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Posts tagged ‘texas heat wave’


Current Community Science Projects


The Arlington Archosaur site is closing for the remainder of the summer (as is usual) — in August it’s just Too Darned Hot to dig.  They will return later in the year.

Trinity River Audubon Center’s Third Thursday will have Frogwatch, Amphibian Watch, and National Phenological Database expedition as well as a Chimney Swift watch and possibly an Owl Prowl (whew!)  This time we’ll also be doing a “transect survey” for dragonflies.

Botannical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) has an ongoing need for volunteers to help with their databases (indoor work!) and do some field research.  Contact them for details.


GENERAL EDUCATION, public welcome

Connemara Conservacy has an astronomy walk (August 18th) and an evening Open House (September 23.)  See website for details.

The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center has a First Saturday Walk & Talk Bird Tour.    9:00 – 11:00 am; $10 includes admission if you’re not a member; $5 for members.

Botannical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)’s Science Saturday – open plant ID, exhibits, demonstrations, tours, etc First Saturday of every month at  10:00 – 2:00.  This is a fun place to visit, even if you’re not really into plants.



The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center is planning to start some Citizen Science initiatives in the near future.  I will be in a planning meeting about this effort at the end of August.


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Defining Dallas: Does Drought Increase Acid Rain Effects?

     Acid Rain was one of the big “bugbears” of my youth — a keyword that caught our attention along with pictures of dying trees.  Legislative action in the 1970’s (reinforced by the Clean Air Act) helped turn things around, and ponds and lakes began recovering.  Acid rain was an issue of the past.


We’re in the middle of a second year of drought here in Texas, and the drought monitor shows that we haven’t had enough rainfall to make up for the deficits. I’m watching the ponds dry up again at Trinity River Audubon Center and am setting up some trees as monitoring stations to start making measurements of just how much trouble the vegetation is having.  If the research published in the journal Water Resources Research, Charles Driscoll of Syracuse University and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Hubbard Brook Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in New Hampshire is indicating a trend, counties suffering from the drought are soon going to be hit with a double whammy when the rains return.

Photo of a stream with boulders in the streambed.

New England’s ecosystems have rebounded from the disastrous situation of the 1950’s only to be faced by issues caused by today’s higher atmospheric carbon dioxide level and its atmospheric fallout.  Warmer temperatures and an increase in carbon dioxide is changing the pattern and quality of water in forested areas, and a model used by Hubbard Brook predicts that snowfall at Hubbard Brook will begin later in winter, snowmelt will happen earlier in spring, and soil and stream waters will become acidified — and we’re back to the Acid Rain problem again.

Here’s the kicker: In scenarios that look decreases in summer soil moisture due to shifts in hydrology (as in, “drought”), the end result is further acidification of soil and water.

Last year, I saw crusts of salt along the ponds here in Dallas as they dried out.  I’m not seeing that yet, but the report suggests to me that it might be a very good time for an increase in citizen science monitoring of our waterways.  Fellow Texans interested in this can contact the Texas Stream Team.  I’ll be getting training for this sometime in the near future, so it may be added to the Trinity River Audubon Center’s Third Thursday Science Programming.

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Related Websites
NSF LTER Network:
NSF Hubbard Brook LTER Site:
Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability NSF-Wide Investment (SEES):