Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

TPW Magazine: Wind and Wildlife

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Pensacal wind farm and avian radar.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas is the number-one wind energy state; but what’s the effect of wind farms on bats and birds? Writer Russel Roe addresses this matter in an article for the March issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The stakes are high when it comes to wind and wildlife, especially as you consider that Texas has the largest population of bats in the world and the nation’s highest diversity of bird species.

Although clean, renewable wind energy offers benefits to the environment, you’ll learn in Roe’s article that it does so at the cost to wildlife. Hundreds of thousands of birds and bats die annually, their fates sealed when they fly into the turning blades of gargantuan turbines.

Bats are hardest hit—no pun intended. With more than twice the number of fatalities than birds.

Roe writes that wind companies and conservation groups agree that responsible siting of wind turbines away from areas with high wildlife activity is a key first step to reducing the problem. TPWD is working on its own set of wind energy guidelines and hopes to release them sometime in 2019.

Meanwhile, read Russel Roe’s article about Wind and Wildlife in the March issue of Texas parks and Wildlife Magazine. You’ll also learn about research on ultrasonic acoustic deterrents that reduced bat fatalities by 46 percent.

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

TPWD Kills and Spills Team

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Spill on Sabine River with containment booms

This is Passport to Texas

If thousands of fish were to wash up dead on the Texas coast, biologists from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Kills and Spills Team would be dispatched to the scene.

The Kills and Spills Team is a program in the Resource Protection division of the department, and is responsible for responding to fish kills, wildlife kills, oil spills and hazardous chemical spills. The goal is to protect fish and wildlife from impacts caused by man-made pollution

While large fish kills attract the most attention, uncovering sources of ongoing low-level pollution is just as important.

Some of the most common fish kills that occur near communities are often small—sometimes associated with leaking sewer lines or overflowing manholes. These are segments of the waste-water collection and transport system that can fail. But not all fish kills are caused by pollution. It’s not uncommon to see dead fish when temperatures suddenly drop. Although the majority of fish kills we see are due to natural causes, pollution may be a factor.

TPWD encourages the public to call anytime it sees dead fish in the water and along shorelines. Doing so allows the agency to send out biologists to assess the situation.

The Sportfish Restoration supports our series

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

TPW TV: Black Capped Vireo

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019
This black-capped vireo male is a passerine species.

This black-capped vireo male is a passerine species.

This is Passport to Texas

In the Texas Hill Country, biologists are keeping track of a Texas treasure: the Black Capped Vireo.

I stop in my tracks every time I hear one [vireo] Up…there’s that bird. Right there!

Jeff Foreman is a Wildlife Biologist at Mason Mountain WMA. For many years the black cap was an endangered species, but over the past 30 years this little bird has made a big comeback.

Healthy nesting habitat is very much required for the vireo’s sustainability. They really like these low shrubs with spaces in between. They can fly in and around and catch insects.

Historically vireos thrived in the scattered shrubs and open grassland that stretched across Central Texas. But with European settlement came grazing by cattle, goats and sheep.

…sometimes the populations of those livestock weren’t kept in check. They just ate the homes out from under the vireo.

Fire suppression, white-tailed deer, and the brown-headed cowbird, also played parts in reducing the vireo’s population. It was listed in endangered 1987. The good news is, it was delisted in April of last year.

Find out how biologists worked this magic the week of January 27 on the TPW TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Becoming a Texas Master Naturalist

Thursday, January 17th, 2019
Photo from the Texas Master Naturalist Facebook Page

Photo from the Texas Master Naturalist Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

There’s a training program for people with a passion for nature. It’s called the Texas Master Naturalist Program.

The Texas Master Naturalist Program is a volunteer based training program; we develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is the program’s coordinator. They train roughly 700 volunteers annually, and have training sessions annually.

Our curriculum that is used for the training, has 26 chapters in it. So, they march through those 26 chapters all with a large context of the state of Texas, but then developed even more within their local ecosystem.

Once trained, volunteers provide 40 hours of community outreach, and take 8 hours of advanced training annually. The program’s not just about taking or facilitating classes. It’s also about discovery.

Quite a few of our Master Naturalists have identified new species of plants or new species of animals located within the state of Texas.

Are you ready to help Mother Nature, and to make a name for yourself – or a new species? The Texas Master Naturalist program can help. Find a training session at

That’s our show…brought to you in part by RAM Trucks. Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Master Naturalists Share a Passion for Nature

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Master Naturalists in their element. Photo courtesy Texas Master Naturalists’ Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

When you’re passionate about something, it’s hard to keep it to yourself. And when that passion leads you to become a Texas Master Naturalist, you don’t have to.

We develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is Texas master Naturalist program coordinator. People of all ages and from all walks of life may train to become Master Naturalists, although retirees are strong within their ranks.

We do ask that each Master Naturalist provides 40 hours of volunteer service yearly along with their continuing education of 8 hours of advanced training every year to maintain that certification. That is difficult to do on a full-time employee based status – if you’re a full-time worker. But, we do have many master naturalists who are able to juggle the load. So, we do have young and old.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, Master Naturalists have given back to Texas in millions of meaningful ways. Find out how you can train to become a Master Naturalist at

We record our series in Austin at the Block House and Joel Block engineers our show.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti