Make a Splash with Brazos Basin New Year's Resolutions

Make a Splash with Brazos Basin New Year's Resolutions

As the calendar prepares to turn its page once more, the tradition of making New Year's resolutions is back on the table. Resolutions can be anything from the pursuit of health and wellness to the quest for personal growth. Whatever you choose to resolve, you'll find some are easier than others. 

Whether you make annual resolutions or simply set some goals for the year ahead, we have some suggestions that you're welcome to add to your own.

Catch a sunrise or sunset on Possum Kingdom Lake from one of the many hiking and bike trails. Possum Kingdom Lake has 16 miles of hike/bike trails containing 21 scenic overlook points where you can watch the sun set or rise. Numerous trailheads throughout the system allow you to make your pursuit of that perfect beginning or end to the day as short or long as you please. The online map of the hike and bike trail system can be found here

If you do catch a sunrise or sunset, don't forget to take a picture and send it to information@brazos.org so we can share the beauty.

Don't release aquarium pets or plants loose in the lakes or rivers. There could be adverse effects if pets or plants are placed in non-native bodies of water. Since most aquarium fish are tropical, they are not native to Texas' rivers and lakes. Without natural predators, many become invasive and are very difficult to remove once they've been introduced to the environment. 

Instead of releasing the fish or transplanting the plant, you could give it to a hobbyist who would enjoy it or check with your local pet store or zoo to see if they're able to receive it. You can find additional tips here if you happen to find yourself with an unwanted fish or aquarium plant.

Check your water heater for calcium buildup. Calcium buildup can reduce the efficiency and lifespan of your water heater. Calcium is a mineral frequently found in Texas' water sources that is sometimes referred to as hard water. Flushing your water heater annually can help to remove calcium buildup, extending the life of your water heater. To prevent calcium buildup, keep the water temperature in the range recommended by the manufacturer. Sometimes, investing in a water softener can also prevent buildup.

Catch a rainbow trout or spot a Golden-cheeked Warbler. The end of the year and the beginning of the next offer great opportunities to catch a rainbow trout. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) stocks trout in various locations throughout the basin until March 1st. You can check out their schedule and locations here

The Golden-cheeked Warbler is one of the endangered species found in the Brazos River basin. There are various times throughout the year that make finding a Golden-cheeked Warbler a little easier. They breed exclusively in Central Texas and begin nesting in March. They raise their young into the summer months before migrating back to Central America during late July, or early August. See if you can catch a picture of one this year!

Xeriscape your yard. Using native plants appropriate for your location is environmentally friendly and can save you money on water expenses. It's a great way to reduce water use, support local wildlife and reduce runoff from harmful chemicals. Visit here for a list of drought-tolerant plants to use in your area of the Brazos River Basin. 

Leash train your new puppy. BRA parks offer great outdoor spaces and hiking trails for those wanting to become one with nature. Why not venture out with your best friends to a BRA park and enjoy the great outdoors together?

To keep your bestie safe, please remember to use a leash. Parks and boat ramps are active places for cars as well as local wildlife. Also, please remember that lake water is not treated. Allowing your pet to drink from areas that appear stagnant or that have algae growth could cause them to become sick or worse. For these reasons and for the safety of others, all BRA properties require dogs to always remain leashed.

Train your pup early and they won't mind being on the leash while you keep their precious life safe! 

Photo submitted by Kaitlyn Stinson

Have you caught a fish lately? Resolve to catch that elusive "big one" this year. Honestly, aren't all anglers trying to catch the next big fish? Whether you're looking to beat your longest or heaviest catch, you have an entire year to work on it. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department maintains a list of record-setting catches along with locations. If you think your catch is one for the record books, visit here for submission rules and instructions on how to submit your catch.  

If you have a property that borders a waterway, consider allowing for more natural growth at the edge of the water. Leaving vegetation to grow naturally at the water's edge will help to prevent erosion and loss of soil on your property. It also provides an environmental benefit to beneficial insects and wildlife. It also slows the transfer of pollutants by naturally filtering runoff that can potentially cause harm to aquatic environments and pollute our drinking water. 

Learn where your water comes from and who treats it. It's important to know where your water comes from and how it is cleaned to make it consumable. Both depend on your location. Your water could originate from surface water, like a nearby river or reservoir, or it could come from an underground aquifer through a well. Water sources can vary, and they will be different for various geographical areas. 

The State of Texas requires all water providers to inform their users where their water originates. This information can usually be found on a provider's website, in an annual newsletter or on a water bill. It can also be obtained by contacting your water provider. 

When it comes to clean water for municipalities and water districts, local water treatment plants will do the work. However, if you live in more rural areas where water is sourced through a well, there's a good chance your water is being treated at the source. The Public Utility Commission of Texas provides a water and sewer viewer, which allows you to see detailed information about water sources. Keep in mind that the best way to ensure clean tap water is to keep pollution out of source water in the first place.

Talk to your employer about ways your organization can be more water-smart. Water conservation is not only important around your home but also in places of employment. Companies tend to be big water consumers. Talk to the appropriate people within your company to suggest that they find and repair leaks or toilets that continue to run. Ask them to set landscape watering to the early or late evening hours to avoid the hottest parts of the day. 

Xeriscaping is another good practice for businesses to use to conserve water and reduce energy costs. For a complete list of water sense at work tips from the Environmental Protection Agency, visit here

Break all your New Year's resolutions and don't feel guilty. Strive to improve, but don't feel guilty if you don't meet or complete the resolutions you set. But remember, there isn't a better place than the Brazos River Basin to give your New Year's resolutions a try! Happy 2024!