Keeping it wild.
We all play a part in preserving this fragile ecosystem – from the plants and animals that call it home to the visitors who enjoy the untamed forests and natural trails. Healthy water, soil, air, and plant life are critical in keeping this habitat healthy for all species, including the rare and endangered plants and animals found here. We can’t do it without your help!
What can you do? Practice The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, follow preserve rules, stay on marked trails, and consider joining our team as a stewardship volunteer. Email us to learn more about current opportunities.
It’s also helpful to understand the difference between a park and a preserve. While the primary goal of parks is providing recreational opportunities, preserves are focused on natural resource and ecosystem protection.
Wild Basin staff seeks to to preserve the land in its natural state, increase knowledge about preserve protection through education and research, and increase appreciation through light usage of its trails for hiking.
The inspiring bigger picture.
Did you know that Wild Basin is part of and serves as a gateway to the magnificent and much larger Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP)? The BCP is one of the nation’s largest urban preserves, covering more than 32,000 acres – about 50 square miles. The BCP is dedicated to the protection of endangered species, including the golden-cheeked warbler. It was created to make up for other habitat that was lost, so it can never be developed and will continue to be managed as a preserve in perpetuity.
Land stewardship at Wild Basin is overseen by Travis County Natural Resources to ensure protection of endangered and rare species covered by the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan.
Stewardship of our land, water, and skies.
Here are some highlights of the stewardship work at Wild Basin:
MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE SPECIES - Think about it. Plant and animal species that are native to an area have co-evolved over centuries -- which means they support each other very well. For example, a native tree might provide food and shelter for hundreds of species, while a tree that is non-native/invasive might support only a few. Another important benefit is that, unlike invasives, native plants provide food and shelter for all life stages of an organism (e.g., caterpillar to butterfly).
Non-native invasive plants spread quickly, choking out native plants that support our local wildlife. Some are even dangerous to wildlife, like heavenly bamboo, whose berries contain cyanide and are poisonous to birds and other animals. Consequently, areas with more non-native/invasive plant species have fewer species of birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.
That's why we monitor for invasive species on the preserve, and remove as many as we can.
How you can help - Because the seeds of invasive species can be carried great distances by birds, water, or the wind, it helps to remove non-native invasive plants from your yard. Visit TexasInvasives.org’s spotlight on the Texas Hill Country for more information about invasive species and LBJ Wildflower Center for information about native plants that make good replacements.
MONITORING WATER QUALITY - If you’ve ever visited Wild Basin, it’s likely you appreciate the beauty of Bee Creek. Our efforts to keep the water clean and preserve that beauty include regular water quality monitoring. We measure data such as water temperature, fecal coliform, pH, dissolved oxygen, and nitrates to assess threats and impacts to water quality. These threats originate from sources such as fertilizers, herbicides, sediment, and nutrient pollution such as septic leachate.
We also work with our preserve neighbors to monitor Bee Creek sediment levels, which can increase due to soil erosion in surrounding areas. Too much sediment can lower oxygen levels and increase algal blooms in the water, harming plants and animals living in and around Bee Creek.
How you can help - If you live along Bee Creek and would like to learn more about how you can help us monitor water quality, email us. Visit this LCRA webpage to report or learn more about water quality issues in our area, and consider joining LCRA's Colorado River Watch Network.
PROTECTION OF NIGHT SKIES - Did you know that light pollution obscures the stars, causing migratory birds and monarch butterflies who navigate by the stars to lose their way?
At Wild Basin, we’re partnering with the International Dark Sky Association and Hill Country Alliance to protect our night skies.
How you can help -
You can turn off outdoor lights during migration periods. Visit the Lights Out Texas webpage to learn more. You can also do what we’ve done at Wild Basin, which is to install lighting that offers security but doesn’t harm birds and butterflies. To get started, just download this PDF.