Archive for the 'river access' Category

Texas River Access

Thursday, May 25th, 2017
Tom Birdsong enjoying river access.

Tom Birdsong enjoying river access.

This is Passport to Texas

Legal access to Texas Rivers can be challenging.

Texas is a private land state. Over 95% of the land in the state is privately owned, and that’s reflected in ownership of banks along rivers.

Tim Birdsong is a rivers biologist. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s paddling trails program works with communities to create access to some of the 191,000 miles of Texas Rivers. Currently, we have 70 trails in the system.

Seventy trails, 191,000 miles of rivers—that’s a drop in the bucket. There are lots of high quality river segments that aren’t accessible because of this preponderance of private lands ownership. So, we look for opportunities to bring landowners into the mix, and provide a win-win scenario where we can provide a cost share arrangement; provide payments to landowners to lease private lands for public access to rivers. And this is real similar to our public hunting program that we’ve had in place for years.

This partnership with local landowners allows Texans to more fully enjoy the natural beauty that our rivers have to offer.

We began leasing these private lands for access to bank, wade and kayak fishing in 2012. And now, we’re up to 19 different lease-access sites statewide on 10 different rivers.

Texas Parks and Wildlife seeks landowners with riverfront property strategically positioned to expand current Texas Padding Trails, connect to parks, or provide connections to other public river access areas. Find program details on the TPW website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Working Together for River Access

Thursday, May 11th, 2017
Chandler River park lot.

Chandler River Park. New parking lot for anglers so they have better access to the water. Image from East Texas Woods and Water.

This is Passport to Texas

Chandler River Park on the Neches River is a model for public/private partnerships that provide free access to our state’s rivers, which can sometimes be hard to find.

It’s certainly going to be the model that I’m going to use in the future.

Beginning in 2012, Richard Ott, an inland fisheries biologist based in Tyler, worked with a diverse group of public and private organizations to lease and develop the site.

It was complete in 2013. We then were able to get some additional grants to improve the boat ramp on the south side of the bridge. And then in 2016, with another grant, we were able to put in a kayak launch. So, we’ve also got that as one of our paddling trail locations. So, it’s a really multi-functional location.

East Texas Woods and Water paid for the site’s 20 year lease, says Ott. And TxDOT created safe parking and road improvements. Texas Parks and Wildlife develops sites based on angler input.

This was a location that traditionally anglers had concentrated, and fished on the banks, on all four sides of the bridge. And once we located where the anglers and the fish interfaced, we knew that was where we wanted to develop these access sites.

Find out where Texas Parks and Wildlife has agreements with landowners that allow public fishing and boating access through private property, on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

TPW Magazine – Gently Down the Stream

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Paddling in  Texas

Paddling in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

Photo-journalist, Camille Wheeler, grew up in a farming and ranching family in West Texas, and remains a country girl at heart, despite living in the Capital City since the mid-1990s.

I didn’t grow up around very much water. So, while I was a country girl, I’ve always had a fascination with rivers and streams.

Given her fascination for flowing water, she wondered why she’d never explored Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.

So, about a year ago [in January], I went out—really for the first time by myself—on a kayak, on Lady Bird Lake. And the lake was just filled with all these wintering birds. And the double crested cormorant is one of my favorite birds in the world. There were so many of them, and I could paddle up close to them and take pictures. And I was like: Why have I not been doing this?

She discovered Lady Bird Lake is in Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Paddling Trails Program, which gave her an idea for an article. She shared the idea with TPW magazine’s editor, and the agency’s nature tourism manager.

We came up with this idea of me traveling around the state as a beginner [paddler] who has medium knowledge of birds, and putting the two things together for readers.

Read about it in the March issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. On tomorrow’s show: how Camille Wheeler found the middle of nowhere in the middle of everywhere on an urban paddling trail.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Leasing Land for Angler Access

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
Here's what river access can get you.

Here’s what river access can get you.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife has expanded angler access to some of the state’s 191-thousand miles of rivers through a lease program.

We’re trying to bring in private landowners to help be a solution to open up angler access to rivers.

Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife. Landowners who participate in the program receive monthly lease payments and even funds for site improvements.

Such as trails, or parking areas. If there’s an interest, we support habitat improvements…addressing, sometimes, erosion issues, or maybe loss of vegetation along the stream bank that’s resulting in some kind of bank instability. So, there are a lot of things we can do at these sites to help benefit not just their general management of the site, but also provide for a better user experience.

Birdsong says users ought not to expect a family-friendly parklike setting.

This is more about showcasing a natural, functional, healthy river system. This is for folks that are experienced paddlers, and anglers that really know how to [navigate and] fish a river. Rivers are inherently dangerous and somewhat unforgiving. But we do want to provide an opportunity for people to experience what a natural, flowing river is.

Find more information about the program and river ecosystems on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Landowners Key to River Access for Angling

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Landowners are the key to river access for angling in Texas.

Landowners are the key to river access for angling in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

As 95-percent of Texas land is privately owned, angler access to rivers is challenging.

Our laws are such that many of the larger rives in the state are publicly navigable, so anglers—the public—have a right to recreate in those river segments. But, accessing those rivers is very difficult, because you have to cross land; often that land is under private ownership.

Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife. Through leases with landowners, Texas Parks and Wildlife has expanded angler access along the 191-thousand miles of rivers in Texas.

The program is intended to be a win-win scenario for landowners and for anglers. If they have a property that’s a good fit, and really does expand bank, wade and kayak fishing in the state, and they’re interested in making some money off of that, then what they do is participate in this lease program. We provide some funds for a monthly lease payment. We also provide funding for site improvements such as trails or parking areas. If there’s an interest, we will support habitat improvements.

Angler access improvements in Texas are funded primarily through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.

Find additional information about angler river access and how to get involved in the program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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