Texas Parks and Wildlife

Energy & Environment
3:43 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Over One Hundred Texas Birds Could Be at Risk From Climate Change

The endangered golden-cheeked warbler could be at even greater risk, depending on what climate change does to its habitat.
Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

From StateImpact Texas:

Over three hundred species of birds are at risk from climate change in North America, according to a report from the National Audubon Society. Many of them can be found in Texas.

Brian Trusty, Executive Director of Audubon Texas, says the study has identified over one hundred Texas species that run the risk of losing significant habitat due to climate change (see below for details on this list).

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Energy & Environment
2:57 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Texas Buys Conservation Land with Oil Spill Money

An aerial view of fringe marshes around Powderhorn Lake.
Earl Nottingham / Texas Parks and Wildlife

A deal that was decades in the making has finally closed on the largest conservation land purchase in Texas history: Just over 17,000 acres of undisturbed coastal prairie in Calhoun County for $50 million.

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Invasive Species
7:34 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Central Texas Boaters Could Soon Face More Rules Because of Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels can clog pipes, and removing them can be costly and time-consuming.
Larry D. Hodge, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

As the invasive and annoying zebra mussel pops up in a sixth Texas lake, state wildlife commissioners are getting ready to vote on new rules that would require boaters in Central Texas counties to clean, drain and dry their boats whenever they take them out of the water, whether the boat has a motor or not. 

Texas Parks & Wildlife announced Tuesday that zebra mussels were found in  Lake Lavon, one of the largest lakes in North Texas. The invasive species was first discovered in Texas in 2006 and was already found in Lakes Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport and Belton.

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Hunting Season
8:36 am
Thu October 17, 2013

More Texas Latinos Are Seeking Hunter Education - In Spanish

A student points a pellet gun at a paper target, required as part of the curriculum taught in the Spanish-language Hunter Education course of Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is handling an increased demand for hunter education from Latinos.

In recent years, the department has begun offering the course in Spanish. The move not only reflects the changing demographics of the state, but could also help Texas combat one of its most unwelcome pests. 

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Politics
7:29 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Seven State Parks Could Close Under Proposed Budget

McKinney Falls State Park near Austin. State budget propposals don't specify which parks could be closed.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would close seven state parks during the 2014-2015 biennium under preliminary budget proposals from the House and Senate, and at least one group is ready to fight to keep them open.

In discussions before the legislative session began, the parks and wildlife department requested that the Legislative Budget Board allocate an additional $18.9 million from the sporting goods sales tax to keep all parks operational. The preliminary House and Senate budgets, released Tuesday, call for only an additional $6.9 million over the next biennium from that tax.

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Environment
11:38 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Texas Parks, Towns Embrace Dark Sky Movement

Casa Grande from Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park, Texas - Feb. 25, 2012.
Cory John O'Quinn via Texas Tribune

In recent years, Texas’ state parks havestruggled with falling visitor numbers and budget cuts. These days, in their quest to lure people back, the parks are promoting opportunities for night-sky viewing, away from city lights.

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Austin
12:04 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Equipment Stolen from Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park wildfire damage. Photo by Mose Buchele, KUT News/

Five storage units containing disaster response equipment at the Bastrop State Park were broken into last week. About $16,000 worth of state equipment including chain saws, power tools and two generators were stolen.

Mike Cox with Texas Parks and Wildlife says  when funding is available, "the  equipment will need to be replaced to maintain the same level of preparedness we had prior to the break-in."

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Texas
3:47 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

How Texans Can Make a 13 Pound Bass Live Forever

Did you know Texas has a program to propagate fish in the state’s lakes and reservoirs?

It’s called the Toyota ShareLunker program, and run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF). (It’s sponsored by the car-maker, hence its inclusion in the name.)

While the program was launched in 1986, TPWF notes that it stretches back much further – coincidentally, to a time of drought much like today's:

The roots of the ShareLunker program can be traced to the drought of the 1950s. That 10-year dry spell brought home to Texans the fact that the state’s burgeoning population had outgrown its water supply. A few reservoirs had been built previously, but the 1960s and 1970s witnessed the completion of many more. Texas had only one natural lake — Caddo — and the native species of Texas bass, the northern, was adapted to live in streams.

Fish adapted to live in large lakes were needed to take advantage of the new reservoirs, and in 1971 TPWD brought the first Florida strain largemouth bass to Texas.

To that end, the ShareLunker program was created to breed bass. It even propagated its own breeding establishment, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, outside of Athens, Texas.

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Texas
5:00 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Texas Parks and Wildlife Issues Black Bear Warning

Photo by Alanahmontreal at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanahmontreal/3860014203/

Leaving out cat food for the neighborhood cat? You might be feeding the neighborhood bear instead, according to a statement by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“We’re getting a few reports of people seeing bears during daylight hours, and that’s unusual,” says Mike Krueger of Texas Parks and Wildlife. “It’s the associated water around homes and the food. The pet food, the smell of cooking; all those things could attract bears. ”

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Environment
1:16 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Drought Leads to a Rise In Animal Bites

Kelly Conrad Bender, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, shows off a Mexican Milk snake. Bender discussed the issues involving the drought and wild animal bites at the University Medical Center at Brakenridge.
Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

The number of venomous bites and stings has increased since last year as the drought sends snakes and other wild animals searching for food and water.

Kelly Conrad Bender, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, came to the University Medical Center Brakenridge to explain the changes in wildlife.

“Wildlife, these individual animals, has not experienced this kind of drought, but their species has. They are the result of thousands of years of adaptation to our climate and these droughts do happen occasionally, maybe once every 50 to 100 years. So the species, given appropriate habitat and given a good balanced stable habitat, they will survive and they’ll come out stronger,” Bender said.

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