Archive for the 'Conservation' Category

TPW TV — Building Habitat for Fish

Friday, March 2nd, 2018
Creating fish habitat in aging reservoirs.

Creating fish habitat in aging reservoirs.

This is Passport to Texas

Most freshwater fishing in Texas happens in reservoirs.

So we want to make sure we conserve the reservoirs and these fishing opportunities by restoring habitat.

Marcos de Jesus is with For Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries. On next  week’s For Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS, the agency and its partners renew underwater habitat in reservoirs for better angling.

We can always supplement the woody debris, the vegetation, or any type of cover that fish need by cutting something like cedar trees. We can also use artificial habitat that different commercial producers make. These things are put together to mimic trees, that creates cover.

Although TPW has the expertise…

These projects can become expensive and they are labor intensive so we need partnerships to actually get these great projects on the water.

Partnerships with groups like Friends of Reservoirs.

Friends of Reservoirs is a great group. And these groups are usually composed of stakeholders that have the common interest of conservation and fishing. So they team up with Texas Parks and Wildlife; we do some great projects around the state.

See reservoir renovation in action next week on the For Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

If you want to get involved and help TPWD with conservation initiatives, feel free to call local district biologist. And get involved and help us in conservation. We can’t do it alone.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Habitat for Monarchs and other Pollinators

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018
Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly on milkweed.

This is Passport to Texas

For as long as biologists have been studying the iconic monarch butterfly, they’ve come up with more questions than answers about its biology and basic needs. The biggest question: do land management practices, like controlled burns and reseeding with native plants improve monarch habitat?

We have lots of questions about patch size, too.

That’s Ben Hutchins, the state’s invertebrate biologist. So, what is patch size?

When I say ‘patch size’ what I mean is, how far will a monarch travel to get from one plot of nectar producing plants to another? How big of a prairie do we need to support healthy monarch populations? How many milkweed in it? What density do we need across the landscape to promote healthy breeding populations?

Expansive patches of prairie are best, but hard to come by due to urbanization. Having said that—all is not lost.

Even urban environments have lots of potential for habitat for monarchs moving through; so you have urban corridors. So, there’s no property that’s too big or too small to help out monarchs and other urban pollinators.

That means even planting native nectar producing plants and milkweed in empty lots, on building rooftops, or in containers on your downtown balcony—you are playing a role in supporting monarch and native pollinators.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Questions About Monarch Butterflies

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Monarchs

Monarchs-Photo by Monika Maeckle

This is Passport to Texas

Here’s what you need to know about scientific discovery: it starts with a question. And that leads to—not answers —not immediately, anyway. It leads to more questions.

They just keep coming.

Ben Hutchins, the state’s invertebrate biologist, has been asking a lot of questions lately about monarch butterflies.

That’s right. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. And so, many of us that are involved in monarch conservation have been to a number of conferences, meetings, workshops, symposia. And a big emphasis is on all of the questions that we still have about monarch biology. I think the biggest question, particularly, for conservationists for natural resource managers is: what can we do to make the landscape good monarch habitat. How can we be good stewards of the land to make sure monarchs are getting what they need?

See what I mean?

We have lots of questions about how particular land management practices, like using controlled burns, or reseeding with native plants—how those practices can best be used to produce good monarch habitat. We have lots of questions about patch size, too.

And if your next question is: what does Ben Hutchins mean by patch size? You’ll have to listen next time to find out.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Feel the (Prescribed) Burn

Monday, February 19th, 2018
Prescribed burn underway.

Prescribed burn underway.

This is Passport to Texas

Man mimics nature when he uses fire as a land management tool. He does this with controlled burning, and with prescribed fire.

David Riskin, director of natural resources for state parks, says there is a difference between the two.

Controlled burning is a term that people use that you start at part A, and you burn until you get to part B. Professional land managers use the term prescribed fire because you have specific objectives, you have specific outcomes, you burn under very specific conditions. And so a prescription is a planning document… you lay everything out ahead of time and you then implement it with very specific objectives in mind.

Those objectives naturally have to do with land management, as well as a range of various objectives a landowner may hope to achieve.

There can be a whole series of objectives. From very simple things like fuel load reduction. You can have specific habitat objectives…to change the vegetation structure and composition to support waterfowl, or to support antelope, or lesser prairie chickens…or Houston toads for that matter.

Learn more about prescribed fire on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Pronghorn Restoration and Rural Economy

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope

This is Passport to Texas

Wildlife biologist Shawn Gray finds pronghorns fascinating, and hopes you will, too.

The pronghorn is a unique mammal of North America; it’s the only one found in its family. It’s the fastest mammal in North America. It’s a big game species.

Gray is the pronghorn program leader and oversees the Pronghorn Restoration Project. Because it’s is a game species, hunting them should pick up as their population grows, thus benefitting local communities.

In 2008, we issued probably like 800 buck only hunting permits. And, shoot, in 2009 or 10, we were issuing less than 100. And there’s a lot to that. Not only is it the money that they get for trespass access for hunting, but the hunters come into the local communities and spend time and spend money. So, there’s a lot of those economic impacts as well with a much reduced pronghorn population out here.

The Trans-Pecos pronghorn population dipped below 3K in 2012, and Gray says through translocation and natural reproduction, they hope to see the number rise to 10K.

Most of the local communities in the Trans-Pecos really miss the pronghorn. And they really want to see pronghorn back on the landscape at numbers that they are used to seeing.

With the continued success of the restoration project, they may get their wish.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds pronghorn restoration in Texas.

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