Archive for August, 2015

We All Have a Coastal Connection

Monday, August 31st, 2015
Bill Balboa (and friend), Texas Sea Grant

Bill Balboa (and friend), Texas Sea Grant

This is Passport to Texas

I’ve always thought of Texas as a state with a coast. But Bill Balboa says it’s really a coastal state. And he’s making sure the next generation knows this.

13- I’m trying to bring coastal education inland so kids that don’t get a chance to get down there a lot learn some things about the Texas coast and maybe become better stewards of the environment here.

Balboa is the Matagorda County Marine Extension Agent. He says when we view Texas as a coastal state we recognize that our actions affect the Gulf no matter how
far inland we live. We spoke when he was in Austin to speak to a group of young people at the main library. He said his talks involve show and tell.

27- I talk to them about freshwater gradient, the different kinds of fish, invasive species. I bring sharks. And so, I just talk to them about the diversity that’s there on the Texas coast, and why it is important to be good stewards and for freshwater to make it down to the coast as well. I want to back up. You bring sharks? You know, I work with some of my parks and Wildlife folks–that I used to work with–and I bring some sharks that were caught in sampling, and I bring a lot of other fish. And it makes a lasting impression.

Bill Balboa did say the sharks and other gulf creatures he brings to his talks are not alive; they’re frozen. Sort of like fish sticks–but really–nothing like fish sticks.

Find links to information about the Gulf and the creatures that live in it at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

TPW TV: The Plant Guy, Jason Singhurst

Friday, August 28th, 2015


This is Passport to Texas

Jason Singhurst is a man outstanding in his field. In fact, he stands in lots of fields…and prairies. He’s a botanist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

04-That is a Blazing Star of Kansas Gayfeather.

Jason is responsible for creating and updating the rare plant community list for the Texas conservation action plan.

03-[The] gamma grass–they’re in flower right now.

Jason has published over 90 articles on the plants of Texas, and has produced the largest data set on native prairies in America. He also works closely with
volunteers, like Katie Emde with the Native Plant Society of Houston.

10-It’s such a treat to go out with Jason in the field, because he knows so much; he’s so eager to teach and share his knowledge. And, it’s so much fun when he gets excited about plants.

Jason Singhurst has added to herbariums in Texas, won awards, and co-authored a book on rare Texas plants. But what give him the most pride?

07-Well, I think the one thing I’m most proud of is discoveries. I’ve actually found species that have never been described and have been able to publish on them. It makes me very happy.

Get to know more about Jason Singhurst and his work next week on a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV show. Check local listings.

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

Ensuring the Monarch Butterfly’s Survival

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

This is Passport to Texas

The Monarch butterfly population is in decline.

06- The current thought is that it’s actually several different factors that are contributing to the decline that we’re seeing.

Ben Hutchins is an invertebrate biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

16- Historically, one of the big issues was deforestation in the forests in a couple of states in Mexico where the monarchs overwinter. We’ve also had really cold weather at those overwintering sites, and also some prolonged [drought and] hot weather up here in the United States.

Butterfly habitat is inadequate along their migration routes. Milkweed plants are the monarch’s preferred nectar and host plants. Citizens who grow milkweed in
their landscapes can help support monarch migration.

17- Those [milkweed] can be used by monarchs. But, we’re really starting to try to push that people are really conscious about which species of milkweed they’re planting. We’re advocating to look at what’s native to your area and plant regional appropriate milkweeds.

Hutchins says we need to plant more than milkweeds; a diversity of plant species will attract more monarchs and other pollinators, and provide them with the food and shelter they need for their long journey.

Find more monarch information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Pollinator Corridors

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
Well-known, and important, pollinator: the European Honeybee

Well-known, and important, pollinator: the European Honeybee

This is Passport to Texas

In May, President Barack Obama announced a national strategy to make Interstate 35 a 1,500-mile “pollinator corridor.”

06- US agriculture benefits from insect pollination to the tune of about 18 to 20-billion [dollars] a year.

Michael Warriner is an invertebrate biologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife. The plan: rehabilitate pollinator habitats from the Texas-Mexico border to Duluth, Minnesota.

Gardener, author, and green lifestyle expert, Shawna Coronado (, believes this effort must extend beyond the highway and deep into the heart of the urban jungle.

23- One of the problems we have in cities all around the united States is, we have a dead area–that hot cement area that is the city. We have all these concerns about bees and butterflies and how we keep them in our communities and going throughout communities. Well, the best way to do that, of course, is to plant a native pollinator garden. Plants that are pollinator oriented.

Shawna hopes to see people growing pollinator gardens on apartment and condo balconies, and building rooftops.

19-My little dream is to have a pollinator corridor going through every city that would lead the bees and the butterflies and such through, instead of this giant, miles and miles and miles of area that they cannot cross through easily. This could provide a solution because of its unique way that it can fit into an urban environment.

Tomorrow: helping the Monarch butterfly.

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

Stocking Lakes After the Floods

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Largemouth bass fingerlings

Florida largemouth bass fingerlings

This is Passport to Texas

With so many reservoirs catching water from late spring rains, fishing in Texas is going to be better than ever in both the short and long term.

10- Texas was blessed with an abundance of water. And thanks to good, creative planning, we were able to redirect many thousands of fish to our lakes of greatest need.

Dave Terre, with Inland Fisheries, says lakes with increased water offer improved stocking survival…

08- …because of all this additional habitat. So, we’re able to divert those resources to those lakes to ensure that we have quality fishing for years to come.

This year, Texas Parks and Wildlife plans to stock between 6 and 8 million Florida largemouth bass.

17- A lot of those fish are going to the lakes that need it the worst. For those lakes that we can’t get to this year, we’re going to go ahead and get to them next year, or the year after next. Texas has about a thousand public reservoirs in the state, and four fish hatcheries to supply fisheries resources to those
reservoirs and rivers.

Find which species Texas Parks and Wildlife plans to stock, and where they plan to stock them when you log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration supports our series.

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