Drought Survival Kit Hits the Web

As Central Texans try to cope with the driest year in history, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is stepping in to help homeowners.

Native plant outside Texas Parks and Wildlife headquarters (Erin Cargile/KXAN)

Native plant outside Texas Parks and Wildlife headquarters (Erin Cargile/KXAN)

Wednesday, they turned a website devoted to water conservation into Drought Central.

“It’s important that we all understand what we can do to make a positive difference,” said Tom Harvey, spokeman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Plant and wildlife gurus poured their expertise into a Drought Survival Kit where homeowners can find answers to three common questions:

  • How to help wildlife
  • How to save your yard
  • How to cut your water bill

The website stresses the importance of replacing “water hogs,” such as non-native grass, with drought-friendly plants that need less water and provide food and shelter for wildlife like birds, bees and butterflies.

The TPWD did such planting outside its Austin-headquarters. A variety of native plants are blooming where grass used to grow.

“The flowers are great food for hummingbirds and great food for butterflies,” said Mark Klym, a biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife who heads up the Texas Wildscapes program. “These plants are watered once a week. My own wildscape I water very, very rarely — only when the plants absolutely need it.”

The agency says 30 percent of municipal water is used on lawns and outdoor landscaping.

Many homeowners also want to help out wildlife that may be struggling to find food and water in the wild. Providing food for deer, raccoons and coyotes will only cause problems.

“Generally, you don’t want to feed wildlife or allow them to get human food and associate people with a meal because when you do that you create a nuisance,” said Harvey.

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