Past Research

Ecological Impacts of Drought

Research dates: 2014
Investigator(s): Kyle Williams, Mark Shafer

While much attention is focused on agricultural and economic impacts of the drought, less is known about how the drought has affected ecological niches. Attendant wildfires have decimated some critical habitats, such as that needed by the Houston Toad in the Lost Pines area near Bastrop, Texas. The western fringes of the region appear to be undergoing desertification, with large dust storms occurring nearly weekly during the summer of 2013. Other areas face water shortages, particularly along the Rio Grande River and the Lower Colorado River in Texas. This project focused on ecological impacts of drought. Data was gathered through interviews and surveys of area wildlife management officials and through collection of published records from wildlife refuges.