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

The Value of Wetlands

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Cactus and wetlands along Powderhorn Lake. Photo courtesy of the nature Conservancy, Jerod Foster

This is Passport to Texas

Wetlands are the most vibrant ecosystems in nature, and play an essential role in maintaining biodiversity and water quality.

On a per acre basis, you’ll find more wildlife and organic activity in wetlands than in any other type of habitat in Texas.

As water moves through wetlands, the vegetation and organisms filter the majority of debris and other materials, as well as collect sediment.

Water comes out of a wetland cleaner than it went in; wetlands are efficient, high quality water filters.

Wetlands also help mitigate coastal flooding by absorbing excess water and reducing storm surges from hurricanes.

They also serve as nurseries for species of sport fish that have both recreational and commercial value to Texans.

Yet, wetlands are declining. Over time, this can set up a domino effect that may see future severe flooding in vulnerable areas, a reduction in clean water, and a decrease in fish for the table.

Therefore, it is vital that we understand the value of wetlands and protect and grow them in Texas and other areas where they play a dynamic role in the health of the planet.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

How to Talk Turkey for a Successful Hunt

Thursday, November 15th, 2018
The turkey of your dreams.

The turkey of your dreams.

This is Passport to Texas

Making sounds like a hen turkey can mean the difference between bagging a bird this fall and going home empty handed.

Now you want the call of a hen turkey to try and attract the Tom, or male turkey, over to your position.

Steve Hall, oversees hunter education at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Using a box call, you can make enticing sounds.

One is called the basic cluck [clucks]. Now, a cluck is a call that says: ‘Hi. I’m here.’ And if you put the cluck in a series of calls, it would be a yelp [yelps]. Now a yelp call says: ‘Come over here; I’m having fun.’ Now, a slate call is much the same as a box call and you can make that basic ‘cut’ sound [cut sound]. And, you can also make a purr, which says ‘I’m on my daily rounds.’

Now, I like to use a diaphragm call; it’s a little more complicated call. But it allows me, if I’m hunting, to move my arms and hands with my bow or my gun. It fits in the top of your mouth, and you can do it quite easily [cackle]. That was a cackle or a yelp. If you hear a ‘put’ though, that’ll scare a bird away – and that’s the alarm call [put call]. Put them all together and you can have fun imitating a flock of turkeys. [07-of turkey calls…fade under last script]

Fall turkey season runs through January 6th in the North zone and January 20th in the South Zone. Check your Outdoor Annual for more information.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Building Marine Habitat by Recycling a Ship

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Onlookers watch the Kinta go under.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for substrate—the hard material on which marine organism live and grow. That’s where this guy comes in.

[I’m] Dale Shivley; I’m the program leader for the artificial reef program for Texas Parks and Wildlife

Artificial reefs provide habitat for saltwater fish as well as destinations for underwater divers. About four years ago Shively and his crew were preparing to reef a 155 foot decommissioned freighter, called the Kinta, in 75 feet of water off the coast of Corpus Christi.

Basically, what we have is a huge piece of metal that will benefit the local environment. Marine organisms will begin to grow on it; fish will be attracted to it immediately; it’s been cleaned of environmental hazards and is ready to go. [ambience]

The ship has a new purpose on the gulf floor: nurturing marine life. Brooke Shipley-Lozano, a Scientist with the GIS Lab at Parks and Wildlife explains what happens when they reef a ship.

So, the water will start coming in at the stern. And then gradually the water will fill up the ballast tanks one by one from the stern to the fore, and the rear of the ship should hit the bottom, and then eventually the bow will follow suit, and it will land perfectly upright and everyone will celebrate…

See a video that features reefing the Kinta on the Texas Parks and Wildlife YouTube channel Find a link at passporttotexas.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

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.

Technology and Sea Turtles

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
Sea turtle receiving GPS, Image courtesy Corpus Christi Caller Times

Sea turtle receiving GPS, Image courtesy Corpus Christi Caller Times

This is Passport to Texas

Understanding where wildlife goes provides valuable information to help manage species. Dr. Donna Shaver uses the newest GPS technology in tandem with satellites orbiting12-thousand miles above earth, to track endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles on the Texas coast.

We’re conducting this tracking because we want to get an idea about the habitat usage by these adult females.

Dr. Shaver is with the National Park Service.

We want to see where they’re going in the marine environment, which is where they spend the vast majority of  their life; where they’re going for migration as well as for foraging when they’re done nesting.

It takes Dr. Shaver and her team about three hours to prepare a turtle for tracking.

We have to sand the shell; we put down the first layer of epoxy, then we’ll affix the transmitter. Then when it’s on here solid, we will paint the surface to help prevent barnacles from adhering onto that area where it [the transmitter] has been applied.

Dr. Donna Shaver uses GPS and satellite technology to track endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, and you can
see a video of her in action on the Texas Parks and Wildlife YouTube channel.

We’re one step closer towards recovering the species someday so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.

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