Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’

Make sure you check for zebra mussels

New boating rules are in effect in an effort to combat the spread of zebra mussels. Starting on [July 1], boaters are going to have to take an extra step to clean their vessels if they want to cruise around on different lakes. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says people will have to drain […]

Feral hogs cross the border

You can’t stop them, and hoping to contain them is not looking so likely, too. If nothing else, the voracious wild hogs that years ago destroyed the lucrative melon and cantaloupe harvests in this isolated border city — and are now ruining the alfalfa, corn and oat crops — have discriminating tastes. “They like vanilla. […]

Look out for zebra mussels

Take proper care of your boat, y’all. Fishing and boating enthusiasts take note: you’re probably going to need a little extra time as you head out on the lake this year. Rules to prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussel will be going into effect statewide. “All boats operating on public fresh water anywhere […]

The feral hogs of Montgomery County

Because three blog posts about feral hogs are better than two. Feral hogs – which some find more pesky than mosquitoes and more invasive than fire ants – are alive and well in Montgomery County. Officials in The Woodlands say that there have been no recent sightings of wild pigs in neighborhoods – but in […]

Radack finally gets to implement his feral hog plan

I can’t wait to see how well this works out. Locally sourced pork finally may be on the menu for needy Houston-area families as Harris County Precinct 3 launches its most ambitious effort yet to eradicate feral hogs damaging parkland and neighborhoods around the Barker and Addicks reservoirs. Within a month, precinct employees hope to […]

So you want to see Bigfoot?

He’s coming to your town, Houston and San Antonio. Or at least, whatever the huckster Rick Dyer is trying to pass off as a Bigfoot carcass is coming to your town. Dyer, 36, says he killed an 8-foot-tall Bigfoot in San Antonio in 2012 with a 30-06 rifle after he lured “the beast” near his […]

The feral hogs of Kingwood

They’re everywhere. Kingwood communities that are battling feral hogs could be in it for the long haul, experts say. The huge, fearless cousins of domestic pigs have been roaming through the affluent northern suburb for at least a month, said Keith Crenshaw, urban biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He’s talked on the phone […]

Educating people about invasive species

Worth a shot. Every two months, Christopher Churchill, a U.S. Geological Survey biologist, scuba dives in Ray Roberts Lake, northwest of Dallas, to monitor the growth rates of zebra mussels, which have wreaked havoc on several Texas lakes and rivers. “A year ago, it was hard to find just one zebra mussel,” Churchill said. “They’re […]

The hogs keep winning

Same old story. More than two decades into Texas’ ever escalating war against feral hogs, the wild swine continue gaining ground while Texas and the state’s native wildlife, plants and ecosystems lose it. Despite taking millions of casualties – an estimated 750,000-plus feral hogs have been killed each of the past few years in Texas […]

The parks that weren’t there

Very sad. For 30 years, the state parks department has owned 1,700 acres of diverse wilderness about 45 minutes east of downtown Houston. It stretches from the highest hill on the Texas coastal plain down to a pristine, white sandy beach on the Trinity River. Yet the public never has had access to this indigenous […]

No, we shouldn’t be closing any state parks

We shouldn’t be closing them in bad times, and we definitely shouldn’t be closing them in good times. “We need to turn up the volume and let people know that our state parks are threatened,” said Ian Davis, director of the Keep Texas Parks Open campaign. “We’re in a time of budget surplus, and it […]

Here come the tax cut proposals

When the sunny revenue forecast came in, we immediately got one crappy tax cut idea, to eliminate the margins tax at a cost of $4.5 billion. The Texas Association of Business didn’t care for the idea, at least at first, but are now warming up to it, because this is what they do. For Bill […]

Save those seeds

What would have been worse than the drought and the wildfires in Central Texas that wiped out millions of trees? Not having the wherewithal to properly reforest afterward. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but it was a closer call than you’d have thought. The Texas A&M Forest Service was making plans to dump more than a […]

One form of federal funding Texas has not rejected

Funding for bike trails is still welcome in the state. As you may know, under the new federal transportation bill, MAP-21, bicycle and pedestrian projects now have more competition for less money than was available under previous transportation laws. The new bill also gives state officials more latitude in designating funds, and– most importantly– in […]

From the fish fraud files

My name’s Friday. I’m a fish fraud cop. Game wardens inspecting the takes of the “Nice Tails” team at the annual Ladies Kingfish tournament last month knew something was up when they saw a trout with a mottled belly and a flounder whose appearance since the team’s last inspection was fishy at best. The unlikely […]

A dollar a tree

Replacing the trees lost in the Bastrop fires last summer is going to cost some money, but there’s now a foundation working on raising that money. Flanked by containers bristling with pine tree seedlings, state and local officials on Tuesday announced a campaign to pay for an ambitious five-year plan to restore the Lost Pines […]

More porkchopping, please

Apparently, shooting feral hogs from a helicopter isn’t as popular a pastime as you might think. “Number one, the cost is kind of limiting,” said Steve Lightfoot, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, explaining that interest has “leveled out.” A helicopter shooting trip can cost from $300 to $1,000 per hour, sometimes […]

It’s what comes after the rain that’ll get you

All that rain we got was great and badly needed to finally kill off last year’s drought. But we know what comes next. In the last three weeks, Harris County has confirmed three cases of this potentially deadly disease in humans. Meanwhile, officials are finding the virus in more and more birds, and infected mosquitoes […]

Environmental drones

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! A plane! A drone! One year into a $260,000 two-year grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, [civil engineer Thom] Hardy and his crew of biologists, geographers and spatial analysts have used the drone to track bird habitat in Galveston Bay and the growth of invasive […]

See you later, alligator

In some parts of town, it’s more like See you sooner or later, alligator. This time of year, the proprietor of Janik Alligators in El Campo spends much of his time trying to keep that scenario from happening. In the last week and a half in Fort Bend County, he says, 21 alligators were removed […]

Tough times for Texas parks

Between the drought and the budget cuts, Texas parks are hurting. Dry weather and depleted lakes and rivers from the prolonged drought mean fewer folks are visiting parks or buying hunting and fishing licenses, the head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told a legislative committee Tuesday. If the drought persists, the department may […]

State not appropriating red light camera funds to trauma centers

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Sandy Greyson drove away from an Arlington meeting eight years ago, and 2 tons of irony wiped her off the road. A red-light runner struck her passenger side, pushing the Dallas City Council member’s car into a field. Greyson suffered a broken wrist and a head wound […]

It’s (almost) 2012, and Bigfoot still does not exist

Which will not stop stories about Bigfoot and the fools who keep looking for him from being written. The Finding Bigfoot crew has not visited Texas yet, but something is out there deep in the Big Thicket, say members of Texas groups dedicated to hunting the beast. Ken Gerhard of the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research […]

The giant prawn menace

Yet another thing to add to your list of Things You Didn’t Realize You Needed To Worry About: Giant prawns in the Gulf of Mexico. The Asian tiger prawn, a foot-long crustacean with a voracious appetite and a proclivity for disease, has invaded the northern Gulf, threatening prized native species, from crabs and oysters to […]

Piranha!

You never know what you might find in Texas’ lakes. When a pre-teen girl dunked a hook baited with a piece of hot dog into the 23-acre lake in Tom Bass Park on Aug. 27 and pulled out a flapping, snapping, hand-size fish, she unexpectedly uncovered evidence of a crime and underscored what fisheries managers […]

Texas gators hanging in there

There’s good news despite the bad news for Texas’ alligators. This year’s admittedly inexact estimate of the gator population in their prime habitat zone – the wetlands along the arc of the Texas coast – indicates there are a lot more alligators out there than most thought. At least half a million gators, and maybe […]

What we lost in the wildfires

It’s going to take a long time to recover from the fires. The fire burned through the heart of the Lost Pines area, a unique ecological island encompassing some 64,000 acres of loblolly pine, the westernmost stands of the great pine forest originally carpeting the southeastern United States. Incinerated, too, was the largest single tract […]

Rescuing fish

Wow. Wildlife biologists [last week evacuated] two species of minnows from the shrinking waters of a West Texas river in the first of what could be several rescue operations involving fish affected by the state’s worst drought in decades. Smalleye shiners and sharpnose shiners, the species being collected from the Brazos River about 175 miles […]

Let the porkchopping begin!

Are you ready for some death from above? “Pork choppers,” Texas’ newest weapon in the war on feral hogs, will take to the skies Thursday when it [became] legal for hunters to buy seats on hog-hunting helicopters and gun down as many pigs as they can put in their sights. With more than 2 million […]

Thanks for helping us balance the budget, fishermen

The Chron’s Shannon Tompkins explains how budgetary shenanigans have an adverse effect on Texas’ hunters and fishers. Every year, tens of millions of dollars in hunting and fishing license fees are left sitting in the state account used to fund Texas wildlife, fisheries and boating programs. Those millions of dollars in Fund 9 account balances […]

Austin braces for job losses

Ready or not, here they come. The Texas Education Agency said Tuesday that it is laying off 178 employees this week. Those are among the first of thousands of state government layoffs expected in the coming weeks. The TEA decision has been months in the making, as the agency seeks to reduce its staff by […]

Invasive species report

Interesting story about a group of scientists cataloging invasive species in the area. Termed the Texas Rapid Assessment Team — Galveston, the group includes scientists from across the spectrum of disciplines and expertise conducting surveys and collecting samples to document all the alien/invasive species they can find. Their focus is strictly the Galveston Bay area, […]

Texas gator population bouncing back

Good news. The storm surge from Hurricane Ike in 2008 severely damaged alligator habitat in coastal marshes along the upper Texas coast, resulting in the outright death of a considerable number of gators. It also delayed the mortality of others and, the following spring, produced the worst alligator nesting effort wildlife managers had documented. But […]

Please don’t play with the alligator

You would think that this would be self-evident, but I guess not. For the most part, encounters between alligators and humans are harmless. Already this season in Harris County, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has logged more than 25 calls for nuisance alligators, two of them within the past week, and all have ended […]