Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

Return of the Black-Capped Vireo

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019
This black-capped vireo male is a passerine species.

Male Black-capped vireo.

This is Passport to Texas

Not long ago the tiny masked bird known as the Black-capped Vireo nearly became extinct. The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as endangered in 1987. But rigorous habitat recovery efforts have finally changed that listing.

Good news for the Black-capped Vireo is that it was recently delisted.

Cliff Shackelford is a state ornithologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Now we’re in a phase of what we call the post-delisting monitoring. So Parks and Wildlife is involved in continuing the count of Black-capped vireos to make sure that the numbers are still steady and increasing but not decreasing.

Cliff believes we’ve become better at understanding what makes a healthy Hill Country ecosystem.

I think the one thing our agency has learned is better deer management. We’ve relayed that to a lot of our landowners that we work with, and you can drive around the Hill Country and see who’s doin’ it right. But I think that’s the big thing is finding that balance of where you can have your agriculture, your deer, and your Black-capped Vireos and everybody lives in harmony, and we’ve found that sweet spot and it’s really working.

Now it’s up to us to hand down our lessons learned to the next generation so that the Black-capped Vireo is never endangered again.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Hatchery Raised Sea Trout for Better Fishing

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Sunrise on a jetty, ready to catch dinner.

This is Passport to Texas

Regulation changes to spotted sea trout, like bag and size limits, is an important tool in our tool box for managing saltwater fish species. A robust a hatchery program is another.

Spotted seatrout is this most popular recreational sportfish out there. So, there’s a lot of pressure on these fish.

Ashley Fincannon is hatchery manager at the Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi; it’s there where they, raise spotted seatrout for stocking…specifically to the Lower Laguna Madre. That bay system also has a five-fish daily bag limit.

The Lower Laguna Madre was the first bay system to go under the five-fish limit and that was when we really ramped up our contribution down there.

Earlier this year, Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed a new regulation to change the bag limit in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake on the upper coast from 10 fish a day to five—as it is in all other bay systems. That’s a good thing.

Anecdotally I know I’ve heard from the fishermen when you go stock that they are catching larger trout now and that the trout fishing is better than ever in the Lower Laguna Madre.

The new bag limits go into effect September first. Learn how we regulate and raise spotted sea trout and also find a tasty recipe for it on our podcast Under the Texas Sky; find it wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series.

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

Spotted Sea Trout Regulation Change

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

This is why we fish.

This is Passport to Texas

Their abundance, eagerness to hit natural and artificial baits, and their flavor when cooked make the spotted sea trout popular with coastal anglers like Charles O’Neal.

I am just a guy married to a good woman who allows me to fish 150 plus days a year.

We caught up with Charles in February of this year at a public meeting about changes to fishing regulations for spotted seatrout.

I am a passionate spotted seatrout guy. I fish from Brownsville to Alabama.

Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed a new regulation to change the bag limit in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake on the upper coast from 10 fish a day to five—as it is in all other bay systems. During that meeting Charles and other anglers made their feelings known to TPW and to the commissioners who made the final decision.

I think after many, many hours of research that this data does not support the reduction.

After careful review, the commission thought differently. But, Charles O’Neal remains a fan.

More recreational anglers need to come to meetings, stand-up, participate in surveys. And go to the public meeting and get involved with TPWD. They’re not bad people. They give me every piece of information I ask for.

Learn how we regulate and raise spotted sea trout and get a great recipe for it on our podcast Under the Texas Sky; wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series.

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

Return of the Guadalupe Bass

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Guadalupe Bass (Micropterus treculii)

This is Passport to Texas

Dang it! Was that a fish? Yes, He was right in that foam line!

Anglers like Courtney and Brandon Robinson love to fish for Guadalupe bass, named for the Guadalupe River.

Fish on! This is why I love catching Guads, they’re little fish, but they use the river to fight!

The Guadalupe is a stronghold stream for this lone star native, which the legislature dubbed the state fish of Texas in 1989. Decades ago, this little fish seemed destined for extinction. But today it’s coming back.

I want my kids to catch Guadalupe bass. And I want them to be able to do it in the same places that I do.

Chris Johnson leads guided fly-fishing trips. The beautiful rivers the bass live in have a growing army of passionate advocates working to keep these waters clean.

 At end of the day, lovers will always work harder than workers. And if you love what you’re doing, and you love what you’re about, you love your fish, you love your water, you love your state, you love the ground that it flows through, then you’re going to fight to protect it.

Learn more about efforts to restore the Guadalupe Bass and preserve our rivers on our podcast Under the Texas Sky this July. Find it at underthetexassky.org, and wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Benefits of Conservation License Plates

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Whitetail deer conservation license plate

This is Passport to Texas

Established in 2000, Texas Parks & Wildlife’s conservation license plate program has raised millions of dollars for wildlife conservation.

Grossing more than $1.2 million dollars since it launched back in 2002, the White-tailed Deer plate benefits big game management and hunting programs in Texas. This past April, a Desert Bighorn Sheep plate joined the lineup.

15- The revenue generated from those two license plates goes directly towards the research and management of big game species in Texas. Which means the research and management of white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep and javelina.

Mitch Lockwood is the Big Game Program Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife

We’re very fortunate to have this revenue that we can use to leverage more federal Pittman Robertson funds. We’re basically able to quadruple the revenue generated from this license plate.

The Texas desert bighorn sheep restoration program has been one of the most successful wildlife restoration programs of its kind.

The population was extirpated from the trans Pecos region back in the sixties and we acquired some animals from western states. Those two populations have responded very well to those early reintroduction efforts. So, now were taking those surplus animals and we’re starting to put sheep into mountain ranges that haven’t seen sheep in decades

Learn how to obtain your conservation license plate at conservationplate.org.

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