Archive for March 5th, 2014

Conservation: Restoring the Paddlefish

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014



This is Passport to Texas

Weather permitting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Caddo Lake Institute will release up to 50 paddlefish into Caddo Lake and Big Cypress Bayou in East Texas this week.

12—In Texas, it’s listed as a threatened species. Much of its range has been interrupted by damns on rivers; so the habitat just really hasn’t been there for the paddlefish to survive in Texas very well.

Predating dinosaurs, fisheries biologist, Tim Bister, calls the species “big river fish.” Populations exist in rivers like the Mississippi, but remain scarce in Texas waters.

13—It’s been a long time since we’ve collected a paddlefish in the Big Cypress River or Caddo Lake. So, this reintroduction is really more of an experiment to see if paddlefish are going to stay in the system.

Bister says they’ll “radio tag” the fish before release.

38—There’re going to be radio transmitters; there’s going to be three different towers down the stretch of the river, including one at the spillway of Caddo lake. So, every time a fish swims by one of these towers data will be collected. So, why now? What is it about this point in time that makes this seem like the right time? Well, for about the last 10 years, there have been several groups that have been working on establishing recommended flow patterns for The Big Cypress below lake of the Pine. So now that we’ve got some of these recommended flows in place, it’s time to put some fish in there that respond to certain flows, and see how they perform.

Tomorrow: in-stream flows and paddlefish.

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