Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Improving River Flows for Paddlefish and Beyond

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Paddlefish

Paddlefish

This is Passport to Texas

The batteries in the radio transmitters used to track 47 paddlefish reintroduced to Caddo Lake more than a year ago are fading.

06—We’re still tracking some paddlefish, but we know this is about the time we’re not going to be able to track ‘em anymore.

Native to Caddo, paddlefish disappeared following construction of a dam upstream at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

Tim Bister, with Inland Fisheries, says early data suggest changes Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners made to simulate natural river flows and spawning habitat, kept the rare fish in the Big Cyprus Bayou and Caddo Lake system.

21—Having the opportunity to restore a native fish into the system, is certainly a good idea. But, to tie it into more of these natural river flows, and the idea that not just paddlefish—but
many other species—need natural river flows and appropriate spawning habitat, it’s going to benefit those things for rivers in Texas.

Bister says while they’ll continue monitoring paddlefish, the ongoing work is more expansive.

12— We will always be trying to do something in the Big Cyprus Bayou / Caddo Lake system to maintain quality river flow and quality habitat, and to monitor the fish populations.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Revisiting Paddlefish in Big Cypress Bayou

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Paddlefish at hatchery, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

Paddlefish at hatchery, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service


This is Passport to Texas

Paddlefish, once abundant in the Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake, started disappearing following construction of a dam at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

07- So, basically, it took away the flows that the paddlefish need, and it took away their spawning substrate; eventually paddlefish just went away.

Inland fisheries’ Tim Bister says in spring 2014 a broad coalition of non-profits, landowners, and government agencies, reintroduced paddlefish into the system. But they first made improvements to benefit the rare species, including development of natural water releases upstream from Lake of the Pines, and gravel bar spawning areas.

14-We stocked 47 paddlefish, a year and a half old, between two and three feet long. And each were implanted with a radio transmitter, with a specific radio frequency that could be identified by a radio receiver.

Researchers tracked the paddlefish to see whether they would swim downstream over the spillway at Caddo Lake, and into Louisiana.

12-[If they did], they wouldn’t be able to swim back upstream because of that barrier. So, we wanted to make sure, by tracking these paddlefish, to see if they’re going to stay in the system. And after a year, I’m happy to say, that no fish were seen going over the spillway.

The radio transmitter batteries are fading, but the data collected so far is promising. Until the paddlefish reach reproductive maturity, we won’t know if we’ll see a self-sustaining population in Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Restoring Oyster Habitat After Ike

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Oyster Bed

Oyster Bed


This is Passport to Texas

Texas lost 8-thousand acres of submerged oyster habitat when Hurricane Ike blew into the gulf in 2008. Some reefs will restore naturally; other will receive some help.

24- We are trying to accelerate that that recovery effort by putting some the materials down to allow new oysters to settle on. We also worked closely with the commercial industry and got them involved in pulling their dredges up with bags off of them across some of these reefs that were marginally covered up, and to pull the shell back to the surface to provide that substrate for young oysters to attach to and start growing.

Lance Robinson is with coastal fisheries. Ike pushed saltwater and debris 15-20 miles inland, which decimated saltmarsh habitat — habitat that’s a marine nursery for sport and commercial species. Restoration work is ongoing.

12-And it took several weeks just for heavy equipment to get into the marshes to remove the mountains of debris before we could get in and assess what the other impacts were. And at that point it was just gut-wrenching.

As bad as the damage after Ike, Robinsons says it could
have been worse.

13-Both from a human impact and a natural resource impact had the storm tracked a little bit farther to the north. It would have brought the eye farther into the bay, and we would have seen a much more devastating impact.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration project supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hidden Damage from Hurricane Ike

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
Galveston Island.  Steve Alexander, president of Galveston Island SP friends group.

Galveston Island. Steve Alexander, president of Galveston Island SP friends group.


This is Passport to Texas

Few will forget the images from 2008 of the devastation to Galveston Island by Hurricane Ike. Yet, there is Ike caused damage we cannot see.

06- The losses of some of the invaluable habitat associated with Galveston Bay.

Including submerged oyster habitat. Lance Robinson is with coastal fisheries. The hurricane deposited sediment on top of 8-thousand acres of oyster reefs in Galveston Bay. That’s nearly half of the consolidated oyster habitat within the system.

24-That is a huge loss of a valuable resource. Not only from the commercial fishing aspect to it, but for the ecosystem services that they provide that a lot of people don’t really recognize or really see. Such as: water filtration, providing habitat for other fish and crabs and other organisms that are associated with structures. Sort of like an oasis in a desert.

A single adult oyster filters water at a rate of about 50 gallons a day, improving ecosystem water quality.

10-The waste water treatment plants within Houston filter the same amount of water as a hundred and thirty acres of oyster reef; we lost 8-thousand acres of those reefs.

Restoring the reefs–that’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration project supports our series, and funds diverse conservation projects in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Outdoors with Dad on Father’s Day

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
Enjoying the Texas Hill Country.

Enjoying the Texas Hill Country.


This is Passport to Texas

Spend time with Dad outdoors this Father’s Day, June 21.

03-You never know what’s going to happen outside; it’s the wide open spaces.

Ernie Gammage is former Outreach and Education Director for Parks and Wildlife.

10-One of the things that I remember from my childhood is having the opportunity to fish with my dad. And it’s just such a quiet, special time. I mean, I can still visually see everything that we did back then.

Sharing the outdoors with dad on his special day will make lifelong memories.

08-A lot of the distractions of the work-day world, family obligations, and so forth are put aside and it’s just you and somebody that you love, somebody that you respect.

As we like to say: Life’s Better Outside.

12-I think spending time outdoors with your son or your daughter, or whoever it is, is an opportunity, especially for fathers that already spend time in the outdoors, to pass on some of the things they love and value to their kids.

That’s our show, which I dedicate to the memory of my father who during summers when mom worked weeknights, cobbled together picnic meals from leftovers, then loaded his 7 rambunctious kids and a couple of bikes into a station wagon–that had seen better days–and took us to the nearby forest preserve for al fresco dining and exploration. Thanks, Dad.

Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.