We are Dean Hendrickson, Adam Cohen (both in the Biodiversity Collections of the Department Integrative Biology) and Mary Poteet (Department of Geological Sciences). This project, funded by the UT Green Fees Program (as "Waller Creek Biodiversity & Sustainability: working group and archive"), is developing a digital and publicly available archive of all research and information relevant to the Waller Creek watershed, focusing primarily on UT campus but extending throughout the drainage. The compiled archive will be permanently maintained and kept accessible by the UT library's Texas Scholar Works. We anticipate it will become an important asset relevant to decision making for for the University and city.
Already the creek is visited by UT classes and is a subject for study by UT researchers, but information derived from those classes and researchers is often not formally published and often held on personal computers or as paper copies not available to the public. Much information has certainly been lost. Imagine one place where anyone could go to learn about all that is known about Waller Creek. Since new science builds on existing research, by making all of these products available we expect to greatly facilitate new research and teaching opportunities. Waller Creek will thus effectively become an accessible teaching and research field laboratory right on the UT campus.
We will be compiling a list of interested people, and then from those, will convene a much smaller Waller Working Group to assist us find resources and develop a plan to go forward after funding ends to continue promoting the long term sustainability of the Waller Creek ecosystem.
An additional, but critical goal is to document the biodiversity of the watershed with photographs and museum specimens. We will be organizing at least two survey events when we will be preserving museum specimens to be deposited in Integrative Biology's Biodiversity Collections and promoting use of iNaturalist to invoke public participation (citizen science) in developing a photo-documented biodiversity database for the watershed. We will be involving grade schools and UT students, faculty and staff, as well as others, in these surveys.
If you would like to be involved in any way please contact us. Perhaps you know of data resources (your own or from others) and/or want to be involved in biological surveys. Please let us know via our "Communicate with us" tab.
This is an ongoing project, started in September 2015, funded by UT's Green fee program.