This past year we completed Phase 1 of our Water for Wildlife initiative and secured funding to begin work on Phase 2. The Water for Wildlife project allows us to provide clean water year-round to wildlife that live in or visit Circle Acres. The project also established a low-tech irrigation system and a means to distribute water around the preserve. Last year, Planet K generously provided the seed money to start this project. This allowed us to manage water from our seeps and springs so that we could better utilize this precious resource. We diverted the spring water that had been pooling and soaking underground through the contaminated landfill cap to a series of troughs and storage tanks that act as biological filters. The biologically cleaned water then flows to an in-ground pond at the edge of our intermittent wetland. In dry times, like this past summer’s drought, the pond serves as a vital water source for area wildlife. Trail cameras captured numerous birds, deer, raccoons, coyote and fox using this water, as well as, a bobcat and some feral hogs. The pond also provides a great method to help control mosquitos. When the rains return, and the wetland refills, the native gambusia in the pond are able to escape back into the wetland. The population of mosquito larva-eating minnows quickly rebound and help control the mosquitos as well as feed the heron, egrets, kingfishers, and turtles.
We have already begun Phase II of this project, funded by the new Texas Environmental Fund. This stage will focus on removing rubble and debris from the springs and provide the materials to distribute the water to troughs in other parts of the preserve for wildlife to use. We also want to thank the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Texas Wild and Native Nursery for donating hundreds of native plants. We are quickly establishing food and habitat for the growing diversity of wildlife found on site. We thank Planet K and The Texas Environmental Fund for allowing us to pursue this innovative solution to addressing ground water contamination and provide clean drinking water to wildlife.