Archive for the 'Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program' Category

The Secret Lives of Marsh Birds

Thursday, November 21st, 2019
Least Bittern

Least Bittern

This is Passport to Texas

Did you know there’s a secret gang of aviators hiding out on the Texas Coast?

They’re not often seen. They’re more often heard.

Trey Barron is a Wildlife Diversity Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He’s talking about the secret life of Marsh Birds.

Marsh birds are typically thought of as species like Rails. A lot of other species that inhabit the marsh that are secretive as well, like some of the Bitterns, and they’re one that are very hard to monitor for because they spend time in habitats that you just can’t walk to or drive to. You have to be in a boat or trompin’ through the marsh.

The Marsh Bird population has steadily declined over the years primarily due to habitat loss. And while some species are doing good in Texas, their decreased population along other coastal regions may cause them to be federally protected.

There’s some species that have been proposed at the federal level, the Black Rail, as threatened. It seems to be doing quite well in Texas, but the population has declined significantly on the Eastern coast and so the more we can find out about that species the better we can provide better habitat for the rail.

Continuing to protect marsh habitats will be key to sustaining Marsh Bird populations in Texas.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds Marsh Bird research in Texas.

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

TPW TV–The Dove Hunter

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
James Montgomery

James Montgomery practicing with his rifle before dove season.

This is Passport to Texas

You know I grew up playing soccer and football. I missed out on Boy Scouts. Never got involved in the outdoors. Didn’t find hunting until my mid-20s or so.

Austinite James Montgomery is a business and family man…he’s also a coach and a dove hunter. We meet him the week of August 25th on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

Getting away from the everyday hustle and bustle of going to work. Leaving the job behind. It feels good to get away and just experience nature.

Shaun Oldenburger is upland game bird program manager for parks and wildlife.

The great thing about dove hunting is you don’t need to grow up in it. As far as having a place to go, there’s a lot of public opportunities available for dove hunting that Texas Parks and Wildlife provide. For the most part, you just need some shells and a shotgun and a hunting license. You can be good to go and have a great opportunity to get in the outdoors and get an experience and get the introduction to hunting in Texas.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Hatchery Raised Sea Trout for Better Fishing

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Sunrise on a jetty, ready to catch dinner.

This is Passport to Texas

Regulation changes to spotted sea trout, like bag and size limits, is an important tool in our tool box for managing saltwater fish species. A robust a hatchery program is another.

Spotted seatrout is this most popular recreational sportfish out there. So, there’s a lot of pressure on these fish.

Ashley Fincannon is hatchery manager at the Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi; it’s there where they, raise spotted seatrout for stocking…specifically to the Lower Laguna Madre. That bay system also has a five-fish daily bag limit.

The Lower Laguna Madre was the first bay system to go under the five-fish limit and that was when we really ramped up our contribution down there.

Earlier this year, Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed a new regulation to change the bag limit in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake on the upper coast from 10 fish a day to five—as it is in all other bay systems. That’s a good thing.

Anecdotally I know I’ve heard from the fishermen when you go stock that they are catching larger trout now and that the trout fishing is better than ever in the Lower Laguna Madre.

The new bag limits go into effect September first. Learn how we regulate and raise spotted sea trout and also find a tasty recipe for it on our podcast Under the Texas Sky; find it wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series.

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

Spotted Sea Trout Regulation Change

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

This is why we fish.

This is Passport to Texas

Their abundance, eagerness to hit natural and artificial baits, and their flavor when cooked make the spotted sea trout popular with coastal anglers like Charles O’Neal.

I am just a guy married to a good woman who allows me to fish 150 plus days a year.

We caught up with Charles in February of this year at a public meeting about changes to fishing regulations for spotted seatrout.

I am a passionate spotted seatrout guy. I fish from Brownsville to Alabama.

Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed a new regulation to change the bag limit in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake on the upper coast from 10 fish a day to five—as it is in all other bay systems. During that meeting Charles and other anglers made their feelings known to TPW and to the commissioners who made the final decision.

I think after many, many hours of research that this data does not support the reduction.

After careful review, the commission thought differently. But, Charles O’Neal remains a fan.

More recreational anglers need to come to meetings, stand-up, participate in surveys. And go to the public meeting and get involved with TPWD. They’re not bad people. They give me every piece of information I ask for.

Learn how we regulate and raise spotted sea trout and get a great recipe for it on our podcast Under the Texas Sky; wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series.

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

Aoudad Sheep Study

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
Aoudad Sheep

Photo by Glen Mills, TPWD

This is Passport to Texas

Aoudads, also known as Barbary Sheep, were originally imported to Texas from North Africa as game animal over 50 years ago. But for native species like Mule deer and Desert Bighorn Sheep, the ever-increasing Aoudad population has become a threat.

They pose, not only a competition threat, as far as competition for resource, but they can also be socially disruptive.

Froylan Hernandez is Desert Bighorn program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife. His team initiated a tri-species study to determine if Aoudads could also introduce a disease threat.

This is the first project of its kind of Bighorn Sheep, Mule deer and Aoudad. We’re looking at some of these areas that have Aoudad infestations and taking tissue samples and investigating potential diseases that could pose threats to our native wildlife.

Disease aside, the sheer number of Aoudad have already changed the landscape.

Sometimes we’ll see them in herds of two to three hundred in one herd and so they can definitely degrade the habitat rather quickly. And it’s almost like a gravel bed out on the hillside. It’s peeled, I mean essentially bare ground.

The study will provide valuable information to biologists and help educate landowners on the importance of managing Aoudad populations.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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