Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

TPW Magazine — Texas Horned Lizard

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
Texas Horned Lizard

Texas Horned Lizard

This is Passport to Texas

With a flat, spiky body, the Horned Lizard has captivated the generations of Texans.

Everyone you meet, if you just mention horny toad, or horned lizard, they say” “Oh, I used to see those all the time when I was a kid; I would pick them up and put them into my pocket. But now I never see them. What happened to them”?

That’s a question editor Louie Bond addresses in an article for the December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. To get answers, she travelled to the San Antonio Zoo to meet with director of conservation, Andy Gluesenkamp.

And he is raising horned lizards in hope of having babies in a few months, and putting them back into their historic habitats.

Which includes arid and semiarid habitats in open areas with sparse plant cover. This habitat’s been fragmented by development. But it still exists.

We’re actually tying into a whole other program at the agency, which comes from the mapping department. And we have this incredible interactive vegetative map of the whole state, broken into pretty small parcels of land. The biologists can look at the map and judge the habitat by a variety of criteria. So, they actually can rate each piece of land and make sure that it actually does have all the things that are needed there.

The horned lizard article by Louie Bond is as fascinating as the animal itself. Read this in-depth feature in the December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. On newsstands now.

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

The Value of Wetlands

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Cactus and wetlands along Powderhorn Lake. Photo courtesy of the nature Conservancy, Jerod Foster

This is Passport to Texas

Wetlands are the most vibrant ecosystems in nature, and play an essential role in maintaining biodiversity and water quality.

On a per acre basis, you’ll find more wildlife and organic activity in wetlands than in any other type of habitat in Texas.

As water moves through wetlands, the vegetation and organisms filter the majority of debris and other materials, as well as collect sediment.

Water comes out of a wetland cleaner than it went in; wetlands are efficient, high quality water filters.

Wetlands also help mitigate coastal flooding by absorbing excess water and reducing storm surges from hurricanes.

They also serve as nurseries for species of sport fish that have both recreational and commercial value to Texans.

Yet, wetlands are declining. Over time, this can set up a domino effect that may see future severe flooding in vulnerable areas, a reduction in clean water, and a decrease in fish for the table.

Therefore, it is vital that we understand the value of wetlands and protect and grow them in Texas and other areas where they play a dynamic role in the health of the planet.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

TPW TV – Up on the (Green) Roof

Friday, November 16th, 2018
Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

This is Passport to Texas

The new public library in Austin is an oasis in the midst of a steel and concrete desert.

[opens w/ambience] This is the, uh, rooftop garden, which we also call the butterfly garden.

John Gillum is library facilities manager. Native plants sway in the breeze six stories above busy thoroughfares.

It is a green roof. It means a roof that’s actually landscaped. We wanted to do something to help out our little pollinators. We will do anything we can to attract them. If we can come up with different plants we think will draw more butterflies, we’ll do it.

An oasis of native plants help bees and butterflies make their way through increasingly urban landscapes. It also makes for a nice spot to sit and read.

This is really the best part of the library as far as a natural setting to sit in.

Putting a park on a building saves space and lowers energy costs when temperatures soar.

As opposed to the concrete around us, this is going to be an area that really absorbs heat rather than reflects it out, so even in the kind of summers that we get here in Austin, this is still going to be a pretty pleasant place to be.

Can’t get to the library? Then get to a television. Explore the Austin Central Library rooftop garden on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS, the week of November 25th.

In an age when news about nature is not always cheery, look for some good news on the top shelf of Austin’s new library.

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

TPW TV — Billingsley Ranch

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Billingsley Ranch

This is Passport to Texas

The Billingsley Ranch in the Trans-Pecos is made up of pristine Chihuahuan dessert grassland. Shortly after buying the ranch in 2008, Stuart Sasser said a wildfire set him back to square one.

And it came up through here and burned about seventy percent of this ranch. We were able then to start completely over with a new set of fences that were antelope friendly type fences.  And build a new type of water system.

In an upcoming segment on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series, viewers see the ranch and meet, Sasser: a 2018 Lone Star Land Steward Award recipient. Michael Sullins is a Natural Resource Specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Stuart’s approach to management out here is not really all from a cattle production perspective. He has a holistic view of the place; he wants to improve it for the native wildlife.

Whitney Gann is a Research Scientist with Borderlands Research Institute. She says the ranch’s prime grassland habitat made it an ideal place to translocate pronghorn.

We’ve completed seven translocations since 2011, the Hughes Sasser ranch served as our release sight for pronghorn in 2016, and the results of these translocations is an upturn in the population, and so we’ve actually doubled our population size since 2012 to today.

A segment featuring innovations on the Billingsley Ranch airs the week of November 4 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV show on PBS.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Landowner Incentive Program

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

This is Passport to Texas

With more than 95% of Texas’ land in private hands, it’s crucial that landowners participate in the protection, restoration and maintenance of our state.

Texas Parks and Wildlife wants to help with the Texas Landowner Incentive Program, or LIP.

LIP’s goal is to meet the needs of private, non-federal landowners that wish to enact good conservation practices on their lands, for the benefit of healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Landowners must apply for the program. The first step is to contact your local TPWD office and speak with a staff biologist. They will help with an ecological assessment of your land, review your goals, and provide you with information on the various incentive and assistance programs available.

LIP is a cost-share reimbursement program. Depending on the funding series, TPWD will contribute between 50% and 75% of a total project cost. The applicant is expected to contribute the balance; materials or in-kind services are acceptable match.

If together you and your biologist decide that the LIP program could help you meet your management and restoration goals, your biologist will help you to prepare and submit a project proposal packet. Find more information on the LIP program on the TPW website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series, providing support for private lands initiatives.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti