Archive for the 'Land/Water Plan' Category

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.

Conservation: Money for Quail

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Bobwhite quail in Texas

Bobwhite quail in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

There’s new hope for bobwhite quail.

13—Four million dollars of the upland game bird stamp fund was authorized by the legislature this past session to specifically go towards further developing this concept of focus areas for bobwhite quail and grassland birds.

The “focus area” concept is one TPW upland game bird program leader, Robert Perez, has worked on for years.

08—Well, a focus area is an intensive effort within a small area to demonstrate that quail restoration can be successful.

Most focus areas are east of the I-35: places where quail are gone, said Perez, but they haven’t been gone long.

23— One of our focus areas in the Columbus-Seely area, southeast Texas. Another is the Navarro-Ellis area, along the I-35 corridor where Waxahachie is. Another is West of Dallas a good ways over towards Wichita Falls, around Clay County and south. So these are the front lines of bobwhite decline; birds are still around, but they’re noticeably rarer.

The agency awarded 15 grants, with two more in process, to nonprofits, universities and others for grassland restoration. Grantees will use the $4 million dollars over a two year grant period.

19—But that doesn’t mean that the project is over at the end of two years. Because the impacts – when you start to turn the dirt or manipulate habitat – those effects go on for years. And so what’s most important is to continue to monitor – think of the future beyond those two years – to really understand and paint a good picture of what the impacts are of these types of manipulations.

Find quail information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Conservation: TPW Foundation

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Working with Landowners on Conservation

Working with Landowners on Conservation

This is Passport to Texas

Texans don’t seem to be familiar with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

03— We’re a well-kept secret – unfortunately.

Anne Brown is Executive Director of the Foundation.

14—Our mission is to provide private support to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to manage and conserve natural and cultural resources of Texas. But, we always like to say we leverage private philanthropy with public funding for impactful change in Texas.

And that means reaching out to potential donors to support the agency’s “aspirational” projects.

12— We do not raise money for operating – mowing the lawn and things like that. We choose high priority projects of the department, and we focus on raising private dollars to help support those projects.

We’ll learn how projects are decided and how strong partnerships make them a reality.

10— The first thing we do is we sit down with the department and their staff, and based on the direction they’re getting from the commission – what are important projects that rise to the top as a priority for Texas as a whole.

Meantime, find more information about the foundation in the April issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

We record our series in Austin at The Block House. Joel Block engineers our program.

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

Conservation: Land Restoration

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Returning land to near its original state –it’s condition prior to farming, grazing or development –takes years of planning and preparation.

07—Practically speaking it might take you a couple years to do some habitat assessment…to do some botanical assessment…

David Riskind… director of the natural resources program for state parks… says in most cases we can only approximate what the land looked like.

06—Most of the lands were previously forested…they were timbered…they were ranched…they’ve been modified.

One reason it takes two or more years to conduct assessments has to do with the state’s climate extremes.

14—We might acquire a piece of property, for example, during a drought year. We’d like to see what it looks like when it’s wet. So, before we do anything, we want to see what’s there. And quite often, we’re surprised at what recovers on a site after it has a chance to rest for a while.

After the land has had a chance to rest, then assessments take place.

13—We will do our baseline assessments. We may do some quantitative work… And then, for example, if it’s a grassland restoration project, it might take us another couple of years to gather the kinds of seed that we need to do restoration.

Find landowner information on the TPW website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program…supports our series and funds diverse conservations projects in Texas. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Conservation: Land Management

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Well managed land.

Lone Star Land Steward statewide winner 2007. Gary and Sue Price

This is Passport to Texas

The concept of land management and restoration varies depending on landowner objectives.

09—It depends of whether you’re trying to restore forest, whether you’re trying to restore woodland, whether you’re trying to restore marsh or whether you’re trying grassland.

David Riskind is director of the natural resources program for state parks. Landowners managing for conservation purposes use similar strategies as other landowners, with one important difference.

38—They use a lot of the same strategies as other landowners do. Whether you’re in the forest business, the timber industry, the grass industry. But your objectives are different. In other words, you might weight it towards endangered species; you might weight it toward watershed protection, it might be toward songbird protection. But increasingly today, more and more people are getting involved in what’s called eco-system management. That is, you have an integrated approach. You include soil, you include wildlife, you include watersheds, you include hydrology and you include man as well.

Ecosystem management means addressing the long-term consequences of today’s decisions, and thinking of resources as interrelating parts of systems rather than as individual components to be managed separately.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and supports diverse conservation projects in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti