Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

A Coveted Culinary Experience

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
Chef Jesse Griffiths.

Chef Jesse Griffiths.

This is Passport to Texas

Llano Springs Ranch, an award-winning property at the headwaters of the South Llano River, is the site of a coveted culinary retreat with chef Jesse Griffiths.

We’ve partnered with Jesse and Explore Ranches to offer an opportunity to learn about foraging and preparation of wild game on the South Llano River.

Jay Kleberg is Director of Conservation Initiatives at Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the non-profit arm of Texas Parks and Wildlife. Anyone who becomes a foundation member by March 8th is entered in a drawing for the retreat.

On this particular retreat we’re actually going to harvest that animal before the group comes, but it will be fresh. And then all the additional items that we’ll pair with both axis deer and with fish from the Llano River, we’ll harvest while we’re there on the property.

The culinary retreat is April 24th – 26th.

If they don’t win this particular experience, they have the opportunity to be entered into raffles for future experiences [in 2019]. The dollars that they’re contributing to become members are going to projects that benefit all Texans and wildlife and wild places.

Become a foundation member by March 8th to be entered in the drawing for a culinary retreat with Chef Jesse Griffiths. Details at wewillnotbetamed.org.

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

Something Bigger Than Yourself

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
Paddling at Llano Springs.

Paddling at Llano Springs.

This is Passport to Texas

As the non-profit partner of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation raises funds to support agency initiatives to preserve the state’s wild places and wild things.

Like conserving Texas rivers, and restoring pronghorn to the plains of West Texas. And, we led the effort on the acquisition of Powderhorn Ranch.

Jay Kleberg is Director of Conservation Initiatives at Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation . The Powderhorn Ranch acquisition, alone, was a 50-million-dollar project to preserve 17-thousand acres along the Texas coast; land that will become a state park. They’re able to do this important work with a dedicated membership base that is passionate about the outdoors.

In Texas, people are passionate about wildlife and conservation and water and open spaces. And so, I’m really proud of all of the members we have. And this year, we’ve started a membership awareness campaign and through We Will Not Be Tamed, and our website wewillnotbetamed.org, folks can join as members of the foundation.

Become a member by March 8th to be entered into a drawing for a coveted culinary retreat at Llano Springs Ranch with celebrated Chef, Jesse Griffiths, and his New School of Traditional Cookery.

Details at wewillnotbetamed.org.

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

Why Endangered Species Matter

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Edwards Plateau

This is Passport to Texas

The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan outlines necessary strategies to ensure the survival of rare, threatened and endangered species that depend on the Aquifer and the San Marcos and Comal Rivers…while permitting continued use of the resource by the public.

There’s federal law requiring this, but it’s the right thing to do in terms of protecting the resource for all of us into the future.

Cindy Loeffler is water resources branch chief at Texas Parks and Wildlife and one of the architects of the protection plan. Convincing people to do the right thing based on the needs of a rare species they may never see can be a hard sell.

The plan includes ongoing water conservation, removing invasive species, and declaring a portion of the San Marcos River a state scientific area. Doing so would make it illegal to uproot endangered Texas Wild Rice.

Loeffler says these protected species are indicators of a healthy ecosystem—and that benefits everyone.

By providing these protections for these species, that helps ensure that the San Marcos river, the Comal River will keep flowing. Keeping these springs flowing is really at the heart and soul of the work done by the recovery implementation program. And so that benefits the species, of course, but also benefits people as well.

Find a link to the plan’s website at passporttotexas.org.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Strategies for Protecting the Edwards Aquifer

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
Edwards Plateau

Edwards Plateau

This is Passport to Texas

Two million people – from Central to Southwest Texas – depend on the Edwards Aquifer for their drinking water.

It also supplies important water sources for industry, agriculture, recreation…a number of things.

Cindy Loeffler, water resources branch chief at Texas Parks and Wildlife, says eight federally listed endangered species call the aquifer home; some of them exist in this location only. The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan intends to protect them, and allow Texans’ continued use of the shared resource by implementing a mixture of strategies.

Water conservation is a key part of it…but also [part of it is] looking at different ways to manage water. For example, we do currently have different levels of conservation that kick in to action as drought increases, but also many measures to help make the ecosystems more resilient. Things like removing non-native species, [and] helping to restore habitat that’s been compromised. One notable thing, especially for folks who recreate on the San Marcos River that’s been done, is to create a state scientific area that makes it unlawful to uproot Texas Wild Rice, a federally protected plant.

It is easy to be dismissive of a plan to protect species which exist in very small numbers or that we do not often see. Tomorrow we talk about the value of these species.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Maintaining Ecosystem Balance

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Edwards Plateau, the contributing zone to the aquifer.

This is Passport to Texas

An ecosystem is a complex set of interrelationships among plants, animals, microorganisms, land, and water. And Texas Parks and Wildlife is a collaborator on a conservation plan to protect a special ecosystem: the Southern Edwards Aquifer.

The Edwards aquifer is home to many, many rare species, including eight federally listed threatened and endangered species.

Cindy Loeffler is water resources branch chief at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Some of the most visible endangered species associated with the Edwards Aquifer are Texas Wild Rice – it’s only found in the upper two miles of the San Marcos River. Also, [of importance are] fountain darters, small fish that are found in the San Marcos River and the Comal River, and a number of cave-dwelling species you might not see just recreating in the rivers – but they’re there.

Loeffler worked on the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan. Some of the species she mentioned are unique to the Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem.

It’s important to protect these species for that reason, but also, this is a major water supply for many of us here in Texas, so finding a way to share that resource –finding the proper balance – that’s what the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program has been about.

What’s in the plan to help protect endangered species? We look at that tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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