Archive for June, 2015

Rules About Fireworks in State Parks

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Fireworks at San Jacinto State Historic Site

Fireworks at San Jacinto State Historic Site

This is Passport to Texas

The July fourth holiday is upon us, and with it comes a burning desire for making our own big booms. But, when it comes to celebrating our nation’s birthday at Texas state parks, feel free to bring the barbeque, the watermelon and the outdoor games–but leave the fireworks at home.

06-It is illegal in Texas state parks–it is a Class C misdemeanor to possess fireworks in a state park.

We’re not trying to put a damper on your Independence Day fun, but Wes Masur, state park law enforcement coordinator at Texas Parks and Wildlife, says parks are no place for fireworks. Even sparklers get two thumbs down.

09–Within the state park system we have different types of wildlife and different types of grasses and we don’t want to get any type of forest fire started–people are there to enjoy the state parks.

Devastating wildfires have started for much less. While some state parks do offer organized fireworks displays, not everyone appreciates these holiday pyrotechnics even when allowed.

05–Some people don’t like fireworks–the noises that go along with that stuff–we just don’t allow it in the state parks.

Find out which state parks offer public fireworks displays, on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today…For Texas Parks and Wildlif…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Lone Star Land Steward: Rancho ZunZun

Monday, June 29th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Roxanne and Elvis Hernandez live in Bastrop County and turned their 53 acre Rancho ZunZun into a thriving wildlife habitat with enhanced Houston Toad protection.

10-Roxanne and Elvis, they are so passionate about their land stewardship ont heir property for all wildlife species–not just the Houston Toad.

Their hard work earned them a Lone Star Land Steward Regional award for the Lost Pines ecosystem. Wildlife biologist, Meredith Longoria, provides the couple with technical assistance.

15-They have taken leaps and bounds since they started through the landowner Incentive Program, including: native grass plating, and pine reforestation, and prescribed burning. They’ve utilized just about every tool they’ve learned about on their property.

The Lone Star Land Steward awards honor landowners who preserve our natural heritage. The Hernandez’s bought their land in 2004, and began restoration work.

25– We planted 35-hundred trees the year right before the drought. Here, this whole area was filled with cedars–you couldn’t even walk through here–and we had that removed and cleared, and did the prescribed burn back in 2012. Yeah, you can still see all the burn scars on the trees. For our wildlife management, we provide supplemental shelter, which are the brush piles; we have five nest boxes, which are frequented by bluebirds. We have a bat box.

They said they’ve seen all wildlife populations on the ranch flourish. Learn more about the Lone Star Land Steward Program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website.

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

TPW TV: Firearm Safety

Friday, June 26th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Safety must remain top of mind for anyone who keeps firearms in the home, especially in homes with children.

09-It is unlawful to store, transport or abandon an unsecured loaded firearm where children can obtain unsupervised access to the firearm.

Certified hunter education instructor and former TPW TV producer, Lee Smith, reviews the basics of home firearm safety during a segment of the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series, which airs the week of June 28.

08- Firearms should not be stored alongside ammunition in an unsecured location. A locking gun cabinet or safe is a much better solution.

How one stores firearms, such as hunting rifles, may affect overall operation and safety of the gun.

10- Many people store them [rifles] with the barrels up. Over time, oils can drip down and clog your actions. It’s much better to store [rifles] with the barrels pointed down.

Clogged action can cause a misfire, which in turn can send someone to the emergency room. In addition, ammunition should be stored separately from firearms, under lock and key.

Learn about firearm care and handling in a hunter education class. And view the PBS TPW TV segment on firearm safety the week of June 28. Check your local listings.

That’s our show…funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram.

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

Improving River Flows for Paddlefish and Beyond

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


This is Passport to Texas

The batteries in the radio transmitters used to track 47 paddlefish reintroduced to Caddo Lake more than a year ago are fading.

06—We’re still tracking some paddlefish, but we know this is about the time we’re not going to be able to track ‘em anymore.

Native to Caddo, paddlefish disappeared following construction of a dam upstream at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

Tim Bister, with Inland Fisheries, says early data suggest changes Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners made to simulate natural river flows and spawning habitat, kept the rare fish in the Big Cyprus Bayou and Caddo Lake system.

21—Having the opportunity to restore a native fish into the system, is certainly a good idea. But, to tie it into more of these natural river flows, and the idea that not just paddlefish—but
many other species—need natural river flows and appropriate spawning habitat, it’s going to benefit those things for rivers in Texas.

Bister says while they’ll continue monitoring paddlefish, the ongoing work is more expansive.

12— We will always be trying to do something in the Big Cyprus Bayou / Caddo Lake system to maintain quality river flow and quality habitat, and to monitor the fish populations.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Revisiting Paddlefish in Big Cypress Bayou

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Paddlefish at hatchery, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

Paddlefish at hatchery, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

This is Passport to Texas

Paddlefish, once abundant in the Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake, started disappearing following construction of a dam at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

07- So, basically, it took away the flows that the paddlefish need, and it took away their spawning substrate; eventually paddlefish just went away.

Inland fisheries’ Tim Bister says in spring 2014 a broad coalition of non-profits, landowners, and government agencies, reintroduced paddlefish into the system. But they first made improvements to benefit the rare species, including development of natural water releases upstream from Lake of the Pines, and gravel bar spawning areas.

14-We stocked 47 paddlefish, a year and a half old, between two and three feet long. And each were implanted with a radio transmitter, with a specific radio frequency that could be identified by a radio receiver.

Researchers tracked the paddlefish to see whether they would swim downstream over the spillway at Caddo Lake, and into Louisiana.

12-[If they did], they wouldn’t be able to swim back upstream because of that barrier. So, we wanted to make sure, by tracking these paddlefish, to see if they’re going to stay in the system. And after a year, I’m happy to say, that no fish were seen going over the spillway.

The radio transmitter batteries are fading, but the data collected so far is promising. Until the paddlefish reach reproductive maturity, we won’t know if we’ll see a self-sustaining population in Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Supports our series.

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