Balcones Canyonlands Project, Notes from ATLAS Crew

February 2020

This week, Atlas Crew worked with biologist Julie Murray at the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. Our objective was to remove a wide variety of invasive species, including chinaberry, tree of heaven, periwinkle, ligustrum, nandina, and others. Due to the return of the golden cheek warbler, we were not allowed to use chainsaws or other disruptive methods that might upset the birds’ migratory behaviors.

Julie taught the crew to recognize the subtle differences between some native and invasive plant species. Her passion for the BCP is obvious, and her knowledge of the local flora and fauna is extensive. Our crew was lucky to get to work with her on this project.

While the progress we made combating invasive species felt small, I know that the work we did this week is part of a much larger effort that will ultimately protect the BCP for years to come.

-Angela Martin

Colorado River Refuge, Notes from Green Crew

February 2020

Hey it’s your crew, Green. Back at it again with another blog post. This week we are coming at cha from the colorado river refuge in Bastrop. Our project this week was to build a fence on the perimeter of the trailhead parking lot as to direct foot traffic to the outlined trail and discourage social trails from being formed.

The week started out great as our crew quickly set to the task. The fence posts were set to be 10ft apart. So 24 holes and a few days later we had built 240ft of fence line. The soil was very soft and made it very easy to dig out the post holes but also made it more difficult to pack down to secure the post. The fence building went so smoothly that we ended up finishing a little early which allowed us to go beyond the original scope of the project and move the trailhead kiosk to a more suitable place. It was very heavy but a good few team lifts got it to where it needed to be. 6 bags of cement and a lot of digging later we had gotten the kiosk secure in its new location which we finished just in time at the end of the week.

We stayed at Bastrop state park and they were wonderful hosts. The bathrooms were so nice that it is worth mentioning here. All and all it was a great first hitch. We had a lot of successes and minimal conflict as we all adjusted to being a fresh and working crew. I think that things will only get better from here on out.