Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is a Texas state agency that oversees and protects wildlife and their habitats. In addition, the agency is responsible for managing the state's parks and historical areas.

News & Events

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Carter Smith Announces Retirement
Smith is ending a nearly 15-year tenure in January 2023
June 21, 2022
Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Executive Director Carter Smith announced today he will retire effective January 2023, ending a nearly 15-year tenure that strengthened private-lands stewardship, expanded state parks and wildlife management areas, bolstered conservation, law enforcement, and park funding, and brought a renewed focus on connecting Texans young and old with the state’s natural resources.

 “The opportunity to work alongside the immensely talented and dedicated men and women of this Department has been the privilege of a lifetime,” said Carter...

Ross Melinchuk named the Executive Director of SEAFWA
March 7, 2022

Paul Johansen, President of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) has announced the appointment of Ross Melinchuk as the organization’s Executive Director.

Melinchuk, of Aiken, South Carolina, has over four decades of experience in the natural resource management and conservation field, including over thirty years in senior management and leadership roles. He has been actively engaged in public policy at all...

Texas Agency Recognized for Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TWPD) named the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Award winner for their Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP)
October 29, 2020
Missouri

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Award winner during their 74th annual meeting, held virtually Oct. 26-28. The program's intent is to engage underrepresented audiences in outdoor recreation and nature.

“This program is an essential component to TPWD's goal of diversifying the audiences visiting Texas State Parks and utilizing agency programs as well as increasing Texas residents' connection to natural and cultural...

Three Texas Parks and Wildlife Employees Perish in Helicopter Crash During Wildlife Survey
The deceased include a wildlife biologist, a fish and wildlife technician, and a state wildlife veterinarian
August 10, 2020
Texas

While conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in West Texas on Saturday, Aug. 8, three Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees died in a helicopter crash on TPWD’s Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County.

The victims include Wildlife Biologist Dewey Stockbridge, Fish and Wildlife Technician Brandon White, and State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar. The pilot, a private contractor, survived the crash and was transported to El Paso for further treatment.

“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our...

State Conservation Officers: The Best First Responders
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, officers from other states were standing by ready to launch rescue operations.
September 11, 2017
Texas

As a group, our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the people who have lost homes, livelihoods, and loved ones. Recovering from such events takes a long time. However, in darkest of days there are lights that shine brightly, and the conservation law enforcement officers of SEAFWA states are some of the brightest. Southeastern state fish and wildlife officers are very active as first responders, and states assist each other in such efforts.

When natural disasters strike, the highly trained and dedicated state agency wildlife law enforcement officers are some of the most...

Agencies Awarded for Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
SCDNR and TPWD received the the Workforce Diversity and Diversity Outreach Awards
October 28, 2016
Louisiana

The MINRC Committee is pleased to announce the 2016 SEAFWA Diversity and Inclusion Awards winners in the categories of workforce diversity and diversity outreach.  The winners, chosen by a small group of volunteers with the SEAFWA MINRC Committee, were judged on their commitment to diversity and inclusion, the effectiveness of their programs, and any partnership developed and used to support their diversity and inclusion goals.

The winner of the workforce diversity and inclusion award is the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), for their outstanding...

TPWD Biologist Honored by Regional Peers
Brian Van Zee named 2015 SEAFWA Fisheries Biologist of the Year
November 5, 2015
North Carolina

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named Brian Van Zee the 2015 Fisheries Biologist of the Year at their annual meeting in Ashville this week. Van Zee is a fisheries biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department out of Waco.

“It gives me great pleasure to present this year’s Fisheries Biologist of the Year Award to Brian Van Zee,” SEAFWA President Bob Ziehmer said. “His contributions to fisheries conservation that began in Texas have led to ripples across the country.”

Van Zee was instrumental in helping the TPWD deal with one of the...

People