Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

City Nature Challenge Seeks Experts

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018
Upload images to iNaturalist during the City nature Challenge.

Upload images to iNaturalist during the City nature Challenge.

This is Passport to Texas

In about a month, competitors from around the globe will head outside with their smart phones to photograph the flora and fauna of their regions, and then upload those images to iNaturalist as part of…

The City Nature Challenge.

Marsha May is a biologist and challenge coordinator for the Austin region—one of seven TX regions involved.

And there are over 60 cities worldwide that are involved in this challenge.

April 27th—30th, participants worldwide will try to “out-document” their competitors, for bragging rights.

All that data is collected in iNaturalist, and it will be evaluated a week after the challenge is over.

Regions can win for most observations, verified species or members. May said last year’s event drew nearly more competitors than they had experts to verify the data.

We really needed more people to help with verifying the observations. That’s the call [to action] I would like to make. So, if you’re a herpetologist, a birder, a botanist and such—please, help us verify. Go to iNaturalis[.org] and look for the projects. You can go to any one of the cities and help verify these observations. Because, the more we get verified—that’s research grade observations—so those count more toward this contest.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m
Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV — Building Habitat for Fish

Friday, March 2nd, 2018
Creating fish habitat in aging reservoirs.

Creating fish habitat in aging reservoirs.

This is Passport to Texas

Most freshwater fishing in Texas happens in reservoirs.

So we want to make sure we conserve the reservoirs and these fishing opportunities by restoring habitat.

Marcos de Jesus is with For Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries. On next  week’s For Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS, the agency and its partners renew underwater habitat in reservoirs for better angling.

We can always supplement the woody debris, the vegetation, or any type of cover that fish need by cutting something like cedar trees. We can also use artificial habitat that different commercial producers make. These things are put together to mimic trees, that creates cover.

Although TPW has the expertise…

These projects can become expensive and they are labor intensive so we need partnerships to actually get these great projects on the water.

Partnerships with groups like Friends of Reservoirs.

Friends of Reservoirs is a great group. And these groups are usually composed of stakeholders that have the common interest of conservation and fishing. So they team up with Texas Parks and Wildlife; we do some great projects around the state.

See reservoir renovation in action next week on the For Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

If you want to get involved and help TPWD with conservation initiatives, feel free to call local district biologist. And get involved and help us in conservation. We can’t do it alone.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Habitat for Monarchs and other Pollinators

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018
Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly on milkweed.

This is Passport to Texas

For as long as biologists have been studying the iconic monarch butterfly, they’ve come up with more questions than answers about its biology and basic needs. The biggest question: do land management practices, like controlled burns and reseeding with native plants improve monarch habitat?

We have lots of questions about patch size, too.

That’s Ben Hutchins, the state’s invertebrate biologist. So, what is patch size?

When I say ‘patch size’ what I mean is, how far will a monarch travel to get from one plot of nectar producing plants to another? How big of a prairie do we need to support healthy monarch populations? How many milkweed in it? What density do we need across the landscape to promote healthy breeding populations?

Expansive patches of prairie are best, but hard to come by due to urbanization. Having said that—all is not lost.

Even urban environments have lots of potential for habitat for monarchs moving through; so you have urban corridors. So, there’s no property that’s too big or too small to help out monarchs and other urban pollinators.

That means even planting native nectar producing plants and milkweed in empty lots, on building rooftops, or in containers on your downtown balcony—you are playing a role in supporting monarch and native pollinators.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Questions About Monarch Butterflies

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Monarchs

Monarchs-Photo by Monika Maeckle

This is Passport to Texas

Here’s what you need to know about scientific discovery: it starts with a question. And that leads to—not answers —not immediately, anyway. It leads to more questions.

They just keep coming.

Ben Hutchins, the state’s invertebrate biologist, has been asking a lot of questions lately about monarch butterflies.

That’s right. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. And so, many of us that are involved in monarch conservation have been to a number of conferences, meetings, workshops, symposia. And a big emphasis is on all of the questions that we still have about monarch biology. I think the biggest question, particularly, for conservationists for natural resource managers is: what can we do to make the landscape good monarch habitat. How can we be good stewards of the land to make sure monarchs are getting what they need?

See what I mean?

We have lots of questions about how particular land management practices, like using controlled burns, or reseeding with native plants—how those practices can best be used to produce good monarch habitat. We have lots of questions about patch size, too.

And if your next question is: what does Ben Hutchins mean by patch size? You’ll have to listen next time to find out.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Feel the (Prescribed) Burn

Monday, February 19th, 2018
Prescribed burn underway.

Prescribed burn underway.

This is Passport to Texas

Man mimics nature when he uses fire as a land management tool. He does this with controlled burning, and with prescribed fire.

David Riskin, director of natural resources for state parks, says there is a difference between the two.

Controlled burning is a term that people use that you start at part A, and you burn until you get to part B. Professional land managers use the term prescribed fire because you have specific objectives, you have specific outcomes, you burn under very specific conditions. And so a prescription is a planning document… you lay everything out ahead of time and you then implement it with very specific objectives in mind.

Those objectives naturally have to do with land management, as well as a range of various objectives a landowner may hope to achieve.

There can be a whole series of objectives. From very simple things like fuel load reduction. You can have specific habitat objectives…to change the vegetation structure and composition to support waterfowl, or to support antelope, or lesser prairie chickens…or Houston toads for that matter.

Learn more about prescribed fire on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti