Brett Johnson

 
Park Maintenance Services
Title: Urban Biologist
Phone: 214-671-1293
Brett Johnson


What is an urban biologist? That is a question I have been asked many times over the last 12 years. It’s a question that is sometimes hard to put your finger on an exact answer. In many ways, an urban biologist is highly specialized wildlife biologist whose specialty is being highly adaptable to the situation at hand. The urban biologist has to have the knowledge and skills of a traditional wildlife biologist, but also an understanding of working through multiple concerned audiences found in large cities. Instead of working with one owner of a large piece of property, the urban biologist deals with smaller acreage with many stakeholder interests. With that said, let me introduce myself as the Urban Biologist with the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department.My name is Brett Johnson. I grew up I the DFW area, and graduated from Irving ISD. I developed a passion for conservation while in the Boy Scouts, where I earned my Eagle Scout. Through scouting, I worked six summers as a program counselor during the summer. Two of those summers I was the Nature-Ecology Area Director. During this time period, I developed an appreciation for snakes. I went on to work at Philmont Scout Ranch for 4 summers as the camp’s Bear Researcher. Bears and bearconservation became my personal passion, and I learned a lot about working with various groups. Between summers, I was at Texas A&M University earning a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, and later an MS in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Tech University. Throw in some time working in the Florida Keys with the endangered Florida key deer, and working on post-fire restoration at PhilmontScout Ranch, I was all set to become a horseback wildlife biologist in Alaska.Then things started going another direction. In 2004, I was hired as an Urban Wildlife Biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. For 11.5 years, I covered roughly the eastern half of the DFW Metroplex. This is where I learned that an urban biologist is a highly specialized generalist. New opportunities and challenges were always popping up. It was my job to learn the basics of an issue/situation, and either tackle it myself, or connect the dots of people that could. Many things could be handled through simple educational efforts, so I average 50+ presentations a year. Over those 11.5 years, I am probably most well known for dealing with coyote and cattle egret issues. But I was also highly involved in prairie management at White Rock Lake, urban feral hog management, the recent DFW urban bobcat study, pollinator conservation, water quality improvement, and Citizen Science efforts. My favorite function was working with the Master Naturalist volunteer program.In November of 2015, I came to the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department. My technical title is Senior Environmental Coordinator, also known as the “urban biologist”. I will be working with the Parks properties to improve wildlife habitat through a number of goals and objectives. A major function of this position is the development and implementation of a “Natural Resource Management Plan” for the Parks and Recreation Department. Some key components of that plan are: implementing a feral hog trapping program to reduce feral hog damage on parks properties, get a restoration program in place for the unique blackland prairie remnants at White Rock Lake,conducting an inventory of natural resource assets within Dallas Parks properties, and increasing pollinator conservation areas around the city. Many of these objectives will be achieved through Citizen Science and volunteer efforts. I will be holding a number of training and outreach events to teach volunteers identification, survey techniques, and invasive species control. Watch the Dallas Parks website for updates from me on assorted wildlife, habitat, and ecology related topics.
I look forward to serving and working with the citizens of Dallas. Please contact me with any concerns you may have relate to wildlife, or wildlife habitat in general. 

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