Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

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

Talkin’ Turkey via Wildlife Restoration

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Turkey release.

Turkey release.

This is Passport to Texas

In the 1930s, it became evident that certain game animals were in decline due, in part, to unregulated overharvest.

In 1937, the Federal Government passed the Pittman-Robertson Act, thus creating an excise tax on the purchase of ammunition and hunting equipment.

Today, millions of dollars of funds generated by these taxes are used to manage and restore both game and non-game species.

One of Texas’ ongoing restoration projects involves the eastern wild turkey. Historically, the species occupied nearly 30 million acres in eastern Texas, but unregulated overharvest of both turkeys and timber led to their near extinction from that region. In 1942 there were fewer than 100 eastern wild turkeys remaining.

From 1979 to 2003, Texas parks and Wildlife Department translocated an estimated 7,000 wild-captured birds into 58 counties in central and east Texas, eventually seeing the population climb to 10,000–which is slow progress.

In 2014 the agency began a “Super Stocking” initiative, translocating 80 eastern turkey at a time at selected sites. Production and survival of the birds has vastly improved with this method. Thus, creating a brighter future for this big bird in Texas.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and provides support for the translocation and surveying of eastern wild turkey.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti