Red Dragonfly - Neon Skimmer

Published 9 December 2022

Red Neon Skimmer sitting on a branch.Spotted! This Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis) was spotted here in Austin! A native to Texas, the neon skimmer can also be found around the Southwest including Arizona and Southern California.

How Plants React to Storms

Published 9 December 2022

As rain runs off our rooftops and streets, it drains down into the stormdrains and is directed to the streams. This rush of water swells the stream which can then overtop the banks of the stream channel and flow into the riparian zone. The roots of the vegetation along the channel and banks help hold the soil in place and prevent erosion. As large volumes of water inundate the perennial plants and grasses, the weaker plants bend over and blanket the soil.

How Structured is Your Lake?

Published 9 December 2022

Habitat=more fish

In aquatic systems, an important component of the ecosystem is the type and abundance of “habitat” present. Habitat, also referred to as “structure”, are things such as submerged aquatic plants, emergent aquatic plants and floating periphyton, overhanging trees, and large woody debris. These components provide the materials, surfaces, and niches upon which algae and microorganisms colonize, insects can feed and breed, and small and large fish can spawn, feed, hunt, and hide. Together, habitat supports, diversifies, and enhances the food web of aquatic systems.

Growing a forest helps mitigate climate change

Published 9 December 2022

Austin’s Grow Zones are beginning to transform into urban forests and aid in carbon sequestration.

Our Grow Zone program began in 2012 in about a dozen parks. The creeks were mowed all the way into the channel, like this photo of Bartholomew Park in 2012.

A creek mowed all the way into the channel.

Barton Creek Wins Again!

Published 9 December 2022

A map fo the Barton Creek watershed.The water quality of the Barton Creek Watershed is the best in Austin as evaluated by the 2015 Environmental Integrity Index. Where does your creek stand?

The Hybombacosm Experiment

Published 9 December 2022

A small-scale lake ecosystem, “microcosm” was designed to learn more about the growth of native cabomba and invasive hydrilla in Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake.

Have you wondered why over a 13 year period Lake Austin would get choked with mats of the invasive exotic plant, hydrilla, yet Lady Bird Lake, just downstream, never experienced a hydrilla take-over?

The Grow Zone Program Keeps Growing

Published 9 December 2022

The Mearns Meadow Grow Zone is a beautiful site and would love to be adopted by you!

The Mearns Meadow Grow Zone at Quail Creek Park.

The Mearns Meadow Grow Zone is tucked away in the southwest corner of Quail Creek Park. This park is adjacent to the Restore Rundberg neighborhood revitalization area and has recently been the focus of Keep Austin Beautiful’s Beautify Austin initiative.