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New Evidence COVID-19 Is Widespread In Deer

New evidence COVID-19 is widespread in deer

A new study has found high rates of SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) exposure and active infection among white-tailed deer tested across Iowa. Previously, antibodies detected in deer suggested exposure to the virus, but this is the first confirmation of active infection and deer-to-deer transmission. Researchers at Penn State University also used genome sequencing of the viral samples to learn that SARS CoV-2 reached deer through multiple “spillover” events from humans. There is still no evidence that deer…

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Texas Adopts New Management Rules For Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer

Texas adopts new management rules for chronic wasting disease in deer

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a new chronic wasting disease management rule package  Thursday, regulations mostly geared toward the state’s deer breeding industry. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff believe the update was necessary because the previous CWD rules were deemed inadequate to prevent the transmission of the always-deadly disease in the wake of a recent outbreak in more than 30 CWD-positive deer at seven facilities across the state.   Read more from Matt Wyatt with the Houston…

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Whitetails Go From Gloom To Boom

Whitetails go from gloom to boom

Things were not looking good for Texas’ white-tailed deer population in January with the U.S. Drought Monitor showing more than 90 percent of the state experiencing abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions. Then came winter storm Uri in February with freezing temperatures, snow and ice across much of the state, which continued the shortage of plants for browsing and prompted significant mortality of animals from axis deer to bats, according to a report by Alan Cain, Texas Parks & Wildlife…

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White House To Review Floodplain Building Codes In Response To Petition

White House to review floodplain building codes in response to petition

The White House on Tuesday announced a series of new proposals for climate initiatives, including new building standards for structures in flood-vulnerable areas. In the fact sheet, the Biden administration announced a comment period for an update to the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) standards for floodplains. The last major update to the standards took place in 1976.   Read more from Zack Budryk with The Hill here.

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Return On Investment: How Putting A Dollar Figure On The Value Of Conserved Lands Can Help Save More Of Them

Return on Investment: How putting a dollar figure on the value of conserved lands can help save more of them

The fall issue of the Land Trust Alliance Saving Land magazine highlights recent grants to land trusts for remote monitoring projects, transformative partnerships between land trusts and Indigenous groups and NRI's work to define the economic value of protected lands.   Read more from Brittany Wegner with Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute here.

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River Otters Are On The Rise In Texas

River otters are on the rise in Texas

With their thick, glistening manes, proclivity for play, and taste for crawfish, members of a growing southeastern species are flocking to Texas. And no, we’re not talking about recent graduates of Louisiana State University. North American river otters, which were scarce in the Lone Star State for most of the last century, are on the rebound.   Read more from Laura Furr Mericas with Texas Monthly here.

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Freshwater Mussels In Guadalupe River Could Go On Endangered List Because Waters They Live In Have Changed

Freshwater mussels in Guadalupe River could go on endangered list because waters they live in have changed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed placing six Texas freshwater mussels on the endangered species list and designating nearly 2,000 miles of Texas rivers as critical habitat for them. The Guadalupe River Basin — one of four river basins highlighted by the proposal — is home to three of the mussels: the Guadalupe fatmucket, the false spike and the Guadalupe orb. As bottom feeders, freshwater mussels are vital to the Texas Hill Country’s ecology and food chain.  …

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Loss Of A Fish Affirms Fears About Growth

Loss of a fish affirms fears about growth

A tiny, rare fish found only in a small section of the San Marcos River has gone the way of the dodo. The extinction of the San Marcos gambusia affirms the fears of scientists and environmentalists that mounting development and rapid population growth in Hays County threaten the survival of endangered species as well as the region’s water supply.   Read more from Annie Blanks with the San Antonio Express-News here.

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1,400-acre Development Near Hamilton Pool Ignites Push To Protect Salamander

1,400-acre development near Hamilton Pool ignites push to protect salamander

Austin's Save Our Springs Alliance and a group of environmental scientists have filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Pedernales River springs salamander as "endangered" or "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act. The action is a direct response to the planned 1,400-acre Mirasol Springs development along Hamilton Pool Road and the Pedernales River that encompasses the amphibious species' already ­delicate habitat near Dripping Springs' Hamilton Pool Preserve.   Read more from Lina Fisher…

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Chronic Wasting Disease And Deer Management On Private Land

Chronic Wasting Disease and deer management on private land

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a degenerative, fatal disease of deer, elk, and moose first discovered in Colorado in the 1960s. The disease can be transmitted among animals and over the past 6 decades, the disease has spread to more than 25 states and 3 provinces. There is no effective cure for the disease and so limiting its spread is the best management action. Government agencies act where they can to limit the spread of CWD, but landowners and deer…

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