Websites Purpose

The Blanco Water Atlas:

The Blanco Water Atlas is a new, web-based information system and first ever biological summary of a unique river in Texas. This website was designed to provide a crucial overview of: native and naturalized exotic species; vertebrate and invertebrate animals; wildflowers and aquatic plants; and terrestrial and aquatic environments.

Information was compiled through partnerships with groups, agencies, and individuals active in the biology and conservation of the area. Advice and assistance were sought from of members of USFWS, TPWD, TCEQ, the Department of Biology at Texas State University, eBird of Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Nature Conservancy, Plateau Land and Wildlife LLC, and three citizen science groups: the Texas Master Naturalists, Texas Stream Team, and the Wimberley Birding Society. Information was also obtained from student theses as well as published articles and scientific papers.

Purpose of this Website:

This website provides knowledge about the environmental resources in the Blanco watershed so that they may be appreciated. The information presented is valuable to land owners, children, educational groups, visitors, bird watchers, hikers and other community members. A land owner may access this site to identify a bird in his back yard or to determine if a plant growing beside the creek is native. Students may utilize this site as a resource to identify characteristics about the geology and species in their neighborhood. Local educational non-profits, such as RavenStar Outdoor Education and its partners, have pledged to utilize this website to complement their nature based outdoor education for children and adults.

The Atlas will be used to catalyze and catalog efforts in conservation and serve as a platform to inspire landowners, naturalists, and citizen scientists to pursue further, more in depth studies, such as bird surveys and population estimates. The Texas Stream Team will include the Blanco Atlas as a resource for its local citizen scientists to identify, geo-locate and log fish, insects and plant species as indicators of water quality and ecosystem health.

This information is also a valuable resource for local decision makers who may not have a thorough understanding of the biodiversity they are trying to manage. Finally, it is hoped that this website will be expanded to become a repository for collecting information and data that will be important in determining changes to habitat range and other factors that affect biodiversity.

Watershed Characterization Model:

This report was auto-generated by the Watershed Characterization (PDF) Tool (reports). Approximately six months of effort were devoted to the development and modification of the Watershed Characterization Tool for the study area. Utah State University’s WRIA- Decision Support System (DSS) provided the framework for the development of this tool . The WRIA- DSS includes three large models- surface water quality, surface water quantity, and instream flow/fish habitat, in addition to other functions. The result is a simulation model with a user-interface that can analyze water quality and quantity data, display data, and create scenarios. However, since the WRIA-DSS was developed for watersheds in Washington State, most of the code was rewritten to fit the geographic focus of this project. Annual climate change, annual stream flow change, impervious land cover, and well maps are examples of data and information added to the original watershed characterization tool. Graphics and tables were generated at the sub-watershed level, and data was assembled from various sources. The Watershed DSS Figure (JPEG) shows the interface of this tool.