by Heather Lowe
In May, the North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group (NAFTRG) conducted turtle surveys in Comal Springs (New Braunfels, Texas) for the second time in 2015. In all, the group has been sampling this site for more than three years now.
During the trip, the weather proved to be a real challenge and made for low volunteer turnout. Despite the fact that it rained much of the weekend, nine dedicated volunteers came out from SWCA Environmental Consultants, Power Engineering, Houston Zoo, and Sea World. On Friday, with only two volunteers in the water because of storms, the team was able to capture and process 127 turtles. The next day, the team was able to add another 176 turtles to the list, representing four species: common musk turtles, Texas river cooters, red-eared sliders, and common snapping turtles. Additional help also showed up on Saturday, thanks to Girl Scout Troop 1187!
Unfortunately, Sunday marked the start of the historic storms that pummeled this area of the state, culminating in some of the worst flooding ever recorded. More than four inches of rain fell on Sunday, making sampling impossible. The normally crystal clear water in Comal Springs was transformed into a torrent of water that looked like chocolate milk.
Due to all of the rain that the area received in May, the Comal Springs flow rate is at the highest stage since we started collecting data here. We are looking forward to our next sampling session in September to observe any changes in the study site due to this incredible weather event. Please click here to learn more about how you can join us!