Balcones Canyonland Preserve protects endangered species Community Impact (Austin) Written by Rachel Youens Thursday, 24 April 2008
As he hikes through juniper and oak trees in the warm spring sun, Bill Reiner is looking and listening. He’s hoping to see a flit of yellow through the trees or hear a bird’s song. Reiner’s office is a 100-acre plot in the Balcones Canyonland Preserve, and he is charged with recording the number of endangered golden-cheeked warblers and other threatened birds in the preserve.
For the past twelve years, the City of Austin and Travis County have worked together to protect one of the regions most environmentally sensitive areas, cobbling together property to form the Balcones Canyonland Preserve. Every spring, biologists from the citys Wildlands Division like Reiner enter the field to ensure the preserve is accomplishing its mission to protect the species native to the Northwest Austin preserve.
“The preserve’s endangered Karst invertebrates are more difficult to monitor because they’re so elusive, a very cryptic species.” Rowin said. “They’re very difficult to find, and the numbers that you find are usually just in the single digits. You usually don’t find many in any one particular survey, so it’s actually hard to track their population.”