Grassland restoration begins at Godwin Ranch

February 25th, 2024 was one of the hottest February days on record in Central Texas, with a high of 86 degrees, but it did not discourage the sixteen volunteers from the Underground Texas Grotto who joined our first workday of the year. Four teams tackled different projects meant to restore the tract to its pre-ranching days. One group planted a native garden of forbes, grasses, and trees, another removed fill from one of the caves, a third team picked up trash along the fence line while a fourth group cleared up a long-dead tree whose limbs had fanned over the entrance of our main cave: Temples of Thor. The brush management effort at Temples of Thor is meant to facilitate the removal of the old gate and overzealous concrete shoring to restore the aperture to its natural dimensions. A bat-friendly cupola gate will take the place of the old gate and should improve the intake of organic debris a cave naturally receives.

The last week of February also marks one month of wildlife camera trapping by Wilco's Nature Trackers on the property.
Thanks to Mike Farley and Chrystle Nations, we have hundreds of photos and videos to help better shape our understanding of GR's animal users. No swamp rabbits or Eastern spotted skunks yet, but a lot of encouraging mammal activity nonetheless: ringtails, gray foxes, coyotes, raccoons, striped skunks, eastern cottontails, deer, a potential bobcat, and surprisingly enough, no hog sightings yet.
As for underground fauna, on top of the usual cave and karst invertebrates, we are happy to welcome a new resident to one of our caves in the person of a Great Plains ratsnake.

We're hoping to spot much more insect and bird activity thanks to the new native garden and see that increase in biodiversity benefit our underground communities in turn.

Publicado el febrero 29, 2024 02:29 MAÑANA por eleonorelc eleonorelc


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