Archive for the 'Water' Category

TPW TV – West Texas Wetland

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Curved Bill Thrasher at Christmas Mountains Oasis

This is Passport to Texas

In a region best known for its rugged terrain and dry desert ecology, avid birders, Carolyn Ohl-Johnson and her late husband Sherwood, created something magical in the Christmas Mountains of West Texas.

It’s a refuge for birds, butterflies.

Started in the 1990s, the couple developed ways to capture water that fell or flowed on their property.

And I told him how we could put in some diversion dams, and he just hopped right on that without greasing his equipment the same day! And so we started out with one tank that wasn’t nearly big enough.

So began a lifelong passion to establish an oasis in the middle of the desert to draw birds to her West Texas home. The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS features Carolyn’s oasis on this week’s show.

I can be sitting here, just looking at the same old stuff, and bet money that nothing interesting’s gonna come along. And there, all of a sudden, oh my gosh, there’s a lifer! But it won’t happen if I’m not sitting here looking, so what do you do! You sure don’t get much work done, that’s for sure.

Tune into the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS through August fourth to see not only Carolyn’s oasis, but another lush wetland project in West Texas. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Bay Seining in Texas

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Examining marine life in sein net.

This is Passport to Texas

We call searching the Internet surfing. But, we call searching a net that’s been in the surf, seining.

Seining is dragging a long net through the water, catching small fish and aquatic animals.

Hans Haglund is superintendent at Galveston Island State Park. He says the bay waters are teaming with all kind of life. And he’s taken more than a few visitors seining in Galveston Bay.

We do it to help educate about the bay, the wetlands, the environment out here; to show people how important they are, how productive they are, what these areas do for us, why we might need to protect them and look out for them.

Abundant, healthy wetlands can help to mitigate potential flood damage, as well as serve as nurseries for marine life. Haglund describes visitor reactions to what they catch in their seine nets.

Oh, I never know that was out there, and I never knew you could get so much in a little area. Even people that have been using the bay a lot – a lot of fishermen – don’t realize how productive these areas are.

Some of the more unusual fish Haglund says they see include the pipe fish and lizard fish.

Summer’s here, and Galveston Island State Park offers a great coastal getaway. Learn more at texasstateparks.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series…and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

Releasing Aquarium Fish Not Humane

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Aquarium in TV. Image: Furnish Burnish

This is Passport to Texas

How far would you travel to ensure the future of your favorite exotic aquarium fish?

We had some folks telling us that they would go as far as 50 miles to find an appropriate body of water.

Releasing pet fish into Texas waters when you no longer want them, is not a humane act. Exotic aquaria species disrupt natural ecosystems.

When we spoke, Priscilla Weeks was a research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center. At the time, her team used a TPWD grant to research why people release their fish into Texas waters.

I think there might be a stereotype where folks think that it is easy, emotionally, just to release a fish. But actually what we’re finding is folks are very attached to their pets.

According to research, whether a person gives up their fish depends on personal preference like its behavior or physical attributes.

And what we’re finding is that different individuals prefer different attributes of a fish. So, it’s not necessarily that it grows too big in my tank, because I may like a big fish.

If those attributes change, sometimes so does the owners’ interest in the animal.

Releasing a fish is not the only option when you no longer want it. Weeks says you can euthanize it, but less drastic is taking it back to the pet store.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Not Your Grandpa’s Life Jacket

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Everyone on your boat should wear a life jacket.

This is Passport to Texas

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, personal flotation devices were like big orange clown collars.

Those of us that are a little older, we always remember that bright orange collar lifejacket that would hang around your neck when you were a little kid. Those are a thing of the past.

And Tim Spice should know. He oversees boater education for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Right now, there’s thin, lightweight inflatable lifejackets that look like a little belt pack Or, one that you put around your neck like a scarf. [They have] a lot of buoyancy; more buoyancy that your traditional type III lifejacket that you might see a water skier wear.

Wearing lifejackets is more than a good idea, it’s the law.

So, we recommend that everyone wear a lifejacket when they’re on the water. But the law states that if you’re under 13 years of age, and you’re underway that you have to wear a lifejacket. Other than that, the law states: readily accessible, which means you want to be able to get it quickly in an emergency. The one thing that people forget is: in an emergency people start to panic, and they try to grab a lifejacket, and then it’s very difficult to put a lifejacket on in the water.

Find information on choosing the right lifejacket for you on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.

Life Jackets Save Lives

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Everyone who goes on the water should wear a life jacket.

This is Passport to Texas

We’re on the threshold of summer; and what goes well with summer in Texas? Boating, of course. But before you get on the water, Tim Spice says: put on a life jacket.

A life jacket is something you wear that provides buoyancy if you jumped in the water or fell in the water.

Spice oversees boater education for Texas Parks and Wildlife. People make excuses to avoid wearing life jackets—including that they’re ugly—says Spice. But ask yourself this: is your street cred as a fashionista really more important than your life?

It’s one of the key components of drowning prevention. The Coast Guard estimates that 70% to 80% of the people who drown would be alive if they just wore a life jacket.

Tim Spice says, today’s life jackets are not the awkward, ill-fitting, boxy garments of a generation ago.

There are lots of new life jacket designs out there now. They don’t get in the way; they’re lightweight. Just really neat technology used today. Inflatable life jackets. And if you get into an emergency, or you’re not familiar with your surroundings—a lifejacket will be there to save your life.

“Life” is in the name, for goodness sake. Find information on choosing the right lifejacket for you and your family on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.