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Volume XXIII, No. 2 First Place, 2000 & 2002!
National Audubon Society
February - March 2005 newsletter contest — large
chapter division

Developing a foundation Note new Chapter Meeting

place - Cowles Life Sciences
For the Edwards Aquifer Bldg, Trinity Univ., Room 149

Aquatic species HCP

Thursday, February 10, 2005
San Antonio Environmental Network Meeting
6:30 p.m. — Social Time; 6:45p.m. — Business Meeting; 7:00 p.m. — Program
Free and open to the public — Cowles Life Sciences Building - Room 149 - Trinity Univ.,
Southwest corner of Hwy 281 & Hildebrand. Take Stadium Drive exit from Hwy 281 N.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority (Authority) has been the Edwards
developing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) since 1999 Aquifer system.
for eight endangered or threatened aquatic species that Rick Illgner,
reside in the Comal and San Marcos springs ecosystems. Program Manager of Groundwater Management Strategies
Both ecosystems depend upon discharges from the of the Authority, will discuss the goals and primary
Edwards Aquifer; therefore, development of a responsible elements of the draft HCP, and Ed Oborny, Senior Fisheries
HCP involves delicate balancing of competing interests Biologist for BIO-WEST, Inc. (consultant on the HCP),
that must be grounded in and supported by the best data will discuss the intensive biological fieldwork, data
and scientific principles. collection, and biologic modeling, as well as implications
During these five years a team of scientists worked to for the springs ecosystems and the Edwards Aquifer
identify the studies required to provide the foundation for system.
a Habitat Conservation Plan. The Authority Board If you’ve ever wondered what role science plays in
authorized the work and developed the partnerships to our everyday lives, this is a good example of its importance.
achieve it. The result is some of the most intensive, Note: the draft HCP is scheduled to be presented to the
systematic biological and hydrogeological work ever on US Fish and Wildlife Service thiss spring.

Thursday, March 10, 2005, Chapter Meeting (same time and place as above)

Deep and Punkin Cave Preserve

Geary Schindel will make a presentation on the Deep biologic community around the entrance area where frogs,
and Punkin Cave Preserve located in western Edwards bats, and cave adapted scorpions have been found.
County, Texas. The 225-acre preserve was recently The property will be managed to protect the surface
purchased by the Texas Cave Management Association and subsurface biologic communities as well as to allow
( with the help of access for recreational caving and scientific study. There
Bexar Audubon and others to preserve Punkin Cave, is a small field station at the site which is used to house
which contains one of the larger colonies of Mexican Free- visitors to the property.
tail bats in Texas. In addition, Deep Cave is 300 feet deep Schindel is the property manager for the Preserve and
and over one mile long, making it one of the longer and is also the Chief Technical Officer for the Edwards Aquifer
deeper caves in the state. Deep Cave is not fully explored Authority. He has been exploring caves for over 30 years
and appears to have been formed by ascending acidic and is also a karst hydrogeologist. A field trip to the site
water. The cave also appears to have a well developed will be announced in the next newletter.
South Texas Farm & Range Forum will be held on Feb. 25 & 26th. Registration Form and information on pages 5 & 6.
Chapter of the National Audubon Society January 16, 2005, recap:
P. O. Box 6084, San Antonio, TX 78209
210-822-4503 Aquifer field trip pix:
GOALS George Veni took a group of about 30
The Chapter’s primary goals are adults and kids on a tour of the aquifer
to promote species and habitat — from where the water enters the
conservation and environmental education aquifer, like this recharge feature, aka
in the community.
‘hole among the rocks.’Site: grounds
OFFICERS of Cave Without A Name, Boerne,
President Tony Wood ....... ( 493-4684 TX.
Vice Pres. Harry Noyes ..... ( . 490-3124
Treasurer Betty Minyard ... ( .............. 344-6128
Secretary Caryl Swann .... ( . 653-2860

BOARD OF DIRECTORS We then visited the aquifer. Instead of

Dean Bibles ......................... ( ............ 698-9264
Susan Hughes ....................... ( .. 532-2332
the Edwards, which has no show
Joe Orr ......................... ( ......... 377-0621 caves, we visited the Trinity aquifer,
COMMITTEE CHAIRS which is also a karst aquifer, similar
Aud. Adven. Betty Minyard ... ( .............. 344-6128 to (and feeding into) the Edwards.
Birdathon Marge Lumpe ... ( ... 545-1822
Conserv. Harry Noyes ..... ( . 490-3124 After going through some spectacular
Program Patty Pasztor ... ( . 824-1235
Memb. ...................................................................... available great rooms carved out by water action
Publicity Harry Noyes ..... ( . 490-3124
SAEN Coord. ...................................................................... available
from this underground stream during
Bexar Tracks Content editor ............................................... available
Editors Jill Sondeen ..... ( .. 830-980-3277
the past 150,000 years or so, we see
Mailing Blair Richter..( . 832-0522 where the current level of the water
table of the aquifer is. Site: Cave
Bexar Tracks is your newsletter. Without A Name, Boerne, TX.
We welcome your contributions.
Printed with soy ink on When the water table is high like it
recycled paper. is after the rains we’ve had recently,
Visit Bexar Audubon’s instead of recharge features, there are
Web Site: discharge features, aka, springs. At the University of the Incarnate Word,
Up-to-date environmental events and calendar George showed us San Antonio
can be found here Springs.He mentioned that during
— check often for news!
summer months of drought years, the
Visit San Antonio Environmental flow from the Olmos Creek — whose
Network’s Web Site: water at that time is coming from urban runoff — actually will flow up
Suggestions and contributions are welcome. the San Antonio River and into the
Please contact Harry Noyes at now dry San Antonio Springs opening, directly into the Edwards
Aquifer... no filtering there!
As we acquire more knowledge,
things do not become more Some karst tidbits:
comprehensible, but • Brazil is a model the U.S. should emulate, according to Veni. Its constitution
more mysterious. mandates that karst get the highest level of environmental protection!
~Albert Schweitzer~ • About 20 to 25 percent of the United States is karst.
***ALERT*ALERT*ALERT*ALERT*** • Many cave species are relics of widespread ancient groups of animals. A
There are several important elections Texas cave creature’s closest relative may be a rainforest species in S. America.
occurring on February 5, among them the • Cave species have value to humans, e.g., bats as insect-eaters or as sources
San Antonio River Authority board of medicine or as indicators of ecosystem health.
election. • Nine Bexar County cave species were listed as endangered by the federal
Please take time to vote! government in 2000.

February - March 2005 2 Bexar Tracks

January 13, 2005, Meeting Recap:

The Edwards Aquifer: A hydrogeological and biological primer

“The best management practice managed — so far — to dilute accessible caves.
is to stay off the karst.” contaminants enough to remain Karst has pores and fractures,
That was the bottom-line below the level that would endanger too, and at any one time, the
message from Dr. George Veni, one people. conduits in the Edwards Aquifer
of the world’s top experts on karst However, if pollution ever gets hold only about 6 percent of the total
aquifers — like the Edwards Aquifer too heavy, San Antonio will have to water supply. But over time, 95
on which San Antonio depends — construct costly treatment plants to percent of the water will move
when he spoke at the January 13 protect its people. through the conduits.
meeting of the Bexar Audubon Authorities try to protect the Conduits are wide enough to
Society. aquifer by plugging recharge allow turbulent flow, and that allows
There may be a “least bad features such as sinkholes, caves, the water to carry contaminants
choice” but the only good choice is etc., when development creates without any filtration effect.
no construction at all. Karst aquifers pollution hazards. Not only does this Furthermore, the complexity of
are just too vulnerable, Veni reduce recharge quantities but, Veni water flow in karst’s myriad
explained. That has been proven by emphasized, it does NOT prevent channels makes it hard to predict
an endless string of bad experiences pollution. where contaminants may go.
on karst aquifers all over the world, “I did an experiment, spraying Conduits have another role.
he said. 6000 gallons of water on a field They are habitat for numerous
“Whenever there has been above a cave,” he said. “The field animal species, many of which have
significant development over karst had no visible recharge features at evolved in isolation within specific
there has been significant all, but by the time I entered the cave karst conduits and thus are rare.
contamination of the aquifer,” he ten minutes later, the water was This has been the root of
stressed. raining into it from the ceiling.” political controversy locally, as
Despite a new meeting site in Microscopic pores exist in all aquifer-management policies have
Trinity University’s Cowles Life parts of the karst, he explained, and been influenced by species survival
Sciences Building, a larger-than- every part of the aquifer is needs as well as human water-
normal crowd of about 50 — vulnerable to pollution, not just the management goals.
including Bexar Audubon members, places with visible recharge features. Ironically, Veni said, if humans
students and general public — were Despite those microscopic seeps, would just manage the aquifer
drawn to the session by the topic and it is the large water conduits that intelligently to ensure sustained
Veni’s expertise. define a karst aquifer and allow it to water yields for human use, species
The program, entitled “The show both rapid recharge and survival would pretty much take care
Edwards Aquifer: A hydrogeological extremely rapid discharges of water. of itself.
and biological primer,” was In sand aquifers, water is packed Only under quite rare drought
supplemented by a Sunday field trip into tiny spaces between sand grains. conditions would any special
to see several springs and other In fracture aquifers, the water is measures need to be taken to protect
aquifer features. found in narrow splits in the rock. animals. But humans and animals
Karst aquifers are the most Karst aquifers offer much larger alike are jeopardized by the reckless,
vulnerable kind because they have holes because they are made of rock every-man-for-himself traditional
the largest holes in them and thus do types that can be dissolved by weak approach to groundwater.
not filter water, Veni explained. Any carbonic acid created when water -Harry Noyes
contaminant carried into a karst absorbs carbon dioxide from the air
aquifer will come out of it in spring and soil. Over ages this chemical
or well water. action makes openings called
Because the Edwards Aquifer conduits, ranging from 5-10
holds so much water, he said, it has millimeters across up to human-
February - March 2005 3 Bexar Tracks
UPCOMING EVENT — February 18 - 21, 2005
8th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count Invites Everyone To Go
Out And Count For The Birds In America's Great Backyard
Cornell Lab of Ornithology and and American Woodcock farther There’s
National Audubon Society Present south, compared with previous no fee or registration. Those who
a ‘Snapshot’ of 2004 Great years. would like to participate but who
Backyard Bird Count Findings. In the West, Mountain aren’t online can try their local
New York, NY, & Ithaca, NY, Bluebirds were reported farther library, and many Wild Birds
Autumn, 2004—Last winter, as part south than the year before, and all Unlimited store owners who are
of the Great Backyard Bird Count, of the rosy-finches (Black, Gray- online will be accepting
bird enthusiasts across North crowned, Brown-capped) were observations made by their
America submitted almost 50,000 documented farther north. In customers. Libraries, businesses,
checklists totaling more than four previous years, GBBC maps of nature clubs, Scout troops, and
million birds of 512 species during Eurasian Collared-Doves, other community organizations
the February count. The event, one introduced in the Bahamas before interested in promoting the GBBC
of the largest citizen-science reaching Florida in the 1980s, or getting involved can contact the
projects in the world, documented showed the species spreading Cornell Lab of Ornithology at 800/
regional declines of the American quickly northwestward. Last year’s 843-2473 (outside the U.S., call
Crow that may be the result of West maps show no change, suggesting a 607/254-2473), 159 Sapsucker
Nile virus in those regions. These slowdown in the rate at which the Woods Road, Ithaca, New York
crows were reported in alarmingly bird’s range is spreading. 14850, or the National Audubon
fewer numbers in Illinois and Ohio, How will this winter compare Society at
where West Nile virus has had a with the last six? What will it or
strong presence, backing findings reflect about our bird populations? (215) 355-9588, Ext 16, Audubon
from the Christmas Bird Count and The participation of novice and Science Office, 545 Almshouse
a winterlong citizen-science expert bird watchers alike will help Road, Ivyland, PA 18974.
project, Project FeederWatch. “This us answer these questions. “We
need every birder to participate Here’s what you do
decrease may or may not be related * Count the birds in your backyard,
to West Nile, but the situation is with us,” said Audubon’s director
local park, or other natural area on one
certainly something we need to pay of citizen science Paul Green. “The or all four count days. You can count in
attention to,” says John Fitzpatrick, Great Backyard Bird Count has as many different locations as you wish,
director of the Cornell Lab of become an important means of just make sure to keep separate records
Ornithology. Crows are very gathering data to help birds, but it and fill out a checklist for each area.
vulnerable to the virus. can’t happen unless people take * Watch the birds for at least 15
Other species showed increases part. Whether you’re a novice or an minutes on each day that you participate.
expert, we need you to help us help We recommend watching for a half-hour
last year during the GBBC.
or more, so that you’ll have a good sense
Participants in the eastern United birds.”
of what birds are in your area.
States counted more Dark-eyed Great Backyard Bird Count: * How to count: For each species, keep
Juncos than they had since GBBC “Taking part in the Great Backyard track of the highest number of individuals
2000, perhaps because of the Bird Count takes as little or as that you observe at any one time. Use a
massive snowstorm that hit the much time as participants wish,” “tally sheet.” Your tally sheet should look
eastern seaboard during the says Green. “The important thing is something like the following: Blue Jay -
weekend of the count, driving birds to just take part, count for the birds, 1, 3, 6, 2, High Count = 6. Be careful not
to feeders in high numbers. That and enjoy North America’s Great to count the same bird over and over!
Backyard.” Don’t add another Blue Jay to your tally
same snowstorm apparently held every time you see a Blue Jay at the
early migrants like Red-winged Instructions for participating
feeder. You could be seeing the same
Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, can be found at individual again and again.

February - March 2005 4 Bexar Tracks

The Sixth Annual
South Texas Farm & Range Forum
Managing to Make a Living:
The Changing Landscape
of South Central Texas
February 25-26, 2005
San Antonio & Jourdanton, Texas
Sandy Oaks Farm, Twin Oaks Water Management Facility, & Jourdanton Community Center
Friday, February 25, 2005 - Sandy Oaks Farm
12:30 pm Registration
1:00 pm Welcome & Introductions
1:10 pm Tour Sandy Oaks Farm
3:00 pm Depart for Twin Oaks Water Management Facility
3:45 pm Tour Twin Oaks Water Management Facility
5:00 pm “Meeting the Water Needs” - Panel discussion with representatives of San Antonio Water
System, Bexar Metropolitan Water District, & Evergreen Underground Water District
6:30 p.m. Dinner

Saturday, February 26, 2006 - Jourdanton Community Center (1101 Campbell Ave.)
7:30 am Breakfast & Registration
8:00 am Welcome & Introductions
8:15 am “Water Rights” - Frank Ruttenberg, Bracewell & Patterson (invited)
9:30 am “The Changing Landscape” - panel discussion with Ann Smelley (educator),Bill
Slomchinski (agricultural producer), and Mike Petter (real estate agent & environmental
11:00 am Update on Water Issues and Ag & Wildlife Valuation - Helen Holdsworth, TWA
11:30 am Questions and Answers
12:00 pm Lunch & Boot Contest
1:30 pm Available Landowner Assistance - Charles Anderson, USDA-NRCS
2:00 pm Nature Tourism - Miles Phillips, Texas Cooperative Extension (invited)
2:45 pm Landscape and Irrigation Conservation - Diane Pfeil, Bexar Met
3:30 pm Questions and Answers
4:00 pm Adjourn
Speakers & schedule subject to change without notice.
Recommended attire: country casual. Layers recommended since the weather is unpredictable & some events will be outdoors.
Questions? Call 800-TEX-WILD (210-826-2904) or email:
To register, complete the following information (PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY) & mail or fax. Early registrations help us plan meals.

NAME:_____________________________________ AC/PHONE:________________________________

FARM/RANCH/ORGANIZATION: _______________________________________________________
E-MAIL: ________________________________________________ PAY BY: ___Check (payable to TWA)
Friday only: ____@ $35 per person ___ MasterCard ___Visa ___ AmEx
Saturday only: ____@ $55 per person
Both days: ____@ $85 per person Card # _______________________Exp __/__
Call for information on student and multiple household discount registrations. Signature ______________________________
MAIL TO: Helen Holdsworth, Texas Wildlife Association, FAX TO: 210-826-4933
401 Isom Rd., Ste. 237, San Antonio TX 78216 Interested in CEUs? ___Yes ___No
Sixth Annual South Texas Farm & Range Forum — February 25-26, 2005
Managing to Make a Living: The Changing Landscape of South Central Texas
Questions? Call 800-TEX-WILD (210-826-2904) or email:

Sandy Oaks

Twin Oaks

Please join us for the Sixth Annual South Texas

Farm & Range Forum. And tell your friends!
It’s a chance for urban and rural conservationists and
landowners to solve problems together.
Wildlife need habitat. Humans need ecosystem services.
In Texas, about 97 percent of land is held privately, so rural communities retain and manage land sustainably and
landowners must engage in conservation, and urban con- support nature’s ability to provide important services for
servationists must work with and support their efforts. people and wildlife. We have a lot in common.
We believe the preservation of Texas family farms and South Central Texas has seen explosive growth and an
ranches is key to developing and maintaining sustainable amazing influx of human residents over the past several
agriculture. Good stewardship ensures the healthy habi- decades. Last year we looked at the challenges of growth
tats and ecosystems essential for a biologically and eco- in the Hill Country. This year our focus is south of San
nomically healthy Texas now and in the future. But, mak- Antonio in areas where soil and water are less scarce com-
ing a living off the land is hard to do. By combining hunt- modities, but fast-moving urbanization is encroaching on
ing, tourism, agriculture, and assistance from government traditionally rural communities. “Bedroom” subdivisions
and private programs, land-owning families can diversify, are springing up in the middle of farmlands, while ranch-
optimize management practices, and improve the chances ers make their biggest bucks off leases for big brush-
of sustaining a family legacy. country bucks, and birdwatchers spend money during the
With 80+ percent of Texans now living in cities, we off-seasons. These and other changes are challenging the
think urban conservationists must make an effort to economic and social fabric of the region.
understand rural issues and urban-rural connections. Our program will address many of these issues and pro-
Urban dwellers must direct their political will to help vide a forum for sharing and discussion.
FEBRUARY 12, 2005 — 10:00am - 12:00pm Texas!
by Peggy Spring
A Regional Summit on
Fins, Flippers, Fur & Flukes! the Edwards Aquifer
EISENHOWER PARK and the Hill Country
March 4-6, 2005
PRESENTED BY Carver Community Cultural Center
“The mission of DARLING CETACEANS is 226 N. Hackberry, San Antonio TX
to educate children of all ages about marine The Greater Edwards Aquifer
mammals, the marine environment and how Alliance invites you to join them to
humans utilize the marine environment….” learn about and help shape the future
Become a walrus, face the dangers of the Texas Hill Country and our
of whales, and explore the ocean’s region’s most critical life support
depths all in two hours. system – The Edwards Aquifer.
Reservations are recommended for this On Saturday, March 5 Hill
event. Please call Natural Areas 210-698- Country conservation and business
1057. This will insure your spot at this leaders, experts and government
event. Walk-ins will be accepted on a officials will review and debate
limited basis. There is a suggested individual donation of $3.00 per individual or $5.00 current land development and water
per family. use trends, planned public
Eisenhower Park, Harris (Mass Pavilion), 19399 NW Military Hwy. Take FM expenditures of billions of dollars in
1535/Military Hwy/Shavano Park exit off Loop 1604 on the city’s northwest side. Go roads, water, and other infrastructure,
north on FM 1535/Military Hwy about 2 miles. Park entrance is on the left, just before and the potential for harm to the
Camp Bullis. The Pavilion is the gated one to the right. Gates open at 9:30am.
Edwards Aquifer, our Central Texas
December 11, 2004, Program recap: Tuna, Nopales and More economy, and our rural Hill Country
We had a fine Second Saturday program on December 11, with 3 children and 16 adults for heritage. Together panelists and
19 participants. Cindy Gonzales, a degreed nurse with extensive knowledge of plant attendees will examine the myths and
medicinal uses and other aspects of plant uses, presented an engaging introduction to explore the alternatives.
ethnobotany. She shared many examples of folk medicine and healing techniques, relating Program
the information to local plant materials. A short hike along the trail allowed the participants Friday, March 4: Building Our
to view several of the plants mentioned in the presentation. Community
2:00 – 5:00 Skill Building Workshops
FIRST SATURDAYS INTERPRETIVE 7:00 Reception with a Special Tour of
the Witte Museum’s Water Works
February 5, 2005 - 9:00am - 11:00am Saturday, March 5: Save the Heart
EISENHOWER PARK - 19399 N W Military Hwy of Texas! Panel Discussions, Key
There’s still a nip in the air; insect galls and bird nests are easier to locate in the Note Speakers
bare branches; the autumn storehouse is shrinking; nature is thinking about waking Sunday, March 6: Taking Action!
up. Come join us at this great Natural Area. Reservations are highly recommended, 9:00 - 1:00 Strategic Planning and
as the hike will not be conducted if there are no pre-registered participants. Call Workshops for Taking Action Locally
210/698-1057. Participants are limited to 15 per hike. For groups of 8 or more and at the 2005 Texas Legislature.
please call to schedule a separate hike. Meet at the restrooms near the parking lot Picnic at the Springs afterwards.
in each park. A donation of $2 per person is suggested. For More Information Contact
FUTURE HIKES GEAA at 210-320-6294 or email:
March 5, 2005 - Friedrich Wilderness Park
PO Box 15618, SA TX 78212.
April 2, 2005 - Walker Ranch
May 7, 2005 - Eisenhower Park

February - March 2005 7 Bexar Tracks

Mark your calendar Bexar Audubon Society, Inc. Non-profit
Feb. 25-26 — 2005 South Texas Farm P. O. Box 6084 Organization
and Range Forum - See pages 5-6 San Antonio, TX 78209 U.S. Postage Paid
San Antonio
Note: This issue covers both Febru- Permit #590
ary and March Chapter Meetings
and Outings. PLEASE SAVE.

Call the Mitchell Lake Audubon
Center at 210-628-1639 for informa-
tion for birding and other events.

San Antonio Audubon Society’s
Beginners’ Birdwalk is held at 8 a.m.
on the second Saturday of each month.
Visitors are welcome. There are
binoculars to lend.
Meet at the Judson Nature Trail
next to the Alamo Heights Swimming
Pool on Viesca St. From the 5900 Earth Share of Texas rep-
block of Broadway, turn west on resents the Audubon
Ogden to Greeley St., turn left one Foundation of Texas and
block, then right again to the parking the National Audubon So- Membership Form
ciety in payroll deduction plans for charitable
lot on the left. More information at giving. For information, call 1-800-GREENTX
Chapter Donation Form
210-342-2073. or email <>. National Audubon Society
Bexar AudubonSociety
Saturday,March 19, 2005 — BEXAR AUDUBON OUTING Membership rates are:
Student/Senior $15 Basic $35
Your chance to see Black-Capped Introductory 1-year $20 (2-year: $30)
Name _______________________
Vireos and Golden-Cheeked Warblers Address___________________________
Although the details are not good chance of viewing these two _______________________________
City______State __ Zip_________
yet available at press time for elusive species.”
Phone: ( )________________
meeting place and time, Marge GCWs are generally located
Lumpe is arranging a field trip to near stands of mature cedar (Ashe Email:___________________________
the Kerr Wildlife Management juniper), in the dense underbrush. For a new membership, mail this coupon
and your check—payable to “National
Area. The purpose of the outing to BCVs are much more abundant Audubon Society, Chapter W19” to:
Kerr would be to hopefully see on the Kerr WMA, with over 420 Bexar Audubon Society
the newly returned golden- singing males documented during P. O. Box 6084
cheeked warbler (GCW) and the the 2002 survey. Males stake out a San Antonio, TX 78209
W19, 7XCH
black-capped vireo (BCV). territory and call repeatedly Opt out for other mailings
According to the website throughout the day to attract By using this form, 100 percent of
( mates and warn off other males. your first year’s dues will benefit the
find_a_wma/list/ For information, call 210-545-
?id=12&activity=wildlifeViewing): 1822, come to the March Chapter For Contributions to BAS: $______
“With a little assistance and some meeting—see page 1, or check out Make your check payable to Bexar
directions, most birders stand a Audubon Society

February - March 2005 8 Bexar Tracks