Texas Parks & Wildlife Suffer From Drought
September 22, 2011 12:08 PM   Subscribe

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department maintains a Flickr account with a wide range of pictures from the state. Two of the more recently posted sets show the extent of the drought Texas is currently suffering: Bastrop Fire and 2011 Texas Drought.
posted by monju_bosatsu (24 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, these are incredible. Thanks for posting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:14 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

OMG, the poor fish!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:15 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

You mean Rick Perry didn't solve this problem, what with the praying and all? In ancient times there were usually unfortunate consequences for chiefs and witch doctors who failed to deliver on promises backed up by religion, but these days you can just blame prayer's lack of results on heathen liberals making God angry and ruining it for everyone else.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:27 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Houston may lose 66 million trees to the drought. Houston's 663 million trees "remove over 60,000 tons of air pollution per year"
posted by IanMorr at 12:27 PM on September 22, 2011

posted by tippiedog at 12:27 PM on September 22, 2011

I didn't know about the Flickr stream -- this is cool. I've got a lot of friends at TPWD, one of which is now a ranger out at Devils River SNA. They just added a huge tract to the park that's not open to the public, yet just up stream from here. It's desolate, but beautiful country.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:46 PM on September 22, 2011

Meme-style, via reddit: Texas Fry.

In Dallas, at least, there are dead trees everywhere. Thank goodness we're finally getting some rain.
posted by zylocomotion at 12:47 PM on September 22, 2011

Houston is almost 27" behind in rainfall this year, plants and trees are dying all over. And I just scheduled someone to repair my foundation, another expense I didn't need.

Ah well, at least the humidity has been lower, nothing to evaporate into the air.
posted by beowulf573 at 12:47 PM on September 22, 2011

@zylocomotion - braggart@ No rain to speak of yet in the Austin area.
posted by tippiedog at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2011

Not sure how that second @ got in there.
posted by tippiedog at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2011

Along all the highways in Houston and some of the larger exchanges, nearly all the trees planted in the last few years have died. It seems the young pines were especially hard-hit.

Thanks for these photos!
posted by resurrexit at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2011

Houston's 30 out 31 days of 100+ degree weather in August was statistically a 1 in 10,000 year event. This drought is expected to persist for ... well, a long time. No one knows for sure how long.
posted by PapaLobo at 1:34 PM on September 22, 2011

The Bastrop fire was huge. Here's a pic my Pa took. That's Highway 71. There were two separate fires in Bastrop County, the Union Chapel fire, and the much larger Bastrop Complex Fire. A ton evacuations. Over 1400 homes lost and tens of thousands of acres burnt. Entire subdivisions wiped away. Loss of human life was minimal, thankfully, but that's a lot of people without homes. From what my parents told me, in the start the fire departments really couldn't do anything because of the high winds. They could only evacuate and protect a few buildings. When the winds died down a couple days later they were able to focus on containment.

I don't live there anymore, but seeing the damage to Bastrop State Park is... well, I don't have adequate words words for it. It was a beautiful place, and I hope it will become beautiful again.
posted by Mister Cheese at 1:52 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

My wife and I are renting a house in NW Houston and our homeowners organization sent a letter to our landlord warning us about our yellow lawn and that there might be fines if we didn't maintian it properly. I do see some nice green lawns around us but it's only through extensive manual watering they they keep it this way, which is time consuming and can be terribly wasteful.
posted by WerewolvesRancheros at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2011

We've watered as much as we were allowed under stage one restrictions (just wet to stage 2 on Sept. 1) and our 20-year-old magnolia tree is stone dead. Our neighbor is a renter who didn't water at all, and her (I'm gonna guess 50 year-old) Spanish oak is dead as a doornail, too. Austin so far has had 84 days above 100, and we've got more on tap this week. The drought has been utterly brutal by any measure, and there's absolutely no end in sight. Bastrop State Park is pretty much a total loss, I'm sad to report. I haven't driven out there yet, but 95% of the acreage has burned, I believe. It won't be the same in our lifetimes, if ever. If the drought keeps up, the mesquites, ashe juniper and prickly pears will be the first species to invade, and it'll turn into typical burned-out Texas scrub land. I Wish I could find a reason to be more optimistic, but I just don't see an end to this. I mean, tomorrow's the equinox and all, but damn, it just keeps coming.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:47 PM on September 22, 2011

On the upside, no hurricanes or mosquito's this year!

But seriously, this sucks. I live next to a bayou that has dried out completely (normally a couple-three feet deep). There are the remnants of freshwater clams 8-12 inches across scattered across the dirt. Given how long it takes for those to get that big, if it ever does rain it's going to take a long time before this ecosystem returns to normal.
posted by Runes at 3:56 PM on September 22, 2011

I mean, when the 6 o'clock newscasters are on TV shaking their heads and tsking how it's too bad that the hurricanes are turning away from our coast, you KNOW it's BAD.

please send hurricanes.

Love, Texas.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Hello global climate change!
posted by zia at 4:17 PM on September 22, 2011

I hovered over the National Hurricane Center's website all summer long hoping that a storm would come our way. There were wildfires within a mile of my house. I lost half of my plants. I'm kinda ready for autumn.

Still, the noveau riche in my neighborhood labor under the impression that their McMansions are palatial estates that are deserving of lavish foliage and copious sprinkler time. With that and all the damned broken water mains from the drought induced ground subsidence, it's a wonder that the local reservoirs are down more than they already are.

This is all Rick Perry's fault, of course.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have watered my (smallish) lawn the two days a week I was allowed with no guilt whatsoever. Not so much for the grass, but because I wanted to try to keep *some* moisture around the foundation. Stupid clay soil. This summer has been brutal, and it's beyond depressing that this drought isn't supposed to let up anytime soon.

I don't even know what "normal" feels like anymore after this summer down here.
posted by Salieri at 5:24 PM on September 22, 2011

This has been the worst summer in my entire memory in Texas. Things catch on fire if you sneeze on them, and the heat was in triple digits for something like 90 days. It's so dry that the coast actually evaporated an entire tropical storm (Don) before it had a chance to get inland. I can't find the cite now, but I read someone with the National Hurricane Center saying that they had never observed anything like that before.
posted by Gilbert at 7:10 PM on September 22, 2011

I've lived in Texas most of my life. I grew up loving great thunderstorms. I remember the first (and only) thunderstorm that happened during the few years I lived in San Francisco -- people were plastered against their windows watching the lightning and rain. I remember ridiculing them for marveling at something so common as a thunderstorm.

I can't remember the last time I saw such a storm in Austin.
posted by sanko at 9:28 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Being originally from piney-woods east Texas, and now living in Austin, Lost Pines in Bastrop was my favorite nearby campground. It was absolutely beautiful out there, and the smell of a pine forest is second to none. Sadly, only 100 out of 6000 acres have survived.

I just hope the pine isn't replaced by cedar.
posted by blendor at 10:49 AM on September 23, 2011

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