Articles

Ecological RestorationEnvironmental Education and Interpretation

Spicewood Ranch After 23 Year of Restoration: What we Have Accomplished and Learned

When restoration on the 1200 acre Spicewood Ranch started in 1988, the vegetation was typical of much of the Texas Hill Country. Most of the palatable native grass species were gone or greatly reduced with KR bluestem dominating, and the surviving forb and woody plants were reduced to unpalatable species such as Mexican hat, horsemint, live oak and Texas persimmon. Restoration practices, including controlled burns, cedar removal, deer reduction, high…
David Mahler
October 24, 2016
Ecological RestorationNative LandscapingParks and PreservesPonds and StreamsWater Quality

ESC Water Quality Projects

ESC Leading Numerous Water Quality Projects in Austin’s Urban Core Over the past three years Environmental Survey Consulting (ESC) has engaged in numerous projects along Lady Bird Lake and contributing creeks, all of which serve to stabilize vulnerable riparian slopes, catch and treat runoff from impervious cover, and slow down and dissipate storm flows to reduce flood severity. By using the principles of ecological restoration on these projects, ESC is…
Stan Wilson
June 15, 2016
Ecological RestorationEnvironmental Education and Interpretation

Spicewood Ranch Field Trip

Since 1988, Environmental Survey Consulting (ESC) has been conducting active habitat restoration of the 1200 acre Spicewood Ranch.  On May 14 2016,  David Mahler led a tour of almost 40 people to explore areas of management success, including prairie restoration, woody species propagation in cedar (Juniperus ashei) breaks, and balancing deer browse pressure with revegetation efforts.  Prairie restoration strategies included controlled burns followed by seeding with commercial and wild-harvested native…
Ingrid Karklins
June 15, 2016
Ecological RestorationEnvironmental Education and InterpretationNative Landscaping

Palatabilty Ranking of Texas Native Plant Species for Deer

A Palatability Ranking of Central Texas Hill Country Forb and Woody Plant Species for White-Tailed Deer David Mahler has ranked central Texas hill country forb and woody native plant species on their ability to survive white-tailed deer browse pressure. Species ranked 1 can survive under very high browse conditions while species ranked 5 can only survive under very low browse conditions or in protected areas. As an interesting note, some…
David Mahler
February 10, 2016
Native Landscaping

Six Native Texas Plants That Can Tolerate Flood And Drought

Six Native Texas Plants that Can Tolerate Flood and Drought Texas weather can be fickle to extremes, especially when compounded with global climate change and changes in storm patterns. In the past year Central Texas and the southwest experienced both extended drought and historical flooding resulting in altered landscape conditions. ESC has observed a few plants in both our residential landscape projects and ecological restoration efforts that have achieved a…
Stan Wilson
February 3, 2016
Environmental Education and Interpretation

Engaging Volunteers

Engaging Volunteers for the Environment Austin is fortunate to have a community of active, environmentally and socially responsible people ready and willing to donate their time to meaningful projects that improve our health, education, and quality of life. ESC has been involved in many projects over the years that involve volunteers, but maintaining and rewarding the interest and enthusiasm of volunteers can sometimes be a challenge. ESC has been able…
Stan Wilson
October 8, 2014
Environmental Education and InterpretationNative LandscapingNaturalistic Hardscape

AISD’s Wildlife Habitat Demonstration Garden

 AISD's Wildlife Habitat Demonstration Garden Approaches One Year Anniversary This coming May, ESC will mark the 1st anniversary of completion on a key project in the local wildlife habitat restoration movement.   On May 16, 2013 AISD's Wildlife Habitat Demonstration Garden officially opened to a well attended crowd of volunteers, sponsors, workers, teachers, parents and children. The garden was a project of the National Wildlife Federation and AISD, with generous…
Stan Wilson
May 6, 2014
Native Landscaping

Alternatives To Turf Grass

Given the challenges with the persistent drought and the concern about using too much water, many people are considering getting rid of their lawns.  ESC encourages people to reduce water usage in their landscapes.  (See our previous blog post regarding ideas for responsibly modifying an irrigation system.)    The issue of water is real, and it’s expected to become more pressing in the future.  While the latest rating by the…
hscreative
March 22, 2013
Native Landscaping

Cutting Down Your Home Water Consumption

Water is on most Austin-area residents minds these days.  With decreasing supply due to drought, increasing demand due to population growth in the area, and rising rates for water due to  over-burdened water utilities, we face a formidable task to assure that we will be able to access reasonable amounts of water moving forward.   Many interested parties are looking at what can be done to conserve water, and one…
Field Guy
March 1, 2013
Native Landscaping

Water Conserving Landscapes Using Native Plants

Realizing that your landscape requires a lot of water when a drought arrives, is similar to seeing that your roof leaks when it rains. Intelligent people not only repair the damage caused by the leak, but fix the roof also. So, what are you planting now? When I design a planting project I use the plant species that are native to the part of the state that I am in,…
Stan Wilson
March 1, 2013