Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Water for Humans and Endangered Species

Friday, February 5th, 2016
San Marcos Salamander and Fountain Darter

San Marcos Salamander and Fountain Darter

This is Passport to Texas

The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan permits what’s necessary to ensure the survival of rare, threatened and endangered species that depend on the Aquifer and the San Marcos and Comal Rivers while allowing continued use of the resource by the rest of us.

There’s federal law requiring this, but it’s the right thing to do in terms of protecting the resource for all of us into the future.

Cindy Loeffler is water resources branch chief at Texas Parks and Wildlife and one of the architects of the protection plan. Convincing people to do the right thing – like modifying their water usage based on the needs of rare species – can be a hard sell.

The plan includes ongoing water conservation—especially during times of drought—removing invasive species, and declaring a portion of the San Marcos River a state scientific area that would make it illegal to uproot endangered Texas Wild Rice.

But Loeffler says these protected species are indicators of a healthy ecosystem – which benefits everyone.

By providing these protections for these species, that helps ensure the San Marcos river, the Comal River will keep flowing. Keeping these springs flowing is really at the heart and soul of the work done by the recovery implementation program. And so that benefits the species, of course, but also benefits people as well.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program…supports our series and funds diverse conservation projects throughout Texas…

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

Blue Quail Translocation

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

This is Passport to Texas

Five…four…three…two…one… [Birds flutter].

That’s Dale Rollins Director of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. Along with Texas Parks and Wildlife his group released 88 wild-caught blue quail on the Matador Wildlife Management Area early last year.

So we’ve been trapping wild birds out in the San Angelo area and moving those here and testing two release styles to see which one, if either, is going to be an effective way of restoring blue quail to this country.

Blue quail, once plentiful in the Rolling Plains, have been absent for years. Various partners joined to reestablish populations of blue quail on public and private land. Researchers outfitted thirty-nine of the birds with tiny radio collars to track their movements. Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist, Kara Campbell.

We’ll try and keep tabs on them, are they staying on the area, are they leaving the area, where they are moving and also survival. We’re just really excited to be part of it. This is the beginning stages and so you know it phase one pilot stage. And to be part of that is pretty neat. And we’ll see where it goes in the future.

Learn about blue quail on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps to keep Texas wild with the support of proud members across the state. Find out more at

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

TPW TV: The State of Quail

Friday, November 13th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Grassland birds throughout North America, including the bobwhite quail, have been in decline.

06—Over the past 20, 30 years—we’ve seen serious declines across its entire range, including Texas.

Robert Perez is upland game bird program manager for Parks and Wildlife. He and others concerned about this enigmatic species’ survival appear in a segment called The State of Quail on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

07— Fundamentally, conservationists agree that the root cause is the changes in the quality and quantity of habitat.

During the segment, airing next week, watch conservation groups and private landowners, like Jim Willis, collaborate to improve habitat for quail, by planting native grasses, which provide shelter, seeds and insects for the birds.

19— This is a sample of a native grass. This plant contributes to the health of the land. This is the way you conserve moisture. Man has come in and ripped out a lot of this native grass and planted what we call improved grasses, which is really not improved, they’re invasive species, like Bermuda grass, and Bahia grass, and they don’t give back to the soil. They take from the soil.

The State of Quail airs the week of November 15 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

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

Wildlife Trail Maps

Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Wildlife Trail Maps

Wildlife Trail Maps

This is Passport to Texas

Texas is a big place with lots to do and to see for the wildlife lover; knowing where to start can be a little overwhelming. No worries. Texas Parks and Wildlife has a solution.

04-We have nine distinct maps; each covers a region of Texas.

They are the Great Texas Wildlife Trails Maps, and encompass more than 960 sites statewide. Liz Tomberlin works in nature tourism at Parks and Wildlife.

20-And [the maps] cover everything from migratory bird watching spots–to burrowing owls–to the prairie chicken leks in the panhandle plains. The monarch migration–we’ve had some great spots to see monarchs. All the way through to bat-watching, and all sorts of other mammals and birds and amphibians that you can see throughout Texas.

The agency updated the Heart of Texas West and East maps recently to ensure users have access to the most current information–information that goes beyond
where to find native critters.

17-Our maps include information for general tourists. There’s information for convention bureaus and visitors’ centers on there; each of our sites includes GPS coordinates; driving directions from major highways; a short description of the site and what you can expect to see there, and a phone number so you can contact someone.

Find more information about The Great Wildlife Trails Maps, including free, interactive versions of the maps on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Being Safe in the Company of Alligators

Friday, October 30th, 2015
American Alligator

American Alligator

This is Passport to Texas

The American Alligator may be one of the most fearsome creatures roaming Texas. We find them in slow-moving rivers, ponds, lakes and swamps–and even in our neighborhoods, which prompts calls to Texas Parks and Wildlife saying:

02- I’ve got an alligator here; what do I need to do.

Steve Lightfoot, Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesperson, says the first thing we need to do is to be realistic.

06-It’s alligator country, and we’re going to have more confrontations if we encroach on their space.

Chance encounters increase as we encroach on alligator habitat with residential and commercial developments. Steve Lightfoot says if you see a gator, leave it alone; it will move on. However, if one does become a nuisance…

23- If one’s acting aggressively, if its making threatening moves towards you–back away slowly. We’ve got a lot of tips on our website that tell people common things to do when you’re in confrontation with an alligator. Call our game wardens. We’ve got game wardens in every county–they’re used to dealing with these kinds of things. They’ll come out and assess the situation. If an alligator needs to be relocated–they’ll take care of it.

Find tips for peaceful coexistence with the American alligator on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…Cecilia Nasti