TPW TV: Bear Creek Ranch

May 22nd, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Just west of Fort Worth, Bear Creek Ranch employs old school grazing practices.

12-What we do here at Bear Creek Ranch is we have a native prairie, and we apply a process of where we take the cattle, and graze them in a way that mimics the way the bison grazed the prairie.

Robert Potts is President of Dixon Water Foundation, which operates the ranch.

06-[MOO] They go where the grass is fresh, they move, and then they don’t come back to the place that they are today for a long time.

This type of management has enhanced wildlife on the ranch. And Texas Parks and Wildlife Wildlife Biologist Nathan Rains says, it is one reason why Bear Creek Ranch is a Lone Star Land Steward Award winner.

18-By allowing rest in these pastures and their unique grazing program you get residual grasses and that provides nesting cover and habitat for species like Bobwhite quail and other grassland birds that are declining.

Texas once had 20 million acres of tall grass prairies; because of development and agricultural uses, less than one percent of the original prairie ecosystem remains.

10-In an area like this, on the periphery of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex–in an urbanized environment–it’s really neat and encouraging to see ranches like this that are dedicated to preserving tall grass prairies.

Learn more about Bear Creek Ranch in a segment next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series. Check your local listings.

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

How to Remain Safe While Boating

May 21st, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

If you plan on operating a boat get to know items important to keep on board for your safety.

13-You should have a sound producing device, and you should have a life jacket for person that’s on board. If you’re boating at night, you should have the proper lights–that are working–and we suggest a first aid kit.

Tim Spice, manager of boater education for Parks and Wildlife, says anyone born on or after September 1, 1993 is required to take boater education.

21-We cover lots of different things, including safety aspects of boating; the different types of vessel you may have; the rules of the road; the required equipment. Again, everyone on board a vessel needs to have a life jacket that’s accessible. We define what accessible means by law so that you don’t get in trouble when you’re on the water and a game warden stops to give you a boating safety check.

In addition, filing a float plan that tells folks on shore where you’ll be and when you plan to return will be vital if an emergency occurs while you’re on the water. Operating a boat has a different set of rules than driving a vehicle.

10-There’s no lines on the road; there’s no speed limits, per se. There are different signs and things you have to look out for that are very different than you would in your car.

By taking a boating safety course–online or in a classroom–you’ll learn those rules.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Boating Safety Memorial Day and Every Day

May 20th, 2015
Everyone on your boat should wear a life jacket.

Everyone on your boat should wear a life jacket.

This is Passport to Texas

Over the past couple of years, low lake levels from the drought kept boats and other watercraft in dry dock most of the summer— but thanks to late winter and early spring rains…

02-We have a lot more water now, so the lakes have changed.

That’s good news as we approach Memorial Day weekend–the unofficial start of summer boating season. More water means easier, safer navigation of lakes, says Tim Spice, manager of boater education for Parks and Wildlife. Being savvy about safety also keeps everyone protected when on the water.

31-We can identify two major factors that you as a boater can affect in how you operate a vessel, and the things that you do in and around the water. One is wear a life jacket. Eighty percent of those people that die from falling in the water would be alive if they had a life jacket on. And then the second thin you can do is to not drink alcohol. Alcohol affects your judgment, and you can lose your driver’s license–your vehicle driver’s license–the court can take that away from you if you are found guilty of boating while intoxicated.

On tomorrow’s show the rules of the road as they pertain to boating, and what items you need to have on board before setting sail.

07–The rules on the road are all designed based on the type of vessel and the maneuverability of the vessel.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and works increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

Possum Kingdom Lake After Golden Algae

May 19th, 2015
Possum Kingdom Lake

Possum Kingdom Lake

This is Passport to Texas

Possum Kingdom Lake, approximately 75 miles west of Fort Worth, had a golden algae problem.

10-Golden algae is an algae that gives off a toxin to fish and inhibits their uptake of oxygen by eating away at their gills.

Fisheries biologist Robert Mauk, out of Wichita Falls, says they first noticed fish kills from the algae in 2001. When that happened, it was monitor and wait.

12- There’s nothing we really can do but wait it out. Luckily at Possum Kingdom, it seems like the intervals between the blooms have been lengthening, and we haven’t had a major fish kill since 2010.

The jury’s still out on what causes golden algae blooms to occur. Meanwhile, according to recently completed gill net surveys by the Wichita Falls Texas Parks and Wildlife fisheries office, fish populations in the reservoir have bounced back since 2010.

19- Since it’s been five years, we have five-year-old–especially striped bass–out there. There are a lot of them up in the 30-inch range. So, we’re starting to see bigger, heavier fish out there. And, for the angler that likes to catch a big, bragging sized trophy–they’re out there now.

Check out fishing conditions and reports for Possum Kingdom on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, and reminds Texans that Saturday, June 6th, is Free Sport Fishing Day.

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

New Red Snapper App

May 18th, 2015
iSnapper App to report your red snapper landings

iSnapper App to report your red snapper landings

This is Passport to Texas

With a 365 day season and four fish daily bag limit, red snapper is popular among recreational Gulf anglers in TX. Abundant in Texas waters, Parks and Wildlife employs various tools to monitor snapper populations.

05- We have bag seines, gill nets, and creel surveys–where we interview anglers to look at their catch.

Jeremy Leitz is with Coastal Fisheries. Last year the agency rolled out an online reporting tool for anglers to voluntarily share their snapper landing information.

06- However, in the very near future, there will be a free app coming out along with a new site to report your landings on.

That FREE app is iSnapper, developed by the Harte Research Institute. Leitz says iSnapper gives Texas Parks and Wildlife another tool to validate the data collected from current monitoring programs.

26- Anglers will be [voluntarily] inputting very basic information: it’s the date of the trip, how many people were on your trip, the number of fish caught, the number of snapper landed. Just very basic pieces of information–it will take just a few seconds to fill out. I’d like to emphasize only one person needs to report per trip. Our hope with this is that it just gives us another piece of information to help monitor that species, to help gather information on the population levels of fish that are out there. Also, it’s a way for anglers to be more involved in the management of the species.

Download the app from

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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