Tribpedia: Texas Parks And Wildlife

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is the state agency with responsibility over conservation of fish and wildlife species and has authority over hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation activities across the state. The agency also manages numerous cultural and historic sites in Texas.

The agency, which has roughly 3,200 employees, is overseen by a nine-member commission appointed by ...

Wildfires, Burn Bans Rage Across Texas

So far this year, the Texas Forest Service has responded to roughly 1,500 wildfires across Texas, the damage of which spreads across 2.5 million acres. And burn bans are spreading just as fast. Use our interactive map to track wildfires and burn bans across the state, using Texas Forest Service data.  

Avid outdoorsman Brady Knowlton is hoping noodling will become legal in Texas.
Avid outdoorsman Brady Knowlton is hoping noodling will become legal in Texas.

There's More Than One Way to Land a Catfish

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Hand fishing — that is, sticking your hand down the throat of a fish — is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. But not for long. State lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill to legalize hand fishing, sending it to the governor.

Sen. Bob Duell, R-Greenville, debates the "noodling" bill regarding a bare-handed catfishing technique during debate on May 19, 2011.
Sen. Bob Duell, R-Greenville, debates the "noodling" bill regarding a bare-handed catfishing technique during debate on May 19, 2011.

Senate OKs Legalizing "Noodling"

Amid the budget drama of the day, senators had a few moments of levity when they brought up the "noodling" bill, which would legalize the practice of hand-fishing for catfish.

Bill Would Allow Advertising at State Parks

With the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department facing budget cuts and park closures, Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports that lawmakers are looking at an unconventional solution — advertising in parks — to help pay for maintenance and promote tourism.

Response boats work to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig sank on April 22, 2010.
Response boats work to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig sank on April 22, 2010.

Months After Spill, Another Look Into the Gulf

With the one-year anniversary of the BP oil-rig explosion approaching, Ian Crawford of KUT News spoke with Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, about the state of the Gulf and why researchers may be studying its effects for decades.

Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, at his seed-cleaning facility in Junction, TX, Jan. 18, 2011.
Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, at his seed-cleaning facility in Junction, TX, Jan. 18, 2011.

The Constant Gardeners

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From the highways of Texas to the San Jacinto Battleground, state agencies now aim to maximize the use of native grasses rather than opting for whatever was cheapest or fastest-growing, as they did decades ago.

Carter Smith: The TT Interview

The executive director of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department discusses the acquisition of a large piece of remote and rugged land along the Devils River; next steps for the bighorn sheep released in Big Bend Ranch State Park; the threats posed by invasive species like the giant salvinia, an exotic, rootless fern, and zebra mussels — and what the state's budget shortfall might mean for his agency and for the state's lands, waters, fish, wildlife and parks.

TribBlog: A Renaissance for State Parks

As one of 40 parks across Texas benefiting from renovation projects, Bastrop State Park will spend about $4 million on improvements financed by the sale of voter-approved bonds authorized by the Texas Legislature. By April 2011, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department expects to complete $44 million in repairs and renovations to state park infrastructure.

TribBlog: Murder at Falcon Lake

Law enforcement agencies are again warning patrons of Falcon Lake in South Texas to stay on the U.S. side of the popular fishing spot. The warning follows the fatal shooting of a U.S. man by Mexican pirates who allegedly attacked him after he traveled into Guerrero Viejo, Tamaulipas, on his Jet Ski.

USS Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto monument
USS Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto monument

The Not-So-Great Outdoors

Three years after voters approved bonds for fixes at state parks, not all of the money has been spent — despite facilities that haven't been upgraded since the 1930s and recent hurricane damage that hasn't been repaired.

Twenty brown pelicans now call Texas home after getting "oiled" in the BP spill off Louisiana's coast
Twenty brown pelicans now call Texas home after getting "oiled" in the BP spill off Louisiana's coast

The Pelican Grief

At Goose Island, near Rockport, some of the nearly 200 pelicans rescued from the Gulf oil spill and sent to Texas seem to be thriving. But officials are holding their breath to see whether the rescued birds stick around or fly back to habitats that may still be contaminated. "Wildlife do crazy things," says the manager of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. "That's why they're called 'wild.'" But the ones that stay could face survival struggles, too, from coastal litter and competition with other species for food.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson

TribBlog: Packin' in the Park

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who has been taking his gun to Big Bend National Park anyway, says he is glad he can now carry without violating the rules.