Archive for the 'SFWR' Category

Wildlife: Prevention of White Nose Syndrome

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Bat with White Nose Syndrome

Bat with White Nose Syndrome, Image © Sweetbriar College. www.sbc.edu


This is Passport to Texas

If caving is one of your pastimes, here’s something you should know: a fungal disease called white nose syndrome has been is killing North American bats since 2006.

07—There are certain caves where bats hibernate where 90 to 100 percent of the bats that hibernate in that cave have died from the disease.

The fungus is also found in European caves though the bats there are essentially immune. This suggests the fungus may have evolved with their bats. Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist, Jonah Evans says researchers speculate people who visited European caves may have unwittingly brought fungal spores into North American caves on shoes or other gear. To prevent the spread of white nose fungal spores by humans…

10— Avoid entry into caves if at all possible, otherwise do a very stringent decontamination and be really careful about getting leaned
up when you leave a cave.

Find decontamination protocol at passporttotexas.org.

So why care? Bats are beneficial agricultural allies, eating tons of insects during their nightly flights, allowing farmers to reduce or eliminate insecticide use on food crops, and save money. They also serve as pollinators of important crops and are just fascinating animals.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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

Wildlife: White Nose Syndrome on the Move

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Bats in a cave.

Bats in a cave. Photo © Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org



This is Passport to Texas

First discovered in 2006 / 2007 in upstate New York, white nose syndrome—a fungus that afflicts cave-hibernating bats—has killed an estimated 6 million animals thus far.

09—Texas is home to 32 species of bats; 18 of which are known to roost in some way, and many of those hibernate.

Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist, Jonah Evans says Texas bats are currently disease free, but not home free. Take migratory Mexican freetail bats, for example.

32— There is concern that they could act as a vector for the disease. So, if they get exposed to it – maybe they’re carrying it – and then they migrate down into Central and South America, and they expose a lot of other migratory bats that could then bring the disease into the western portion of the United States. So, it’s a lot of speculation, but there’s some concern that Texas could be a gateway from the eastern part of the US to the western if it gets into the migratory bats and then they expose a lot of the hibernating bats in the west.

Something that’s not speculation is how humans spread the disease from cave to cave, and how they can protect against it. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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

Wildlife: White Nose Syndrome Update

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Checking caves for White Nose Syndrome

Checking caves for White Nose Syndrome, Photo © Mylea Bayless, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org



This is Passport to Texas

North America’s bats are dying off at an alarming rate.

06—The current estimate is more than 5.7 million bats have been killed by white nose syndrome.
Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist, Jonah Evans, says it’s been spreading south and west.

12— The closest [to Texas] it’s been confirmed is in Mississippi. And it does continue to be found further and further west – closer to Texas. So, we’re very concerned that it could get here.

Researchers thought they’d discovered the fungus in an Oklahoma bat colony in 2010; additional testing proved the sample similar, yet unrelated and non-lethal.

05—That is a huge relief, because that was next door, and we were just terrified that it was coming.

White Nose Syndrome, which forms a fungal mat over the faces of hibernating bats, thrives in cooler climates. This makes Texas officials hopeful state bat colonies will remain unaffected; nevertheless, they will remain vigilant.

11—The place that we’ve identified as most likely to be susceptible to white nose syndrome is up in the Panhandle, where there’s a fair
number of hibernating bats, and it gets cold.

How the white nose fungus moves from one area to another, and what we can do to slow its progress. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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

Boat | Fish: New Regulation — Drain That Boat

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Places where invasive zebra mussels hitch a ride.

Places where invasive zebra mussels hitch a ride.



This is Passport to Texas

By now you’re aware of the zebra mussel; it’s an invasive freshwater species first detected in North America more than 25 years ago in the Great Lakes. By 2009 the species made its way to Texas Lakes.

08—Texoma was first, and now we’ve got them in five other reservoirs around the state. And now we’re trying to slow or prevent the zebra mussels from getting into the other public water bodies.

Ken Kurzawski oversees regulations for inland fisheries. Zebra mussels reproduce quickly and outcompete native freshwater species – like sport fish – for food.

12— And on top of that, they have a way to attach to structures—boats and things—that cause billions of dollars of damage in other parts of the country where they get into [municipal] water pipes and on structures where they have to be cleaned off.

Those are the kinds of outcomes Texas Parks and Wildlife and its partners want to avoid in Texas. On July 1 (2014) a new regulation went into effect mandating all boaters drain their boats before leaving public waters.

10—Any water that you uptake in your bilges, live wells, has to be drained from your vessel when you’re leaving those waters, or approaching another public water. And that’s statewide in all fresh waters.

Find additional information about this regulation, including how it pertains to transporting live fish while angling, and how to correctly clean, drain and dry your boat at texasinvasives.org.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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

Conservation: Tanksley Land Company

Thursday, July 24th, 2014


This is Passport to Texas

A family ranch since the 1920s, the Tanksley Land Company’s goal is to leave their 25-thousand acre property in Far West Texas in better shape than they found it.

05— It’s all about water out here: preserving and directing it to your benefit.

1989 when Betty and her late husband Ben took over management, creosote and tarbush dominated the landscape; grasses and water were scarce.

16—Ben’s vision was to preserve water and to direct the water to the benefit of the ranch. He was building some small dams and
some large dams and did a lot of what we call divots. Little small defilades.

These methods supported better water infiltration and runoff capture, and also created numerous small oases of green grass and forbs for wildlife. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Mike Janis says the Tanksley’s innovative management helped them win a regional Lone Star Land Steward Award.

18—We’re recognizing the Tanksleys for this award not because they did a great job implementing lots of things that we recommended at Parks and Wildlife. The roles are really kind of flipped in this situation. We’ve been able to take things we’ve learned that Ben was willing to try and share that information with other landowners who are interested in accomplishing similar goals.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and provides funding for the Private Lands and Public Hunting Programs.

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