Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

Get to Know Coastal Fisheries

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Texas Fisheries Coastal Ecosystems Map

Texas Fisheries Coastal Ecosystems Map

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife achieves its conservation and regulatory goals via input from its various divisions, including Coastal Fisheries.

We work mainly on the coast with saltwater fishing, conservation, habitat, wildlife, marine life – anything that’s along the coast.

Julie Hagen is social media specialist for Coastal Fisheries. Researchers from the division’s eight field offices do their work on the water.

They are going out into the bay systems, into the Gulf. And they’re monitoring our marine resources: the fish, the habitat… They’re constantly going out and doing surveys. And so, they’re testing the water for salinity; they’re gathering fish and different marine life, collecting their weight, their sizes, and their ages. We’re collecting all that data for a very large dataset that we use for marine monitoring resources.

Once collected, the data doesn’t languish on a spreadsheet collecting dust.

With all the data that we get, we can go back, and if we need to make any changes to the regulations—we can do that. For instance, we were seeing the flounder population decreasing over the past few decades. So, we made some changes, and we’re seeing the population go up.

Monitoring, surveys and adjusting regulations allows TPW to maintain healthy coastal ecosystems for all.

So, we’re constantly making sure that we have the right regulations in place so that we can still go out and fish, but that we’re also not harming the resource.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program support our series.

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

Angler Legacy Program

Monday, June 6th, 2016
Image courtesy

Image courtesy

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re a seasoned angler, put your skills to good use.

We really encourage the avid angler to introduce fishing to at least one new person a year. And there’d be no better time to do that than during National Fishing and Boating Week…

National Fishing and Boating week is now through June 12th, and it’s a project of the non-profit Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, or RBFF. Frank Peterson is president and CEO. He invites anglers who are passionate about sharing the sport with others to join the Anglers’ Legacy Movement.

If they go to our website, they can join the anglers’ legacy movement. We have over 213-thousand ambassadors around the country who have taken a pledge to introduce fishing to someone new.

On average members of the Anglers’ Legacy movement introduce more than three new people to fishing each year.

Another interesting stat on our Ambassador program is that over 70% of the people they introduce to the sport are under the age of 18. So they’re helping to ensure the future of angling and boating in this country.

So introduce someone to fishing this week.

That would be a great week to just say, hey, I’m going to do something for young people; I’m going to do something for the sport.

Go to for more information about the Anglers’ Legacy Movement. That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram
For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Benefits of Winter Beachcombing

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Spirula shells. Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm

Spirula shells. Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm

This is Passport to Texas

Before you sell seashells by the seashore, you first have to find them. Surprisingly, summer beachcombing may not yield the results you desire.

I feel the best time to go shelling is in the wintertime.

Paul Hammerschmidt is a lifelong shell collector and former coastal fisheries biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says winter storms churn up the Gulf bottom, sending marine critters and their calciferous containments onto the beach. To improve your chances of finding a variety of intact shells, Hammerschmidt says stay clear of crowded beaches.

If you get a chance to go to some more isolated beaches, like down on Padres island, or something like that, where the population of humans is not quite so thick, you’ll have a much better chance of finding some really unusual shells.

Such as a pretty little shell called baby ears—which looks like…well…baby ears. Or, there’s another special shell worth searching for called spirula.

And it’s a coiled, snail-like shell. But it doesn’t belong to a snail—it belongs to a little squid. And it’s inside the squid, and when the squid dies, that little thing has a lot of chambers in it with gas, and it floats and washes up on the beach. Those are very pretty, bright white, and they’re very fragile, so you have to be careful with them.

This time of year, before it warms up, is a terrific time to go beach-combing.

That’s our show for today…remember: Life’s Better Outside.

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

Shell Collecting Tips

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
Shells one might find on the Texas coast.

Shells one might find on the Texas coast.

This is Passport to Texas

Nobody thinks twice about collecting shells from the beach. But I started to wonder if it’s really okay since beaches are public land.

It’s okay to collect shells. The ones that are broken and come apart, they create the sand that’s out there, but there is no law against it [collecting].

Paul Hammerschmidt is a lifelong shell collector, and former coastal fisheries biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says collect responsibly to avoid creating problems for the environment or marine animals.

I highly recommend that you only take shells that are from dead animals—not live animals.

How can you determine if something is still alive? In the case of the popular sand dollar, small spines cover the shells of living animals…so look for smooth, spineless shells. If, like me, you’ve never found a sand dollar on the beach—there’s good reason for it.

I think it’s because everybody wants to get a sand dollar. And, too, they’re another very fragile shell. And when the waves are strong, they’ll get broken up, and you’ll just see fragments of them. A lot of times, the best time to find a sand dollar, is after a storm—and then very early in the morning—before anybody else gets out on the beach.

When and where to go shelling on tomorrow’s show.

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

TPW TV: Oil Spill Team

Friday, February 12th, 2016


This is Passport to Texas

On March 22nd, 2014 two vessels collided in the Houston ship channel. And that’s when the TPW Oil Spill Response team sprang to action.

[Winston Denton] There was a timing issue with an incoming inbound ship and a barge and tug crossing the channel.

[Steven Mitchell] The crew members started reporting that they had oil leaking from the barge.

[Rebbecca Hensley] We had about 170,000 gallons of fuel that was spilled into the ship channel.

[Don Pitts] Any large spill like this, we get notified by the Coast Guard or the General Land Office to come and assist in the role of Natural Resource Advisors.

[Heather Biggs] Since it was a large event, we did pull people from Austin, from Corpus, even down from Brownsville we had folks coming in to help us.

[Angela Schrift] We coordinated, figured out what we’d need. Got the materials together and got down to the coast as soon as we could.

Meet the team, and find out what happened next, when you view their story next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series on PBS.

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