NextDecade continues to work diligently towards fulfilling and demonstrating our commitments to the Rio Grande Valley community. These commitments include protecting the environment and mitigating the effects development on our project site may have to local wildlife. NextDecade recently donated $100,000 to TAMUK to fund the Texas tortoise translocation research project, which will be ongoing as the RGLNG project site progresses through construction and development.
The team at NextDecade is working with TAMUK to understand the effectiveness of translocation as a mitigation strategy for Texas tortoises, which are listed as a threatened species in the state of Texas and have habitats primarily located in South Central Texas and parts of Mexico. Translocating the tortoises safely relocates them to a new area outside of their original home range. The study also seeks to determine the Texas tortoises’ movement patterns, detectability, and habitat preference and use in southern Texas.
The study, which is led by TAMUK’s Regents Professor and Chair of the Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences Department Dr. Scott Henke and approved by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) started in 2019 when the “Texas tortoise project team” – consisting of representatives from NextDecade, TPWD, and Gladys Porter Zoo (GPZ) – visited the RGLNG project site to locate Texas tortoises.
“As part of the Caesar Kelberg Institute, we have a graduate student program where students get training to do various types of problem-solving wildlife projects,” said Henke. “It has been a great benefit having NextDecade help us fund this project.”
NextDecade continues to work in cooperation with and under the guidance of TAMUK and TPWD to protect Texas tortoise populations in the South Texas area and develop safe and effective mitigation efforts.