Archive for the 'SFWR' Category

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.

Stewardship: Sycamore Canyon Ranch

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014


This is Passport to Texas

Ruthie and Johnny Russell, with their sons McLean and William, own and operate the 87-hundred acre Sycamore Canyon Ranch—along the Devil’s River in Val Verde County. This family understands the importance of preserving the wide, open spaces for both livestock and wildlife.

15— We don’t want fragmentation to occur here. We love the open spaces. And you really can’t protect water, wildlife and habitat without big, open spaces. If I were a billionaire I’d buy as many ranches as I could and protect them. [laughs]

Ruthie says their goal is to protect, share and communicate the public benefits of private lands stewardship, including preserving beautiful vistas, native wildlife habitats, clean air and water.

08—We look at this as a wilderness area. A wild area. We want to preserve it. We want to protect it. And, it’s just the perfect wild place to protect.

Some range management strategies they’ve used include deferred grazing and aggressive whitetail population control. In addition, they put their ranch under a conservation easement to protect it for generations.

11—My brother and I were both raised on ranches and in the outdoors. It would never have crossed our minds had this not been put under a conservation easement to sell this land.

The Russell’s Sycamore Canyon Ranch is a regional Lone Star Land Steward Award winner for 2014.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, and is funded by your purchase if fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel.

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

Angling: Value of Artificial Reefs

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Beauty of artificial reef

Beauty of artificial reef



This is Passport to Texas

An article by Melissa Gaskill in the June issue of Texas parks and Wildlife magazine, explores the value of artificial reefs. These are retired structures like oil platforms that create much-needed hard substrate in the gulf. She asks whether the reefs increase marine populations, or simply aggregate existing populations.

07— The first thing that happens when you put any kind of structure in the water is that fish species will congregate around it; they’re attracted to that.

Dale Shively is Texas Parks and Wildlife program leader for artificial reefs. He says congregating is just the beginning.

20— There also is production that goes on. Once you get that marine life growing, you’re creating an ecosystem. You’re not only bringing fish species in, but they stay there, live there, they spawn there. You can find the juveniles on there. That doesn’t mean that some of those fish species don’t migrate away at times. But they actually use it for various life stages.

Through a monitoring program, Shively says they’re attempting to quantify various fish species by relative abundance.

21— There is also a debate about how valuable are oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. There are a lot of fishermen who claim that you remove these and you’re destroying the red snapper population. There’s another school of thought that the red snapper were here originally without the oil platforms. But, there’s no doubt that the red snapper population has increased since we have more structure out there.

Read about this debate in the June issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Angling: Artificial Reefs

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Diving near an artificial reef.

Diving near an artificial reef.



This is Passport to Texas

What do concrete, decommissioned ships and retired oil platforms have in common? They’re all materials used to create artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. But if you ask Dale Shively which is best material for creating this marine habitat, he says: it depends.

04— We have all of those materials in our program, and they all serve a different purpose.

Shively is Texas Parks and Wildlife program leader for artificial reefs.

27— Farther off shore, we have mainly petroleum platforms. They’re solid, stable, and durable. They’re massive structures that give a lot of area to invertebrate growth and bring in a lot of fish species. Ships that we put out are good habitat, but they’re also primarily to bring in diving opportunities. And then as you move in closer to shore, in our near shore reefs, we use a lot of concrete – bridge rubble and things like that – that are good for fishing.

The reefs create habitat for marine species, and this leads to better angling and diving opportunities.

12— What we’ve seen with the Texas Clipper project, is that economic returns for angling could be over a million dollars a year back to the local economy. Whereas diving could be several million.

Find an article on the value of artificial reefs in the June issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our Series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.