the years. Feral hog populations have reportedly been established in 35 states, but sighted in 48. Read more to learn about the complexities of feral hog population management and damage control where the potential for dedicated resources and funding is steadily growing.

See the NRI 2019 Annual Report

Each spring, NRI releases an Annual Report highlighting our core values, our programs and accolades defining the year. Year 2019 was an exceptional year—because of the work of the people behind NRI, we more than doubled our readership across the board, putting the right research in the hands of stewards around the world.

Quail are Calling

The quail are calling, and we've got our fingers crossed for a great breeding season this year. The Texas Quail Index is starting with Spring Call Counts, and now you can participate (or just learn what it's all about) by taking our online vignette. We also highlight an upcoming webinar for landowners with small-acreage properties and wildlife management goals.

‘Sentinel landscapes’ keep quiet vigil against encroachment

April Reversing the Quail Decline Newsletter

A lot can change in a month. As we adjust to new ways of working, socializing, and just plain living, we want to encourage you to persevere. We know our Students of Quail are a resourceful bunch, and we're all in this together! If you're looking for ways to stay busy and learn something new, we have an opportunity for you: help us refine the new TQI Online Course!

Howdy Abroad: An Interview with Graduate Student and Fulbright Recipient Melissa Meierhofer

Melissa Meierhofer is a Ph.D. candidate in Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Texas A&M and a research associate at A&M’s Natural Resources Institute. The recipient of a Fulbright Grant for the 2019-2020 academic year, she is currently living and studying in Finland. Her research focuses on a fungus-causing disease in bats called “white-nose syndrome,” which is spreading rapidly in North America. In Finland, she is working with other researchers to create mathematical models of the spread of the disease to assist the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service as they try to save bat species. OGAPS caught up with Meierhofer for an update on her research and life in Finland.

New book published covering all aspects of wild pig biology, ecology, damage, management

NRI's Private Land Stewardship and Engagement Associate Director Dr. Jim Cathey co-authored Chapter 15: "Wild Pigs in South-Central North America" providing scientific research and a review of management practices within a geographical context, in the comprehensive volume Invasive Wild Pigs in North America: Ecology, Impacts, and Management addressing all aspects of wild pig biology, ecology, damage, and management.

Open the Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative February Newsletter

February—Disking, shredding, prescribed (Rx) burning—'tis the season for habitat disturbance. Disturbance can open up the landscape and allow for lower successional plant species (like food-producing forbs) to take hold. Doing it now leaves enough time for recovery before nesting season is underway.

If prescribed burning is something you're curious about but the thought of setting fire to your property makes you nervous, never fear—we have some resources to help you get started in this issue.

Report addresses status of working lands in Texas

For more than two decades, land-trends reports have informed private and public landowners and decision-makers. The new Texas Land Trends report "Status Update and Trends of Texas Working Lands 1997-2017," produced by the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, has been published to add to those reports.

NRI publishes Status Update and Trends of Texas Working Lands 1997-2017

We are proud to present the long-awaited Texas Land TrendsStatus Update and Trends of Texas Working Lands 1997 - 2017  published in December 2019. Texas Land Trends reports have informed private and public landowners and decision-makers for over two decades. With this report, we are able to examine new patterns and identify trends following the release of the Census of Agriculture datasets by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS). These datasets provide key information for complex Texas natural resource challenges through the power of a “good map.”  The Texas Land Trends:  Status Update and Trends report is the fifth iteration and specifically describes the status and recent changes in land values, ownership size and land use of privately-owned Texas working lands. 

Reversing the Quail Decline December Newsletter

The end of the year is a time of celebration for many, but for quail it's often a time of hardship. This month we have an episode of Dr. Dale on Quail that explains why winter is such a tough time for these little birds. Plus we've got a new online lesson all about quail songs and calls.

Startling statistics everyone needs to know about wild pigs

Whether you refer to them as feral hogs or wild pigs, Sus scrofa is a species that negatively is impacting nearly every part of Texas.

Not only do wild pigs wreak havoc on pastures, fields and golf courses alike, they contaminate our water sources and destroy native species.

Creepy Halloween critters found in Texas

SAN ANTONIO - Are you a fan of spiders or bats or how about some pumpkins?

All those iconic symbols of Halloween are found right here in Texas. But here are some facts on those spooky critters that you may not have known about.

State-Funded Studies Help Federal Agency Remove Two Mussels from Endangered Species Candidate List

(Texas Comptroller) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that two Texas mussels can be removed from the list of candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The determinations were based mainly on research funded by the Texas Comptroller’s office and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

Spending the game bird stamp money

Lone Star Outdoor News — Research, education at the forefront. Funds from the $7 Upland Game Bird Endorsement purchased with hunting licenses in Texas have been used to support research and education regarding bobwhite and scaled quail over the past six years.

Wild Pig Wars: Controversy Over Hunting, Trapping

While Louisiana has a stout wild pig population, and Missouri presumably has a relatively small population, Texas wears a painful crown at the top of the porcine heap in the U.S., as home to roughly 3 million wild pigs. The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) places the control rate to maintain wild pig populations at 66%. In stripped-down parlance: Texas needs to remove approximately 2 million wild pigs per year to keep 3 million wild pigs on the landscape...

Melrose Air Force Range: more than a training range

Melrose Air Force Range is not only Air Force Special Operations Command’s only training range used to train our special operations teams, but it is an environmental preserve as well where NRI implements passive automated monitoring systems for T&E species research.

SARA Student Internship Announced

The San Antonio River Authority Internship was established in 2012 and is awarded to a highly motivated outstanding undergraduate student of a Texas institute of higher education. This internship is designed to provide an individual interested in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, other Natural or Environmental Science an opportunity to intern with the San Antonio River Authority Environmental Sciences Department in San Antonio, Texas. Applications close February 28, 2019. 

NRI publishes Development of Multispecies, Long-Term Monitoring Programs for Resource Management

There's growing interest among resource managers to implement long-term wildlife monitoring. The process to develop such a program for your land, as you might guess, can be daunting. So, we set out to build example programs for land managers specific to their objectives—one requiring the most amount of effort, and one requiring the least amount. You decide!

January Conservation Matters hits the stands

In the January issue, we start the year off announcing a new interactive webpage for one of our projects, diving into the story behind multi-species management and celebrating youth education workshops for local students. Subscribe here to stay in the know on all things moving the needle for research-driven conservation.

December Conservation Matters is here

In the December issue, we're revealing more information for landowners reporting on wild pigs, recapping influential events and updating readers on a few impactful conservation projects. Subscribe here to stay in the know on all things moving the needle for research-driven conservation.

Seen Any Wild Hogs Lately? Tell the State

KETR: The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute is making it easier to report wild hog sightings in the state. The NRI has a new webpage where Texas residents can provide details of how many hogs they saw, where they saw them, and what kind of damage the animals cause – such as crop or fence damage, wallowing, or rubbing.

Wild Pig Fall Season Newsletter

This edition discusses aerial gunning as a tool for wild pig control as well as available options for Texas landowners and wildlife managers. Also addressed is research related to various baiting and head gate options for trapping wild pigs.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and partners announce 2018 Bats for the Future Fund

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the Avangrid Foundation, Southern Company, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, announced the 2018 round of funding for the Bats for the Future Fund. Four grants totaling $1.1 million were awarded to prevent and slow the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS), advance management tools and treatments to minimize WNS, promote the survival and recovery of WNS-affected bats, and support innovative research leading to lasting management solutions.

Longing for Longleaf: A Tale of Forest Restoration

Several SERPPAS partners appear in the Fall 2018 edition of The Longleaf Alliance’s The Longleaf Leader, “Longing for Longleaf: A Tale of Forest Restoration.” The article focuses extensively on how partnerships between conservation groups, state and federal agencies, and private landowners are working together to restore an important endangered ecosystem, as well as why this successful model of cooperation can be used for other at-risk habitats.

SERPPAS Circular Newsletter September/October is published

The SERPPAS Circular is a bimonthly collection of media coverage, funding opportunities and upcoming events/webinars from SERPPAS Partners across the Southeast. Updates are collected from websites, press releases, and newsletters, and organized according to the focus areas outlined in the 2018 – 2020 SERPPAS Strategic Plan.

Texan by Nature October Round-Up

Highlighting conservation efforts and events from across the Lone Star State, October's newsletter includes NRI in a momentous month for conservation. See the more than 20 feats happening right now in Texas.

Bigger isn’t always better for agriculture

NRI serves integral role for Sustaining Military Readiness Conference

In August, members of the NRI policy team attended the 2018 Sustaining Military Readiness Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference, sponsored by the Department of Defense and held for the first time since 2011, was designed to provide a forum to encourage beneficial discussions and connections with thought-provoking panel sessions and workshops to support the future of military readiness through partnerships and planning.

Showing off our mussels with AgriLife Vice Chancellor

Vice Chancellor Dr. Stover, who joined Texas A&M in March and was also sole finalist for director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, met with Dallas Center and NRI leadership late August on a two-day tour of the construction and integral initiatives within the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas. 

Skype A Scientist program lets NRI research associate connect to new audience

What are bat wings made of? How are bats different from birds? What is the oldest bat in the world?

These were some of the questions Melissa Meierhofer, research associate with Texas A&M AgriLife Research based in College Station, was asked recently by a third-grade class at Wells Elementary School in Wells, Nevada, during her first Skype a Scientist experience.

NRI's Addie Thornton honored with two challenge coins

While coordinating the SERPPAS Principals meeting in May, Colonel Schuliger, Commander of the 96th Civil Engineer Group at Eglin AFB and Mr. Tad Davis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and current DoD Principal Co-Chair for SERPPAS, honored Addie Thornton with two challenge coins for her work coordinating SERPPAS, and for the successful tour of Eglin Air Force Base.


NRI's Findley Brewster named U.S. Army Distinguished Quartermaster

Lieutenant General Jeffrey Buchanan Commander, U.S. Army North and Fort Sam Houston presented NRI's program manager Findley Brewster with the Distinguished Quartermaster award for lifelong support of the U.S. Army, military personnel and military families. The Distinguished Quartermaster program recognizes the efforts of private citizens in the communities surrounding Fort Sam Houston for enhancing the quality of life for soldiers and their families. 


NRI supporting statewide pollinator initiative

NRI partnered with other organizations like the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Texas Wildlife Association to promote statewide land stewardship by launching a new campaign themed The Importance of Pollinators to Soil and Water Conservation in Texas.


Quail Decline Initiative April newsletter is here!

In the Quail Decline Initiative April newsletter we look back on a successful Fort Worth Quail Appreciation Day and share our new resources that will help you learn more about a lesser-known Texas quail species, the many plants that quail utilize for food and shelter, and how to conduct spring call counts with our video of the month. Coming up: Dallas Quail Appreciation Day in May!

April Conservation Matters is here!

In the April issue, we recognize the winners of the 2018 Texas Environmental Excellence Award in education, reflect on a year of accomplishments in our 2017 Annual Report, and highlight new resources about the importance of soils, irrigation, and riparian restoration in land stewardship. Also included are updates from our partner organizations and plenty of upcoming events you won't want to miss!

March Conservation Matters is here!

In the March 2018 edition, read about Texas' first federally endangered mussel species and what it means for the future of freshwater mussel conservation. Save the date for several upcoming programs and learn more about the economics of hunting, urban growth in Texas, and a talented wildlife artist taking up her mentor's mantle.

Dallas Center scientists study Texas' first federally endangered mussel species

Texas A&M AgriLife scientists are working to better understand the ecology and taxonomy of Texas freshwater mussels. These mussels play critically important roles in freshwater ecosystems and have beneficial impacts on human health, making them a high priority for conservation. Fifteen species have previously been classified as "threatened," and now one--the Texas hornshell mussel--is officially listed as "endangered."

February Conservation Matters is here!

In the February 2018 edition, read about a treasured herpetology tradition, how Kirby the quail is helping youth learn about stewardship, a few honorable mentions including an induction into the Texas Conservation Hall of Fame, a new generation of natural resource heroes and much more!

Texas Landowner’s Guide to the Endangered Species Act Published

Listing an animal or plant as “threatened” or “endangered” under federal law can impact the lives of landowners, ranchers, and farmers. Unlike states where much of the land is publicly owned, Texas is roughly 97 percent privately owned. For this reason, successful conservation efforts in Texas require private landowners and government agencies to work together.

Stewards of the Wild in Bryan/College Station

We're excited to announce that Bryan/College Station is home to the newest Stewards of the Wild chapter!

Stewards of the Wild is a young professionals program supporting the mission of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. With member-led chapters in major cities throughout the state, Stewards of the Wild engages 21 to 45-year-old outdoor enthusiasts by providing exclusive access to Texas’ great conservation heroes and success stories. Every day, Stewards of the Wild across the state are connecting with thousands of their peers and building a community built on a shared love for Texas’ wild things and wild places.

December Conservation Matters published

Scroll through NRI's story map on the habitat requirements of Texas quails, learn about wild pigs and mast crops, read the latest report on habitat modeling and conservation of the Western Chicken Turtle and get to know the art behind bat science coming soon!

Published: Habitat Modeling and Conservation of the Western Chicken Turtle

The Western Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia miaria) is considered rare and declining throughout its range, although no population surveys have been conducted range-wide. Uncertainty regarding population status and perceived threats to habitat convinced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider Endangered Species Act protection for the subspecies. The goal of this study was to inform the listing process by describing the biological and conservation requirements for Western Chicken Turtles.

Texas Master Naturalists connect on conservation of quail and other Texas wildlife

The Texas Master Naturalist Meeting was a great opportunity to connect with people who are passionate about the conservation of quail and other Texas wildlife and to build awareness for upcoming events like Urban Quail Appreciation Day and Quail Masters 2018. Members had a chance to meet Kirby—some for the second time—and learn more about the assessment of fine-scale vegetation selection by northern bobwhite quail in Texas. 

Fall Wild Pig Newsletter is Here!

In this sixth issue, landowners will learn about wild pigs and mast crops, view the best of the wild pig photo and video contest, read about the origin of the wild pig species and get a peek at trending articles and videos. 

Carter Smith talks about the Impact of the Texas Farm & Ranch Lands Conservation Program, Texas Agricultural Land Trust

In this Texas Agricultural Land Trust video, Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department explains the impact of the initial round of funding used to conserve working agricultural lands through the Texas Farm & Ranch Lands Conservation Program which provides grants for paid conservation easements to private land owners.

Fall Wild Pig Newsletter is Here!

In this third issue, landowners will learn about white-tailed deer management with considerations for wild pig control, read about considerations for the ethical harvest of wild pigs and get a peek at trending articles and videos.

Who’s been sleeping in my cave?

Researchers studying the impact of small mammals on cave habitats with endangered invertebrate species got a prickly surprise when they discovered large numbers of porcupines parading in and out of dozens of caves in the San Antonio area.

Three Military Bases, Ranges Added to Sentinel Landscape Partnership

The U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD), Agriculture and the Interior today announced the addition of three military bases to the Sentinel Landscape Partnership, a conservation effort begun in 2013 to improve military readiness, protect at-risk and endangered species, enhance critical wildlife habitat and restore working agricultural and natural lands in the Southeast and Midwest.

Spring Wild Pig Newsletter is Here!

In this first issue, land stewards will meet the Wild Pig team, read the seasonal spotlight, learn about new Wild Pig continuing education courses and landowner cooperatives, hear about upcoming programs and much more...

Partnership provides agricultural landowners conservation assistance in Nueces River Basin

Agricultural landowners and land managers in the 15-county region of the Nueces River basin have the opportunity to receive technical and financial assistance to help protect, improve and enhance their agricultural lands. Through this conservation stewardship, landowners will reduce runoff from their land and helping improve the water quality and quantity that flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

Testing the toughest plants for drought tolerance

A nine-month drought of epic proportion begins Saturday. This one, however, is restricted to a small plot of land in southern San Antonio that the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) uses for research. When the scientific findings become available about a year from now, they should be a boon to home and business owners who want lovely landscapes that require little or no watering.

Lead vs. steel? It's a draw in dove study shootout

Results released this week of a multiyear, peer-reviewed research project, conducted in Texas, indicate dove hunters using shotshells loaded with lead pellets enjoy no advantage in effectiveness over those using shotshells firing non-toxic steel pellets of similar or slightly larger size.

Conserving private lands conserves water

Former President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson once said: “Saving the water and the soil must start where the first raindrop falls.”

In Texas, where about 95 percent of the land is privately owned, and 83 percent of that land is rural farms, ranches and forests, it is essential that all Texans understand the interconnection of land and water to ensure the healthy stewardship of both, according to natural resource professionals.

In Perfect Harmony: Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg covers over 160,00 acres and is home to over 57,000 military personnel. If you think extraordinary training and military readiness are incompatible with a environmental protection and sustainability, think again. At Fort Bragg, the longleaf pine forests are flourishing and the training has never been better. Exploring North Carolina will show you this great American conservation story.

Mussels Matter: Research team increasing knowledge of mussels, txH2O

Though zebra mussels in Texas give mussels a bad name, other freshwater mussels are welcomed and needed in Texas waters.

Invasive zebra mussels, first confirmed in Texas in 2009, are causing major economic and environmental damages to Texas reservoirs. But unionid mussels, a family of freshwater mussels, are important indicators of water quality and stream health and play an important role in freshwater ecosystems, according to Dr. Charles Randklev, research scientist for the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR).

Prescribed fire community of practice goes live

Most plant communities across North America are adapted to fire, and many plant and wildlife species are dependent upon fire for their survival. Fire suppression following European settlement in North America has caused these areas to dramatically change. Grasslands and prairies are being invaded by trees; savannas and open woodlands are becoming closed canopy forests; and prairie birds are declining with some species now threatened or endangered. It is critical that fire be restored to create and maintain the conditions necessary for the survival of our native plants and wildlife. Prescribed fire, sometimes also known as controlled burning, is the way land managers safely and effectively get fire back into these natural areas.

Clean air, clean technology take hold in South Texas

Increased production and economic stimulus are two of the most talked about outcomes emanating from South Texas' Eagle Ford shale. Given the arid region, water management has become a top priority for both operating companies and community stakeholders. In states where drilling activity is a fairly new commodity, hydraulic fracturing garners most of the attention. In the rapidly developing South Texas Eagle Ford, air quality is on the minds of both regulators and companies working the play.

Turkey hunting: What the biologists can teach you

A new generation of wild-­turkey researchers is seeking to answer questions about turkey population declines, habitat preferences, and geographic distribution. Their findings will influence turkey management for decades to come. But hunters can learn from them right now about where and how to hunt our most evasive gobblers.

Prescribed Burning School dates set for 2013

The Academy for Ranch Management has set the dates in 2013 for their annual Prescribed Burning School and Advanced Prescribed Burning School at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research-Sonora Station located on State Highway 55 between Sonora and Rocksprings.

Texas A&M IRNR researchers give presentations on GCWA research

The 2013 Golden-cheeked Warbler Symposium was held on January 25, 2013 in Austin, Texas, and was hosted and sponsored by Biodiversity Works. The symposium was also sponsored by Bandera Corridor Conservation Bank, Texas A&M University Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, and Zara Environmental LLC.  The following is the list of presentations given at the 2013 Golden-cheeked Warbler Symposium.