TPW TV: Mountain Biking

April 18th, 2014

Biking at Pedernales Falls State Park

Biking at Pedernales Falls State Park



This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Hill Country is becoming a mountain biker’s Mecca and state parks like Pedernales Falls attract folks looking for two-wheeled fun.

07— Here at Pedernales Falls, we have a great deal of trails that can accommodate all skill levels of mountain biking. Watch out for that bump!

John Alvis is a park ranger at Pedernales.

08— More of our campers are showing up with mountain bikes; particularly on weekends, we get a lot of mountain bikers staying in the park and training on our trails in the park.

Mountain biker, Vickie Lewis, says the trails at Pedernales are a hidden gem.

05— Right now, it seems like it’s fairly unknown for bikers. In fact, I don’t know if we’ve seen anyone on a bike.

Ranger John Alvis.

09— We have probably 8-miles of one lane dirt road trails that will accommodate basic skill level mountain bikers. It’s a good way to
get out and see the park.

Pedernales Falls SP has about 20 miles of secondary trails; Wolf Mountain is the most popular among them.

13— And it provides a combination of single track and wider jeep road type terrain. It can range from easy, flatter type terrain, to some pretty significant hills. It will provide a good challenge to any skill level.

Watch a segment on Pedernales Falls State Park mountain biking trails this week (week of April 20) on the Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV series. Check your local listings.

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

Aquaponics: Drought and the Future of Food

April 17th, 2014

Aquaponics: herbs, photo courtesy Heart of Gold Organics

Aquaponics: herbs, photo courtesy Heart of Gold Organics



This is Passport to Texas

Aquaponics is a method by which waste created by fish fertilizes crops through a recirculating filtration system. Using substantially less water than conventional agriculture, aquaponics may be the future of small-scale commercial farming.

15— With the recent droughts, Texas growers are hoping they’ll have more opportunities with aquaponics to engage in commercial growing and to produce lettuce and vegetables for restaurants as well as for selling to farmers markets.

Monica McGarrity is an aquatic invasive species biologist with Parks and Wildlife. Regulations, fees, and permits for an aquaponics system may apply; in some cases, producers raising tilapia may require a permit.

30—The key distinction is going to be whether they’re engaging in personal aquaponics or commercial aquaponics. If they’re not selling the fish, and the fish are Mozambique tilapia – this one species of tilapia – then a permit is not required. There are some stipulations, and that includes: the fish must be obtained from an exotic species permit holder; you also have to keep what’s called the exotic species transport invoice for as long as you have the fish; lastly – no fish can leave the property alive.

They must have guts or head removed before leaving the premises. We have links to more information as well as permit applications and transportation invoices at passporttotexas.org.

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

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

Aquaponics: Using Fish to Grow Food

April 16th, 2014

Aquaponic system

Aquaponic system



This is Passport to Texas

I predict the next big trend in food production – at least for small farm/commercial operations and backyard gardening enthusiasts – will be aquaponics.

05— Simply – aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics.

Monica McGarrity is an aquatic invasive species biologist and coordinates permits for exotic species. The basic premise of aquaponics is simple.

07—Waste created from the fish is used to feed the plants; and it’s typically a completely closed recirculating system.

Of course, in practice aquaponics is more involved, and there are rules, permits and fees to consider. Oh, and fish.

34—Some folks do use species that are native to Texas, including catfish and sunfish; the department does not regulate those as long as the brood fish come from an aquaculture source, not from the wild population. But when it comes to these harmful or potentially harmful species [such as tilapia], an exotic species permit may be required. The key distinction is going to be whether they’re engaging in personal aquaponics or commercial aquaponics. If they’re not selling the fish, and the fish are Mozambique tilapia, then a permit is not required.

Monica McGarrity returns tomorrow to tell us more about aquaponics in Texas.

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

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

Conservation: Money for Horny Toads

April 15th, 2014

A  very handsome fellow: The Texas Horned Lizard

A very handsome fellow: The Texas Horned Lizard



This is Passport to Texas

For Texans of a certain age, horned lizards were a common sight; not anymore. Luckily, money raised from the sale of horned lizard conservation license plates provides funds to study this enigmatic species.

06— We have funded conservation projects on Texas horned lizards. One of those is with the Fort Worth Zoo.

Michael Warriner is non-game program supervisor with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

18—Fort Worth Zoo has an active captive breeding program, and they’re working at reintroducing Texas horned lizards back to areas where they used to occur. And we’ve supported that effort in terms of supplies, personnel, and helping them facilitate that reintroduction of horned lizards.

Warriner says monies from the plate also fund a project by Texas Tech that studies horned lizard habitat use.

07—So we can understand what sorts of habitat they prefer, and how can we manage habitat to better support their populations.

Development has reduced historic horned lizard habitat.

10—There may be other factors preventing them from reestablishing, but we try and determine what’s the best quality habitat [currently available] and reintroduce them to those areas.

Find information about the horned lizard and other conservation plates at conservationplate.org.

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

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

Wildlife: Texas Conservation License Plates

April 14th, 2014

Horned Lizard Conservation Plate

Horned Lizard Conservation Plate



This is Passport to Texas

How many times have you seen a Texas license plate with a drawing of a horned lizard on it and wondered what it meant.

09— The horned lizard license plate is a critical source of funding that helps us do a lot of work on non-game animals.

Twenty-two dollars of the $30 cost of the plate funds non-game study. Michael Warriner is non-game program supervisor with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

13—If you think about it, most wildlife in Texas is non-game. So, these are the species that are helping to shape Texas ecosystems; and helping to support populations of animals that we do hunt.

Compared to funding for game species, monies for studying these “less loved” species are not as robust. Moreover, it’s not just about studying VICs – very important critters.

10—It also enables us to do work on native plants, and also to fund educational programs regarding non-game and Texas habitats.

Tomorrow: we find out how sales of the horned lizard license plate are helping…well…the horned lizard.

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.