Our Mission: Creating a Unified Voice in Support of Wildlife Conservation in Texas.
Jul 8

Recovering America's Wildlife

For too long, the bill for wildlife conservation has largely rested on the shoulders of the country’s hunters and anglers despite the fact that many sectors of society benefit from the protection of our natural heritage. Though these individuals may have the most direct interaction with wildlife, the funding provided by bills such as Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson falls short of the existing need for funding conservation of both game and non-game species. Fortunately, this week a potential solution was introduced.

Late on Thursday, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation that stands to be the biggest funding boon for wildlife since Pittman-Robertson.  Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 5650) calls for $1.3 billion in existing revenue from energy development on federal lands and waters to be dedicated to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program. This funding would then be distributed to the states and used to enact state level conservation action plans like Texas’ TCAP.

This bill follows the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources. The Panel, which was comprised of national business and conservation leaders, reviewed a variety of alternative funding methods before settling on utilizing the existing revenue from the development of energy and mineral resources. They reached this decision in part because it was a sustainable revenue source that would meet the national need, and also because it would ensure future generations would benefit from the extraction of nonrenewable resources. The business of producing energy (oil, natural gas, wind, water, etc.) relies on healthy ecosystems, so it is in the best interest of both energy companies and the public for those ecosystems to be maintained.

Though this is a national bill, the potential effects for Texas are astronomical. This is truly an exciting time for the wildlife profession and everyone concerned with protecting Texas’ natural heritage. We’ll be providing updates on legislation as things progress, so be sure to continue to monitor the blog and our social media channels.

 

 

If your organization would like more info on H.R. 5650 and what it could mean for Texas or your organization, please reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’d love to talk to you.

May 24

Honoring Our National Mammal

On May 9, 2016, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law making the bison our National Mammal, a designation that has been a long time goal of coalition member, the Texas Bison Association (TBA) as well as their many supporters.  It was refreshing to see, in this day and age, bipartisan congressional support for the bill.  Of course, the bison is the perfect choice for such an illustrious title as National Mammal.

Has any other mammal had the impact on this country’s cultural and natural history as the bison?  From sustaining our indigenous peoples for untold generations to being a vital economic driver, the bison formed the foundation for much of the nation’s early history.  As a keystone species, the historic herds of millions of bison roaming the prairies and plains of the country worked to actually create those habitats.  Bison grazing stimulated plant growth.  Bison hooves by the millions trampled invading brush and scored the soil surface increasing water infiltration.  And of course, tons of bison manure helped to build the famously fertile prairie soils which today provide so much of our food.

It is only fitting that our National Mammal be a species that has benefited from the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.  The bison was one of the country’s first conservation success stories as ranchers, hunters, conservationists, and bison enthusiasts of all kinds worked individually and collectively to save the species from impending extinction in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  Granted, habitat fragmentation prevents bison from freely roaming the nation’s grasslands leading to the species’ current status as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need here in Texas but thanks to the concerted efforts of groups like the TBA in Texas and around the country, the species will survive and the U.S. will always be home to an icon.

Rob Denkhaus

 

NOTE: As I wrote this another Coalition member, the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, announced the birth of the first bison calf of the year for their herd.  Visit www.fwnaturecenter.org for more information on this public bison herd.

Apr 22

Celebrating Earth Day

Tomorrow, April 22, marks the 47th annual Earth Day celebration.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans across the country demonstrated in order to advocate for the importance of a healthy, sustainable environment. These demonstrations were a collaboration of bipartisan groups that were concerned with everything from oil spills to pesticide use to deforestation and resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Since then, Earth Day has become a global event with over 22,000 organizations in 192 countries participating. This makes it the largest secular event across the globe.

While this is undoubtedly impressive, especially in comparison to the amount of press and attention conservation efforts usually are afforded, it is not enough. Healthy, sustainable environments aren’t something that can be maintained through once-a-year participation. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that. You are likely already one of the thousands of individuals or organizations who dedicate their time, money, etc., to the betterment of the natural world throughout the year, but this year we ask that you take that one step further.

One of the greatest things we can do to protect the wildlife and environments around us is to impress upon those closest to us the importance of these things throughout the year, not just on Earth Day. With that in mind, we ask that you talk to those closest to you about what they can do to support conservation here at home. Whether that’s talking to your boss about recycling at work or to your church group about signing up to be a member of Teaming With Wildlife: True To Texas, reminding people about the importance of preserving our Texas sized portion of the Earth is of the utmost importance.

Apr 4

Tandy Hills Natural Area BioBlitz

Hello all,

Together with the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural area (FOTHNA), Texas Wesleyan University, the City of Fort Worth’s Park & Recreation Department (PARD), Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Conservation License Plate Grants (TPWD), & Texas Nature Trackers, Teaming With Wildlife: True To Texas is pleased to sponsor the first ever BioBlitz at Tandy Hills Natural Area in Fort Worth.

The Tandy Hills Natural Area BioBlitz will focus on documenting all living species at the park over a continuous 36 hour time period (Friday, April 22, 2016, 6:00 am – Saturday, April 23, 2016, 6:00 pm). Scientists and naturalists from across the state will lead and supervise this photo documentation and data collection blitz which will form a permanent and valuable snapshot of biological life at Tandy Hills. Community members and volunteers are invited to observe science in action and participate by making their own contributions via iNaturalist while exploring the urban prairie.

If at all possible, we highly encourage you to join us in this effort to document the biodiversity of this 160 acre park.

 

For more info please visit: http://www.tandyhills.org/events/bioblitz

Jan 15

Celebrating Aldo Leopold

This past Monday, 11 January, was Aldo Leopold’s 129th birthday.  Ever since first reading his classic book, A Sand County Almanac, some 35 years ago, I have admired Professor Leopold, universally accepted as the “father of wildlife management”.  When Karly Robinson, TWW:TTT Coordinator, suggested some weeks ago that I write a blog celebrating his accomplishments I considered it an easy task and sought to refresh my recollections on the specifics of Leopold’s many contributions to the wildlife profession. 

I am embarrassed to report that what I discovered while refreshing my memory was that what I knew of Leopold’s influence barely scratched the surface of his impact on the development of not only the wildlife profession but virtually every facet of natural resource conservation.  My quandary of how to adequately address Leopold’s contributions led to my missing the deadline of his birthday.  Finally, I realized that I could not do justice to his contributions in a simple blog entry and any attempt to do so would seem disrespectful.

However, I can encourage TWW:TTT members and supporters to explore the life and work of Aldo Leopold on their own to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the evolution of the art and science of wildlife management.  I particularly recommend the excellent biography, Aldo Leopold, His Life and Work, by Curt Meine.  A vast amount of information, including access to digital versions of Leopold’s hand written journals, is available on the Aldo Leopold Foundation website (www.aldoleopold.org).  And of course, if you have not read A Sand County Almanac previously (or lately) you owe it to yourself to devote the time to thoroughly digest its many messages to gain an appreciation of the evolution of Leopold’s Land Ethic.

Leopold wrote, “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” I like to think that each and every TWW:TTT coalition member and supporter is one of the latter and it is up to those of us who cannot live without wild things to continue Leopold’s work of conserving wildlife and wild places for everyone.

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