In southern Texas, the lack of free-standing water that results from low rainfall or poor water quality can be deleterious to wildlife. Water quality can deteriorate rapidly due to evaporation during summer in southern Texas, and high concentrations of salts in water can cause physiological distress; however, little research has addressed water quality and needs of wildlife in arid environments. Our objectives were to: 1) establish water use patterns of wildlife during summer, 2) correlate visitation rates to temperature and rainfall events, and 3) monitor water quality in earthen stock ponds and concrete troughs during summer. We recorded visits to water by 17 species of wildlife and cattle. Cattle, feral pigs (Sus scrofa), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) had peak watering times that differed from one another. Track surveys showed a generally negative correlation between rainfall and wildlife watering frequency. Troughs had significantly higher total dissolved solids and pH than ponds on both study sites. There was no effect of month on pH or total dissolved solids. Total dissolved solid concentrations for water sources on one study site were fair to excellent for livestock, whereas 2 sources on the other study site approached the maximum allowable limit.
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Vol. 51 • No. 3