July 16, 2006
Look! Roadkill!

I love stories like this.

Not many folks like to stick around when the rubber meets the reptile.

But Jim Christiansen sees opportunity in roadkill, not a mess.

Christiansen started the Sun City Reptile and Amphibian mapping project shortly after he and his wife moved to the retirement community in January. He's a retired herpetologist, studying snakes and turtles and other creepy, crawly things that frequent the ponds and sunning rocks of Williamson County.

The project is designed to find out whether Sun City's planned community, which includes natural areas along with well-manicured golf courses, allows local reptile and amphibian populations to thrive.

"As urban areas expand, the natural areas are destroyed at an incredible rate," Christiansen said.

"If you can find a way to have the urban areas and keep the natural areas, that's a win-win situation."

Christiansen gathers turtles, snakes and other animals that turn up squashed on the roads and preserves them to create a snapshot of the animal life in Sun City.

It's easy to crack jokes about stories like this, but I think it's a great idea. We really are putting a lot more people and houses in areas that used to just have animals, and we really do need to have some idea what effect all that has on those animals. If Mr. Christiansen can make headway on that, then good on him.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 16, 2006 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack