Ryan Blankenship To Speak At May Chapter Meeting: Threats and Pressures to Herpetofauna in Texas

As human populations expand, particularly into the southwestern United States, associated increased resource demands and land use changes will undoubtedly further alter the natural functional processes that shape ecosystems (eg., natural land cover, healthy riparian zones and flow regimes, connectivity and food webs). These changes are exacerbated by the effects of climate change and instability, invasive and introduced species and disease.

Ryan Blankenship, A.W.B.

Ryan Blankenship, A.W.B.

The majority of our native reptiles and amphibian populations have already experienced significant pressures and human induced change. Portions of all major Texas ecosystems have been altered by anthropogenic pressures such as the channelization, damming, dredging and draining of our aquatic resources. The installation of roadways and utility easements such as oil and gas pipelines, water and wastewater lines and overhead utility lines fragment the landscape and isolate wildlife.

Historically, Texas herpetofauna have been targeted by both private and commercial trappers for sale to the pet trade, Asian markets and rattlesnake roundups. This activity still thrives today in parts of the Southwest and are threats to the future viability of our native reptile and amphibian species and has resulted in reduced diversity, density and local extirpation from portions of their historic range.

Short Biography of Ryan Blankenship, A.W.B.

A native Texan, Ryan Blankenship earned his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University, College Station,  and his Master’s of Science degree in Conservation Biology from  the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.  Ryan is a Certified Associate Wildlife Biologist with an interest in restoration ecology and wildlife management.  He has specific experience with resource management on public and private lands both locally and abroad, working with regulatory agencies such as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Ryan has nearly fifteen years of experience handling native Texas wildlife as well as five years of experience with federally listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, wetland and stream mitigation, and environmental permitting with Local, State, and Federally Agencies. Ryan currently resides in Dallas, Texas while serving as a wildlife biologist for Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc.

Date: Wednesday, May 6

Schedule:

6:30 – Meet and eat
7 p.m. – Introduction and Announcements
7:20 -Ryan Blankenship’s presentation
8:45 – Adjournment

Please notice our meeting place has changed:

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center
17360 Coit Rd. (at McCallum Blvd.)
Dallas 75214

Google map showing AgriLife Research and Extension Center

Please consult a map and consider using the Bush Turnpike to get to the AgriLife location. Exit at Coit Road and proceed south one mile to the AgriLife research complex.

We will be meeting in Building C which is the northern most building in the complex. There is ample parking near the building.

The public is welcome at the NTMN Chapter Meetings and as always there is no charge to attend the meeting.

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