Tag Archives: conservation

College Park Prairie in Deer Park

I used to drive by this site and not know the significance.

Good news! An amazing prairie remnant has been found in Deer Park. It is called the College Park Prairie, named after an adjacent elementary school. This is a 53-acre prairie pothole remnant with a full complement of pimple mounds and potholes. It supports an array of wildlife that includes pocket gophers, unusual and often elegant insects, grassland birds including Henslow’s, Le Conte’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, and nesting Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes.

Go read the rest of the post at Save a national treasure | Native Plant Society of Texas.

An Embarrassment Of Riches…Blowing In The Wind

Wind power generation in Texas is growing so quickly that it is testing the limits of the state’s electrical grid. The state set a record on March 5 when wind turbines generated 6,272 megawatts of energy, or about 19 percent of the electricity on the state’s main power grid. That peak far exceeded the 6.2 percent average for wind power in Texas, whose 9,410 megawatts of total wind capacity make it the nation’s wind power leader. But wind power’s growth poses a critical challenge for the state’s booming wind industry, which includes a 180-megawatt wind farm completed last fall near Corpus Christi in South Texas. On some days wind turbines are slowed or shut down because the state doesn’t have enough transmission wires to send the energy from remote areas, where wind resources are great, to cities that need it, including Dallas and Houston. The state is planning to spend more than $5 billion to expand and update its transmission system.[1]

I guess this could be why I never seem to be charged the contract max on my electrical bill…For those of you still living in the 20th century of utility companies, Texas deregulated it’s electrical markets quite a while back. Sadly the savings promised by competition(at least if you listened to the proponents) never materialized. Texas electrical rates now rank as some of the highest in the nation. With over half of all electricity coming from coal burning facilities, you are offered the option of paying more for “green” energy. We do and since I signed my last two year contract we have never paid the contractual maximum per kWh. While I appreciated the “generosity” of my retail electrical company, I wondered what was causing their generosity…It’s pretty clear that they are able to purchase power at a cost much less than what they anticipated.

It would seem it would be time to update the infrastructure…Wouldn’t it? Just think…we have the capacity to generate more power without degrading the environment at all, yet we slow or stop the generators due to a lack of transmission capabilities. And, as I understand it, there are more facilities coming online regularly.

So…Does this mean more and more of these units will be operating at lower capacities than they are designed for?

[1] Yale Environment 360: Record Wind Generation Tests Texas’s Transmission System.

International Year of Biodiversity

Welcome to the International Year of Biodiversity

You are an integral part of nature; your fate is tightly linked with biodiversity, the huge variety of other animals and plants, the places they live and their surrounding environments, all over the world.

You rely on this diversity of life to provide you with the food, fuel, medicine and other essentials you simply cannot live without. Yet this rich diversity is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities. This impoverishes us all and weakens the ability of the living systems, on which we depend, to resist growing threats such as climate change.

The United Nations proclaimed 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity, and people all over the world are working to safeguard this irreplaceable natural wealth and reduce biodiversity loss. This is vital for current and future human wellbeing. We need to do more. Now is the time to act.

The International Year of Biodiversity is a unique opportunity to increase understanding of the vital role that biodiversity plays in sustaining life on Earth. ~ International Year of Biodiversity.

Here we are 3 months into 2010 and this is the first I’ve heard of this…The International Year of Biodiversity

Humans are part of nature’s rich diversity and have the power to protect or destroy it.

The first thing I have see was an email this morning from the Encyclopedia of Life…

Nearly a decade ago, the United Nations announced that 2010 would be deemed the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). Global biodiversity, or the web of life, is estimated to include 13 million species—only 10% have been identified thus far.

A highlight of the IYB program will be the Tenth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in October, 2010. In addition to establishing goals for post-2010 global conservation efforts, conference participants will assess the international progress made toward conserving biodiversity. ~ EOL Newsletter.

As I read the news each day, it seems I see more and more how the biodiversity of the earth is being threatened by the actions of … Us. Our actions are almost at war with biodiversity, especially here in the United States. Our industrial agricultural practices, our resource “management” practices (mining, forestry, water), even our living habits all seem to be geared toward limiting the biodiversity we encounter. Whether it is our monoculture farms, our clear-cut forests, or even our manmade lakes that inundate thousands of acres of unique biologically diverse waterways, we tend towards destructive use of our environments.

So…I look forward to seeing what this International Year of Biodiversity will bring in the way of focusing our attention on what it is we may be losing if we don’t wake up. I’ll have my eyes open for more news now that I am aware of the significance of the year…

Oh, by the way, 2011 is the International Year of Forests. Start thinking about it now.