How Micro-Flora & Fauna Contribute To Water Quality | Texas Public Radio

How Micro-Flora & Fauna Contribute To Water Quality

Sep 7, 2016

They may be small, but micro flora and fauna play a significant role in the ecosystem of Texas waterways. At the Texas Water Symposium on Thursday, September 1 in Kerrville, a panel of educators, researchers and ecologists shared their insights on the impact of human development on these small creatures, and explained their role in keeping our rivers and streams healthy.

In the audio, you’ll learn in detail:

  • Why our waters aren’t murky with fish poop. (Hint: small microorganisms help break down any potential buildup.)
  • Whether it’s safe to drink water from streams, rivers and lakes. (It won’t kill you, but it’s not recommended.)
  • The impact of pollutants on fresh-water mussels.
  • The difference between urban and rural fresh-water quality, animal and plant life.
  • All about brain-eating amoebas. They're scary--but very, very rare.

Good advice: Don’t swim in where the water maintains a generally warm temperature, and “don’t swim in water with a lot of algae, or funky smelling water,” says Tara Bushnoe, Natural Resources Coordinator at the Upper Guadalupe River Authority. She adds that the UGRA is happy to run basic tests on surface water in any swimming hole, or in well water on private property. You can bring water samples to them for analysis.

L to R: Tara Bushnoe, Ryan Caesar, Mary Ellen Summerlin
Credit Nathan Cone / TPR

The panelists:

  • Robert Howells, Retired TPWD, author of “Freshwater Mussels of Texas”
  • Mateo Scoggins, Ecological Service Restoration Practitioner
  • Tara Bushnoe, Natural Resources Coordinator, Upper Guadalupe River Authority
  • Ryan Caesar, Professor of Invertebrate Biology, Schreiner Univeristy

Moderator: Mary Ellen Summerlin, Former Director of Headwaters Groundwater District