TX Parks and Wildlife Evaluation

Wetland Evaluation of Sandia Springs Project

August 29, 2011

District 1 Staff Comments

  1. Allow native wetland plants to grow in 2 of the pools and compare invertebrate abundance with bermuda grass in the 3rd pool.
  2. Additional leveling on the pool floors to increase surface water. The soil that is removed could be used to widen the berms around/between the pools, providing longer life span before needing to reconstruct.
  3. Leaving or creating some deeper areas within the pools to provide water over a much longer period as the pools begin to dry. Bentonite could also be used in these specific low spots to increase water holding capacity.
  4. Kill the mesquite sprouts growing in the pools. Individual plant treatment ( leaf spray with 1/2% reclaim, 1/2% remedy) (2 oz. of each chemical to 3 gal. water) a surfactant should be used to increase effectiveness.
  5. Mow or shred 75% of the vegetation in the pools to improve shorebird use but leave some plant material along the berms to minimize erosion.
  6. Feral hog management may be needed.
  7. Talk to the water board about the possibility of holding the 120 acre/ft that you will soon have access to until you need it for the pools.
  8. Use your remaining water for this year in the (west pool ??) the pool that has not been disc. The pool closest to the parking area may not hold water as well as the pool on the other end.
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New sign

Aug. 27, 2011

David Mainz and David Hedges have install our first sign.

 

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Maintenance Report July 9, 2011

July 9th

8am found the Sandia Wetlands maintenance committee at work in the wetlands. The mission for the day was twofold.  First, install water gate between 1 and 2 areas of the wetland, Second, to spray all grasses and weeds with rodeo.  Members of the maintenance team were Dave Hedges, Bill Broyles, Mike McCollum, Becky Hart, Dave Mainz and Trish Olvera.  Trish brought her husband Jack and daughter Hannah. The maintenance committee was joined by Vegetation Committee member Mary Malmgren and her husband Bob Steele.

Leading the group was Ellen Weinacht and Dave Hedges. Consulting on plants was Linda Hedges.    Tom Harrison husband of Tex Harrison volunteered to help and is seen here spraying weeds.  The second phase of the mission for the day was to install a water gate between wetlands 1 and 2.  This was accomplished with the help of Bill Broyles, Jack Olvera, Dave Mainz and Dave Hedges.  Consulting on plants was Linda Hedges.    Tom Harrison husband of Tex Harrison volunteered to help and is seen here spraying weeds.  The second phase of the mission for the day was to install a water gate between wetlands 1 and 2.  This was accomplished with the help of Bill Broyles, Jack Olvera, Dave Mainz and Dave Hedges.  The gate has ¾ inch slates that will allow fine control of the water level in wetlands 1.

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Water Committee Report June 20, 2011

Calendar for maintaining water levels at Sandia Wetlands

·      August through October is the height of the fall migration for shorebirds in this area.

·      Some birds over-winter and nest in this area, so maintaining water in one of the ponds through the winter would be beneficial.

·      Spring migrations begin in March, and dwindle by the end of May.

·      There is a migratory bird presence throughout the year.  We can use our observations over the next year to fine-tune our water management timing.

WATER COMMITTEE MONITORING REPORT, JUNE 20, 2011, 8:30 A.M.

By:  Observers, Melanie Pace and Madge Lindsay

Water measured at  head of irrigation ditch at the site; we observed the following:

CANAL FLOW: APPROX. 60 gals. per minute

WATER LEVELS:   Unit #1 = 6″ of water (60% water coverage with soils from dried mud to moist soils to wet marsh, to a 6″ pool)

Unit #2 = 4.8″ of water in the pool (20% water coverage with mostly dried mud, moist and wet soils to a small pool with less than 5″ of water)

EVAPORATION RATES: HIGH—Estimated to be about 50%  (temperature highs the past two weeks have been over 100 degrees up to 108 degrees; W/Moderate winds

RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON OBSERVATIONS: Top Priority—–NEEDS MORE WATER

OBSERVATIONS OF:

Vegetation: Mesquite needs control, lots coming back after water recedes

Cottonwood Tree (1) may be dying, others look healthy

Maintenance: Water Measurement gauges are good but hard to read with binoculars from the perimeter and road, Melanie checking into this.

Birds; Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (1)

Mexican Duck (1)

Killdeer (2)

Swallows (? barn or cliff) (6)

Scaled Quail (2)

Lesser Night Hawk (1)

Meadow Larks (2)

Say’s Phoebe (2)

Mourning Doves (2)

Sparrow (sp.) (5)

Butterflys Spicebush Swallowtail (1)

Dragonflys (?) Sp. (5)

measuring flow


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Shout out to Contributors

We have recently added quite a few “authors” to our blog.  I would like to suggest that we place our postings of new information on the home page.  And then plan and create specific committee pages however you like.  I  think it might be easier to read the blog if all the new postings are in the same place.  Do you all agree???

Mary Lou

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The Project

The Sandia Springs Wetlands project came to life when a group of Texas Master Naturalists traveled to Bosque del Apache and Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuges in New Mexico in November of 2010.

Master Naturalists Ellen and Don Weinacht of Balmorhea, TX realized they had both the water and the land that could be used as a location to restore wetlands long lost from the original Sandia Springs. The project is located on Reeves County Road 313 in Balmorhea, Texas.

The Sandia Spring’s headwaters are currently owned by the Nature Conservancy of Texas.
and wetlands once emanating from it have been drained over the years for agricultural use.  But the Weinachts own water rights to both Sandia Springs and (as needed) from Balmorhea Lake,  and water for the Sandia Springs Wetlands project will come mainly from Sandia Springs.

At the annual meeting of Tierra Grande Texas Master Naturalists on June 11, 2011, the members adopted the Sandia Springs Wetlands as a local conservation project with the aim of creating a wildlife refuge in the desert to attract migrating shorebirds.  The project coordinator is Dave Hedges of Ft. Davis.

The layout of the 2 ponds

 

Contact Us:

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Early Days

Sandia site before construction started

Irrigation canal before construction

before the wetlands project, the area was a natural wetlands

birds flying by

 

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Tree Planting June 2011

June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011

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