- New Biologist Hires - Zara Environmental is pleased to announce the addition of two new employees. In May 2013 we welcomed scientific divers Jimmy MacMillan and David McBee to the Zara team. The addition of two experienced professional scientific divers allows Zara to better meet the underwater survey needs of our clientele, while maintaining Zara’s commitment to scientific research and field safety. Jimmy and David will be spearheading diving operations as well maintaining our extensive professional dive locker.
Jimmy MacMillan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas-Austin in Marine and Freshwater Biology and is a certified commercial diver. He has conducted research throughout the Gulf of Mexico, including projects researching the effects of nutrient input on the Mesoamerican Reef system. In addition to his biological background, Jimmy also spent seven years as a professional diver for the Texas Department of Transportation conducting bridge surveys.
David McBee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He has conducted research off the Texas coast tracking dispersal patterns in the red snapper fishery. He has also conducted research on wetland habitat usage and rangeland niche overlap. In addition to his biological background, David has been a professional SCUBA instructor and diving safety officer since 2007. In that time he has led dive teams throughout Texas and Florida, as well as Micronesia and the Caribbean.
The addition of Jimmy and David underscores Zara’s commitment to providing experienced and professional survey personnel, while raising the bar for adherence to safety standards.
- Zara biologists honored with species epithets - Zara Vice President Peter Sprouse and former Zara biologist Kathleen O'Connor have been honored by the naming of two new Central Texas spider species, Tayshaneta sprousei and Tayshaneta oconnorae. Dr. Joel Ledford of the California Academy of Sciences has reassigned former Neoleptoneta species, including two listed as endangered in Central Texas, to the new genus Tayshaneta, as well as describing ten new species. T. sprousei is known from only two caves in Bexar County, Texas. T. oconnorae is known from only two caves in Hays County, Texas.
- Deer Lane Improvements - Zara Environmental is currently working for the City of Austin to ensure that a mobility improvement project will be in compliance with permitting requirements related to the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Construction activities will improve road alignment, add bicycle lanes and significantly improve traffic flow. Zara’s role is to conduct background water quality monitoring, unsaturated zone groundwater tracer tests, and fauna surveys in three caves near the proposed roadway alignment. The tracer tests will use safe dyes and chemical tracers to simulate how contaminants from roadway runoff might move through the soils and into cave drips and the aquifer. The results of the study will help engineers implement water quality measures to ensure that impacts to the caves, cave fauna and groundwater are minimized. Zara Environmental was selected for this project because of our unique experience with groundwater tracing of cave drips and our expertise in safely working in difficult cave environments.
- May 13 2011- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves the Hays County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan for the golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) and the black-capped vireo (vireo atricapilla). The notice was published in the Federal Register on Friday the 13th, 2011.
- May 2011- The Edwards Aquifer Authority has made available for public distribution the Zara Report Deep Aquifer Biota Study of the Edwards Aquifer.
- October 2010 - Dr. Krejca publishes the description of a new pseudoscorpion species from Yosemite Valley. Read the msnbc.com article on the discovery
- November 2009 - Dr. Krejca examines possible impacts on Cirolanides isopods
- June 2009 - Dr. Krejca featured in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine
- February 2009 - Zara has completed the first field session of a study of pseudoscorpions that live in talus caves in Yosemite Valley. These include at least one new species.
- January 2009 - Hays County has contracted with Zara Environmental to conduct a county-wide survey of karst fauna. The fauna of the county have not been well studied to date, and the results will assist in carrying out the Hays Regional Habitat Conservation Plan.
- August 2008 - Zara Environmental has been awarded a contract by the US Department of the Interior to conduct a survey of groundwater fauna at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Increasing exploitation of groundwater in the region has raised concerns about the possible lowering of lake levels within Wind Cave. Zara will inventory macro-invertebrate and microbial fauna in the waters of Wind Cave and other nearby sites. This will serve as a baseline study to which future surveys can be compared.
- November 2007 - The Edwards Aquifer Authority has awarded a contract to Zara Environmental to study the fauna of the Edwards Aquifer. Here is a link to a KUT radio story on the project. KUT Article Alternate link to Audio file