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

TPW TV: The Bug Man

Friday, April 20th, 2018
Dr. Grubh searching for bugs.

Dr. Grubh searching for bugs.

This is Passport to Texas

The Blanco River flood of 2015 devastated vegetation along the river banks, and demolished river substrate.

These flood levels were really huge. Regular discharge on the Blanco river is about 90cfs, which means cubic feet per second, and it peaked around 150,000 cfs.

Archis Grubh is an aquatic biologist.

 I primarily focus on the invertebrates.

He says that flood knocked out nearly 90 percent of the river’s invertebrates, which are essentially aquatic bugs.

Invertebrates are really good indicators of water quality. Because, if the water quality is going down, those are the first ones to disappear from the water.

Since the flood, Dr. Grubh’s collected specimens, which he’s taken back to his lab.

We collect three samples; we just dump all whatever we have. There’s gonna be tons of insects packed in it. It’s very important, because I’m studying and finding out what all the diversity of these invertebrates are. So, I am capturing a snapshot here and recording what all we find.

Diversity means a healthier river ecosystem overall. Grubh’s research will help in future river management.

[I want to find out] Which ones were most affected and how they are doing now.

Learn more about Dr. Grubh and his work next week on a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Less can be More with Some Rare Species

Thursday, April 19th, 2018
Tobusch fishhook cactus

Flowers of Tobusch fishhook cactus can be yellowish-green (or golden-yellow or bright yellow – not shown).

This is Passport to Texas

Sometimes the best course of action is no action at all. At least that’s the stance botanist, Jackie Poole, takes when it comes to the endangered Tobusch Fishhook Cactus and the insect grubs that eat it.

And that’s a real problem, because one of these insects is only known to lay its eggs in Tobusch Fishhook Cactus; so, it’s basically as rare as the cactus.

In the case of the Tobusch cactus – and its nemesis the Tobusch weevil – the best botanists can do is observe.

We’ve just been studying it for the last 10 or 15 years to see if there’s some kind of cyclical nature to this predator/prey relationship—where you have a big prey population buildup, like a lot of Tobusch fishhook cactus are out there, and then all of a sudden the insect population starts to boom because it has so many cactus to lay its eggs in. And then the cactus goes away and then it crashes, and then you just go through this cycle back and forth.

Other variables could also come into play to explain these fluctuations; making a hasty solution no solution at all. Patience is necessary.

That’s right. And that’s the main thing I think with endangered species. I often tell people to just to take a deep breath, because you just need to sit back and think about it and look at it and not think that the sky is falling.

Learn about rare and endangered plants on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Wildlife and the Law of Attraction

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

On which side of the fence do you imagine you will find more wildlife?

This is Passport to Texas

Habitat requirements vary between species, yet some critters make themselves at home anywhere.

Wildlife are really adaptable, and there’s going to be some wildlife that thrive in whatever type of habitat that’s provided.

Kelly Simon (SEE-mah) is an urban wildlife biologist. Even a perfectly manicured monochromatic monoculture known as lawn—will attract some wildlife.

In a typical urban area—where you’ve got really closely mowed Bermuda grass lawn, or St. Augustine lawn, and then just a few really tall mature trees and kind of nothing in the middle? That kind of habitat is really good for grackles, and pigeons, for possum and raccoon, and kind of the species that you see in a disturbed habitat.

Simon says most people don’t mind seeing those species sometimes, but not all the time.

And so what we try to do is to encourage people to create a more balanced habitat. And what I mean by that is to provide native plants that provide natural food sources—fruits, nuts, berries, leaves, etcetera—that provide a balanced source of nutrition for the animals.

This balanced habitat is called a wildscape. Find wildscape information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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

Epic Texas Challenge: Angler vs. Fish

Friday, April 13th, 2018
Bass fishing partners.

Bass fishing partners.

This is Passport to Texas

Throughout 2018, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is highlighting epic Texas challenges. In the April issue: Angler versus Fish. Largemouth Bass, to be exact.

The article, by Randy Brudnicki, takes readers on a journey through time, starting with a competition in 1955 that was the precursor of the Texas State Bass Tournament.

This year’s tournament is April 28 & 29 at Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Brudnicki asks and answers the question: what makes this tournament epic. He writes that perhaps it’s a combination of elements such as a storied history, unpredictable weather, venue vagaries and a high level of fierce competition.

Part competition, part reunion and part angler fellowship, the Texas State Bass Tournament has kept the man vs. fish vs. man challenge alive for 63 years.

The tournament includes divisions for mixed adult/child teams, senior teams, high school teams, adult teams and individual teams. Competitors range in age from 8 to 80.

Read about the trials and triumphs from past tournaments in Epic Texas Challenge: Angler vs. Fish in the April issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series

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

TPW TV: Fox Finders

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
Fox Finders of TPW TV Series on PBS

Fox Finders of TPW TV Series on PBS

This is Passport to Texas

The swift fox is one of the smallest species of the wild dog family in North America.

We’re working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to survey for swift foxes in a nine county area in the Texas Panhandle that falls within the historic distribution for this species.

Doni Schwalm is a research associate at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series follows Schwalm and her team for a segment on swift fox airing this week on PBS.

This species, from what we can tell from historic records was almost gone. We know for sure there has been a big decline historically. About 50 percent of their historic distribution now no longer has swift foxes, and where they do still exist, the population is kind of patchy and so it’s not very continuous. We think that the first and foremost thing that led to these major population declines were historic predator control programs where they were poisoning, kind of indiscriminately for wolves mostly and really just anything, and unfortunately those baits, they’re not specific. And we ended up with a lot fewer foxes that way. Of course they like grassland habitat. The more agricultural development there is, especially just like irrigated farmland, the fewer swift foxes there will be. And finally, primarily because there are no more wolves, there are way more coyotes than there used to be, and coyotes are their highest source of mortality, up to 77 percent of their mortality, so it’s a pretty big deal.

The segment Fox Finders is airing now on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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