Innovative Approaches to Resource Conservation

Managing for quality sport fishing is becoming more difficult as natural resources dwindle. This trend also creates additional problems with endangered species. Benefits accrued from land and water conservation programs pay dividends to both. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has embarked upon an aggressive approach to resolving species and habitat conflicts through cooperative programs with local governments and especially private landowners. To date, 1) a “natural” cienega for two endangered fishes has been recreated, 2) a Conservation Agreement has been enacted to enable private landowners to create wetlands for the Pecos pupfish (Cyprinodon pecosensis) and preclude the need to list it as endangered, 3) restoration has begun on an urban stream that emanates from the third largest spring in the state and is home to a federally threatened minnow, 4) a watershed management team, consisting of private landowners and government representatives, has been convened to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect habitat essential for five state and federally listed fishes, 5) we are working with a local river authority and fishing clubs on a Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculi) stocking program designed to reverse the trend of hybridization with introduced smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu), and 6) in coordination with city and county governments, we have begun a project to restore habitat in what was one of the largest springs in Texas. Involving individuals and local governments in conservation of species and their habitats increases the likelihood of achieving long-term benefits for natural resources as well as protection of these resources for the public.

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