The last several weeks have been busy with time spent getting to know each other and Waco; familiarizing ourselves with the job, and planning conservation projects.
Getting to know a new city has been fun for all of us. We have visited the Waco library, tried several popular local eateries, and have found Cameron Park is thus far the coolest part of living in Waco. Whether its taking a long walk down one of Cameron’s scenic trails during the day or attending one of the park’s live music events by night, everyone on the team has found something to enjoy there.
We have all gotten settled into our strange new apartment. It is a converted oﬃce building so architecturally speaking it’s a little quirky, but very spacious and next to the pool which is nice on those hot survey days.
We have had several interesting and productive conservation days since our last entry. We made our ﬁrst visit to the local recycling center, where we met the center’s super nice crew. They know who we are now and help us unload and sort our refuse.
The team traveled south to San Marcos, Texas for an interpretive visit to the San Marcos River. The team went on a glass bottom kayak tour of Spring Lake, headwaters of the San Marcos River. The lake is crystal clear and is fed directly by the Edwards Aquifer You can see the bottom of the lake, the spring openings, and all the plants and ﬁsh that live in it, hence the use of glass-bottom kayaks. We also took a tour of U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Aquatic Resource Center (ARC), which is essentially an endangered species hatchery. The ARC studies the aquatic endangered species in Texas and develops technology that will support captive spawning and reintroduction of those species. We got to see to many endangered or threatened plants and ﬁsh while there. Stacy’s favorite was the blind salamander. All in all we were all impressed by how important and unique a resource Texas aquifers are.
Another conservation day was spent participating in a workshop to get certiﬁed as Citizen Scientist by The Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council (TIPPC). This allows each member to individually document and report the locations of invasive species found anywhere in Texas. The collected data is submitted and complied by TIPPC on their web site http://www.texasinvasives.org/. After the training we all went to one of our survey sites and submitted our ﬁrst several observations to TIPPC.
So far Adam and I are here in New England surveying just as usual. Our lakes are fantastic and offer a plethora of opportunities for exploration of the natural resources they offer. A rare glimpse into how the Army Corps of Engineers manage the lakes and the surrounding ecosystems. In general I ﬁnd that this work with the Army Corps of Engineers has given us a great opportunity to work in a controlled outdoor setting where we can see the just how our contributions are paying off.