Dr. Kevin Thuesen, Program Manager with the City of Austin’s Water Quality Protection Lands, talked with KXAN about converting the City of Austin’s wildlands back to their native state. In the video, you’ll learn about prescribed burns on the lands and how native people used the native Prickly Ash or toothache tree.
You’ll also learn about their efforts to get rid of invasive plants like King Ranch Bluestem (KR Bluestem). (Sounds like a job for your friendly-neighborhood Amazing Invasive Hunter Man.)
The Austin conservation wildlands include the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP), which includes habitat for the endangered Golden Cheek Warbler, and Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL) that include lands that help to feed the Barton Springs Aquifer.
Water is so important to Central Texas. The Texas Water Resources Institute describes how protecting our land helps to protect our water. (The Colorado River Alliance also helps to keep the water in Lake Travis clean.)
I’ve had a chance to go on many hikes and volunteer with Austin’s Wildland Conservation Division. Here are a few of the posts on my past adventures on the BCP and WQPL:
- Whirlpool Springs to Life in Onion Creek above Cripple Crawfish Cave
- Adventures with Austin’s Invasive Species Corps
- Insurgent Chinese Privet Attempts Invasive Species Comeback
- Top 5 Invasive Plants Sneaking into the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve
Take a hike on Wildland Conservation Division lands
Spring is the best time to take a guided hike on the water quality lands. Plants are green. Flowers are blooming. Water’s flowing. There’s a lot of life, birds and insects.
Normally, the BCP and WQPL lands are not open to the public to protect the land for endangered species and water quality, but there are many hikes that you can take with experienced guides to enjoy the lands and learn about the diverse plants and animals that inhabit these unique ecosystems.
In the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, April guided hikes include:
- 4/26 – Finding Austin’s Endangered ones
On the Water Quality Protection Lands, April guided hikes include:
- 4/10 – Scenic Springs and Hidden Vistas
- 4/11 – Onion Creek Exploration
- 4/11 – Sunset at Slaughter Creek
- 4/24 – Big Views at Little Barton
- 4/25 – Insect Safari
Sign up for a guided hike with the Wildland Conservation Division.
You can also help to remove the Invasive Star Thistle and volunteer for other activities on Austin Wildland Conservation Lands.
To learn about upcoming events, be sure to join the Wildland Conservation Division email list to get the latest updates from Ms. Amanda Ross, volunteer coordinator with the City of Austin.
I hope you’ll have fun with one of these hikes this spring!