Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

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.

New Conservation License Plate to Drive You Wild

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Conservation Plate, Desert Bighorn Sheep

This is Passport to Texas

Thousands of Texas motorists have contributed to wildlife conservation efforts with a simple purchase. Thirty dollars for a Texas Parks & Wildlife conservation license plate.

We’re really excited to announce that we’re launching a new desert bighorn sheep conservation license plate.

Janis Johnson is with the Conservation License Plate program at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

This is a real beauty. The first time that we’ve used a photograph on a license plate. It’s a really clear view of this majestic looking bighorn with an enviable set of horns.

This popular fund-raising program started with the horned lizard plate, first offered in 2000.

It’s been quite amazing to watch the program grow. We now have nine plates and within this period of time we’ve raised nearly 9 million dollars.

Each conservation license plate costs just $30 in addition to the vehicle registration fee. $22 goes directly to help fund conservation efforts in Texas. Motorists can order a plate anytime for their vehicle, motorcycle or trailer; it’s not necessary to wait for a renewal notice. Go to any county tax office or conservationplate.org for your plates.

If you have a deer plate already or one of our other plates, I’m sure that there’s another vehicle around that could use a handsome looking desert bighorn sheep on it.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

The State Bighorn Sheep in Texas

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
Bighorn Sheep release

Bighorn Sheep release

This is Passport to Texas

We almost lost the [Desert] Bighorn Sheep from the American landscape. What was the cause of such decline?

Primarily the introduction of domestic sheep and goats into Bighorn habitat. Diseases that domestic sheep and goats had that Bighorns had not been exposed to. Net wire fencing has also been associated domestic sheep and goat industry that prevented Bighorn movement. And then unregulated hunting.

Froylan Hernandez is Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Desert Bighorn program leader. He is one of many individuals tasked with returning Bighorn to their native habitat and things are going well.

So what we are doing now is translocating free ranging animals into unpopulated habitats… we’ve been able to restore sheep to three mountain ranges that haven’t seen Bighorns in over 60 years in the last 8-10 years.

Bighorn still face many challenges, but the future looks bright.

Luckily we don’t have the problems that you see in other states as far as disease goes. And so we are not immune to that but we certainly don’t have those problems. But yeah, I’m very hopeful.

Things are looking good for Bighorn sheep populations but there is a lot of work still left to restore balance back to our Texas landscapes.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Habitat and Turkey Restoration

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019
A fine looking turkey gobbler.

A gobbler in its natural habitat.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas has three sub-species of Turkey: the Rio Grande is the most abundant, followed by the Eastern and then by the Merriam. Without good habitat, none will thrive.

They have to have good structural cover.

Jason Hardin, Turkey Program Leader at TPW, says this may include low-growing, woody cover for nesting.

It provides like an umbrella that they sit underneath to protect from avian predators and then also weather elements. And then also, grasses, weeds, forbes growing up to provide vertical cover.

Think of woody cover as you would a deer blind: you can see out, but nothing sees in. This feature is critical when hens are on nests and raising poults. The biggest threat to good turkey recruitment (nest success and poult survival) overall is weather.

Because that nesting rate, re-nesting rate, poult survival—all that’s driven essentially by moisture and the climate. So, if we have three years of drought, you’re going to see that Rio Grande type turkey population begin to decline. So, it’s something we try to pay attention to. And over a long term—five ten years—is there something beyond weather that’s causing a shift in that population.

In addition, the lack of fire to burn out dense understory growth from an abundance of rain, impacts Eastern turkey habitat. The value of fire when managing habitat—that’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration Program Supports our Series.

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