Texas Wildlife Action Plan

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					Texas Wildlife Action 1
Subhead 1        Subhead
                         Plan
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                                                                                               “This [State Wildlife
                                                                                                 Grants] money is
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What is a wildlife action plan?
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Congress asked each state copy.           a wildlife action Main known
copy.Main body copy. Main bodyto developcopy.Main body copy. plan,body copy.                   species and habitats
technically as a comprehensive
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                                                                                                  stay healthy and
proactive plans examine the health of wildlife and body copy. actions
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                                                                                              prosper in the future.
to conserve wildlife and vital habitat before they become more rare                          Collecting information
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and copy. costly to protect.
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copy.Main body copy. Main body copy.        copy.Main body copy. Main body copy.              wildlife management
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Texas snapshot
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                                            private landowners to be partners in all              cost money with
                                            body copy.Main body copy. land acqui-
                                            aspects of conservation fromMain body
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Geography: Texas is an extremely diverse    sition to land management and restora-
Main body copy. Main body copy.Main         tion. It is also important that copy.Main
                                            Main body copy. Main body Texas appro-           pending. Texas Parks &
state with 10 distinct ecoregions ranging
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from copy.Main body copy. Main of the       priately manage lands copy. Main body
                                            body copy.Main body that are owned or              Wildlife Department
state Main body forests of the east. The
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                                            maintained body copy. Main body copy.             is proud to invest this
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Mainof the State of Texas is greater than   Main body copy. Main body copy.Main
                                            With 51 wildlife management areas and             new source of money
250,000 square body copy.Main body
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twelfth that of
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the entire United                           Main body copy. Main body copy.Main              wildlife and reverse the
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States. According                           body copy. Main body copy.Main body               downward trend of so
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to NatureServe’s                            copy. Main body copy. Main body copy.            many species. This is an
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2002 States of the                          Main body copy.
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Union: Ranking
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                                                                                              wildlife, no doubt, but
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versity, Texas is                           body copy. Main body copy. Main body                it is also an invest-
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second only to                              copy.Main body copy. Main body copy.               ment in the children
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                                                                            Ocelot/Houston
                                            million acres of land to manage and in           opportunity to fail but
States. It has the body copy. rate body
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mism in the country (TPWD 2002). There
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                                            many cases to restore. Being a good
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                                            partner is the only way to ensure healthy             opportunities to
are 22 major river basins in copy.Main
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all eventually flow into the nine major      ecosystems in Texas.
body copy. Main body copy. Main body        body copy. Main body copy. Main body             succeed. Texas intends
bays and estuaries along the Texas coast.
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                                            Wildlife: Texas has tens of thousands of                 to succeed.”
Texas also copy. a border and ultimately
Main bodyshares Main body copy. Main        Main body copy. Main body copy. Main                   – Robert L. Cook
a portion of its landscape with Mexico.     species that fall under the loose-fitting
body copy. Main body copy.Main body         body copy. Main body copy.Main body                   Executive Director,
In addition, the Gulf of Mexico lines       title “nongame”. These species are vital             Texas Parks & Wildlife
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                                            to the ecology of Texas. Texas species are                Department
367 mi. of copy. Main body copy.Main
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                                            as diverse as the Texas landscape. There
important habitat for a copy.Main sh,
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invertebrates, birds and mammals.           are 5,500 species of plant in Texas, and
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                                            greater thanbody of those species are
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                                            endemics. There have been over 600 bird
Landscape: More than 94% of Texas is
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                                            species identified body copy. borders of
privately owned, making it critical for
copy. Main body copy.                       copy. and 184 known
                                            Texas Main body copy.mammal species,



                                                                                               Texas Wildlife Action Plan   1
                                 including marine species that inhabit                                      Plateau, and along the Coastal Plain. To-
                                 Texas’ coastal waters (Schmidly 2004). It                                  day, its range is limited to the south Texas
                                                     is estimated that there                                brush country and lower Rio Grande
                                                     are approximately                                      valley. Only about 30 to 35 Ocelots live
                                                     29,000 insect species in                               in the shrublands remaining at or near
                                                     Texas that take up resi-                               the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife
                                                     dence in every conceiv-                                Refuge near Brownsville, Texas. In 1995 it




                                                  Houston Toad/Houston Zoo
                                                    able habitat, including                                 was estimated that 80 to 120 individuals
                                                    rocky outcroppings,                                     lived in Texas. Like the Louisiana black
                                                    pitcher plant bogs and                                  bear, the ocelot shares it’s critical habitat
                                                    on individual species of                                with numerous other species that rely on
                                                    plants (Riley in publi-                                 the remaining south Texas brushlands for
                                                    cation). One example                                    survival. These are just two examples of
                                 of a Texas native is the Louisiana black                                   native Texas species that help comprise
                                 bear, which is on the verge of making a                                    the second highest level of biodiversity
                                 comeback in east Texas. This species,                                      in the country. This level of biodiversity
                                 along with several other species, relies                                   creates a great deal of responsibility for
                                 on the east Texas woods for survival.                                      stewardship. Texas Parks and Wildlife
                                 Habitat loss has been one of the main                                      shares this responsibility with other state
                                 reasons for the bear’s decline. Reservoir                                  agencies and conservation NGOs , and
                                 construction has flooded many miles
                                 of former bottomland hardwood
                                 habitat. In addition, many bottom-
                                 lands forests have been cut and
                                 converted to agricultural areas or
                                 housing developments. Another
                                 species attempting to reestab-
                                 lish itself in Texas is the Ocelot.
                                 Historical records indicate that the
                                 Ocelot once occurred throughout
                                 south Texas, the southern Edwards
                                                                                                                                 McKinney Falls State Park/Eric Martinson


                                  Wildlife                                   Total number of        Species of conservation   Threatened/endangered
                                                                             species                concern*                  listed species

                                  Mussels                                                      52                        21                                         1
                                  Snails                                                   ±78                           11                                         0
                                  Crayfish                                                      36                        11                                         0
                                  Insects                                              ~29,950                          272                                       20
                                  Fish**                                                   808                          104                                       59

                                  Amphibians                                                   71                        15                                       13
                                  Reptiles                                                 149                           19                                       25
                                  Birds                                                  629***                         163                                       32
                                  Mammals                                                  184                           53                                       34

                                  Totals                                                                               669                                     184
                                  *The category of Species of Conservation Concern was derived from the development process. Species
                                  working groups were developed and each group put together a prioritized list of species including some
                                  T and E species. The number of Species of Conservation Concern is the number of species on the CWCS
                                  species list, minus all of the species on the list that are listed as threatened or endangered.
                                  **Includes salt water species, freshwater species and estuarine species
                                  ***Includes all species of birds documented in Texas including those considered as “vagrants.”

                                 Wildlife highlights



2   Texas Wildlife Action Plan
 Highlight        Wildlife           Issue (examples)    Action (examples)
 habitats         (examples)
 Blackland        • Cassin’s         • Habitat loss      • Baseline determination and monitoring.
 Prairie          Sparrow
                                                         • Identify, map and ground truth locations and conditions of
 Ownership:       • River otter                          habitats.
 Mostly Private
                  • Box turtles                          • Restoration of native prairie.

 East Texas       • Louisiana        • Habitat loss      • Identify all remaining bottomland hardwood areas and manage
 hardwood         black bear         due to multiple     intensely.
 forest                              factors including
 bottomlands      • Red-cockaded     reservoir           • Educate the citizenry on the affects of traditional forestry
                  Woodpecker         construction and    practices and promote or develop sustainable forestry practices
 Ownership:                          fragmentation.
                                                         • Work to minimize the affects of reservoir construction or avoid
 Some public,
                                                         construction if possible.
 mostly private

 Galveston Bay                       • Suburban          • Continue to monitor the bay for species as well as water
 System                              and industrial      quality.
                                     development;
                                     chemical spills;    • Minimize impacts of dredging and spoil removal.
                                     dredging; bycatch
                                                         • Reduce excess commercial fishing impacts.

Recommended actions to conserve Texas’ wildlife

together these groups are making great         All of these documents were developed
strides towards protecting Texas’ array of     to facilitate the alignment of conserva-
animal species.                                tion of resources and initiatives for Texas.
                                               By using these documents as guideposts
Texas’ planning approach                       there is an increased likelihood that the
                                               outlined initiatives will be followed.
Texas’ planning approach was developed
around current and potential partner-
ships with multiple organizations. From
                                               Primary
local area governments and landown-            challenges to
ers to state agencies to conservation          conserving
NGOs, the only viable option Texas
habitats and species have is the work
                                               wildlife in
that is done through partnerships. These       Texas
partnerships must accomplish manage-
ment on the land, in the fresh water           Texas’ biggest
environs and in the bays and estuaries         challenge is the
along the coast. While the coastal waters      size of the state
of Texas are monitored consistently, the       and the immense
terrestrial habitats and inland waterways      variety of eco-
are in need of inventory and eventually        logical habitats it
monitoring. Once this information is           encompasses. It
gathered, Texas biologists will be able        the second largest
to make informed, directed decisions.          state in the Union
The Texas Action plan incorporated             and the largest                    Black Bear/TPWD

documents such as the Land and Water           of the lower 48
Resources Conservation and Recreation          states. With diversity (and size) come
Plan (Land and Water Plan), The Texas          great challenges. These challenges are
Shrimp Fishery (2002) report to the            rooted in the bureaucracy of monitoring
Governor and the Texas Wetlands Plan.          an entire State as well as the specific



                                                                                                     Texas Wildlife Action Plan   3
                                 conservation actions that must be en-                         debate issues associated with habitat
                                 acted to ensure the stability and improve-                    and species as well as discuss the Action
                                 ment of habitat for native species. The                       Plan itself. The working groups spent 6
                                 immense size and diversity, combined                          months developing information for the
                                 with the preponderance of private                             Action Plan, with the next six months
                                 landownership, make it very difficult to                       being spent developing the final draft
                                 manage wildlife resources effectively                         version. Once the draft was complete the
                                 with the financial assets available. As                        Texas Parks and Wildlife Department took
                                 Texas is a state largely owned by private                     the strategy to the public through two
                                 individuals, it is critical that programs                     vital and interacting operations. The draft
                                 aimed at conservation on private lands be                     version of the strategy was maintained on
                                                                                               the TPWD website in multiple pieces for
                                                                                               easy download. The draft was available
                                                                                               to both the public and professionals. In
                                                                                               addition, feedback forms were also avail-
                                                                                               able in the form of a portable document
                                                                                               file (pdf). These documents were easy to
                                                                                               fill out and return via e-mail. In addition
                                                                                               to web-based comment, TPWD created a
                                                                                               program that was transported to 11 major
                                                                                               venues throughout Texas. The locations
                                                                                               were mostly AZA accredited zoos or
                                                                                               aquaria with one TPWD-owned historic
                                                                                               site and a children’s museum. The public
                                                                                               was invited by means of press releases
                                                                                               news articles, television interviews and
                                                                                               radio interviews. Overall, three weeks
                                                                                               were spent touring the state and tak-
                                                                                               ing this presentation to constituents and
                                                        Attwater Prairie Chicken/Houston Zoo   stakeholders. The website was also used
                                 maximized in order to effectively imple-                      to collect information from the tour by
                                 ment conservation. Programs such as                           using the pdf comment forms.
                                 the Landowner Incentive Plan and farm
                                 bill programs such as the Environmen-                         Assn. of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
                                 tal Quality Incentive Program and the                         David Chadwick
                                 Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program act as                     Wildlife Diversity Associate
                                 effective tools for planning and imple-                       444 North Capitol St.
                                 menting the goals of the Texas Wildlife                       Suite 725
                                 Action Plan with regard to conservation                       Washington D.C., 20001
                                 on private lands.                                             Tel: 202.624.7890
                                                                                               chadwick@fishwildlife.org
                                 Working together for Texas’                                   www.teaming.com • www.fishwildlife.org
                                 wildlife
                                                                                               State Contact
                                 The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department                       Steven Bender
                                 started the stakeholder process with a                        Wildlife Division Planner
                                 Wildlife Diversity Conference in San Mar-                     Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
                                 cos, TX in August of 2004. Approximately                      4200 Smith School Road
                                 150 professional biologists attended and                      Austin, TX 78744
                                 spoke at the conference. The conference                       Tel: 512.389.4427
                                 also served as a vehicle for the develop-
                                                                                               steven.bender@tpwd.state.tx.us
                                 ment of species-based working groups
                                                                                               www.TPWD.state.tx.us
                                 that were used to gather information and



4   Texas Wildlife Action Plan