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May 15, 2014
Landowner Incentives Available in the Pedernales River Watershed to Help Conserve State Fish of Texas
AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been awarded $100,000 in grants from the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to conserve the state fish of Texas, the Guadalupe bass, in the Pedernales River.
This funding will be made available as cost-share incentives to willing landowners interested in partnering on habitat improvements for the state fish. Previous grants available for landowner incentives to benefit Guadalupe bass were directed at the South Llano, North Llano, and James river watersheds. These latest grants provide the opportunity for TPWD and local partners, which include the Hill Country Alliance and The Nature Conservancy, to expand Guadalupe bass conservation efforts to the Pedernales River watershed.
The Pedernales is fed by more than 1,000 documented springs as it flows 106 miles through the Texas Hill Country, eventually joining the Colorado River at Lake Travis. The river is part of a network of clear, spring-fed rivers found in the Texas Hill Country which contribute significantly to the regional water supply needs of Austin, San Antonio, and other downstream communities.
Rivers of the Hill Country are ecologically unique, hosting 14 species of fish found nowhere else in the world, including the Guadalupe bass. Additionally, Hill Country rivers offer a variety of high-quality recreational opportunities including tubing, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife-viewing.
Angler interest in fishing Hill Country rivers continues to increase, and a recent study conducted by TPWD and Texas Tech University estimates that stream fishing in the 24-county region of the Hill Country generates an annual economic impact of more than $71 million. Forty-two percent of anglers surveyed for the study specifically targeted Guadalupe bass.
To help ensure that Hill Country rivers and their associated ecological, recreational, and economic values are available for current and future generations of Texans to enjoy, TPWD has enlisted the help of private landowners.
Since 2010, TPWD and its local conservation partners have collaborated with more than 200 landowners representing owning more than 80,000 acres in the Hill Country. These partnerships have involved technical guidance from TPWD biologists on conservation practices that contribute to healthy rivers and quality habitat conditions for Guadalupe bass and other native species.
Biologists also have helped design and plan conservation projects on private lands focused on restoring and conserving sensitive aquatic habitats including aquifer recharge features, springs, creeks, and streams, as well as important streamside habitats. Partnering landowners have then been eligible to apply for cost-sharing grants from TPWD. Grants awarded through the program covered a portion of the costs associated with implementing the planned conservation projects.
In addition to supporting habitat improvements, TPWD has stocked more than one million Guadalupe bass in Hill Country rivers since 2010, further contributing to a region-wide plan to conserve the state fish. Through the recent grants provided by the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, similar conservation efforts can now move forward in the Pedernales watershed.
To learn more about the efforts of TPWD and partners to conserve Guadalupe Bass, contact Tim Birdsong (Timothy.Birdsong@tpwd.texas.gov, (512) 389-4744). To learn more about landowner incentives available in the Pedernales River watershed or other areas of the Texas Hill Country, contact Melissa Parker (Melissa.Parker@tpwd.texas.gov, (512) 754-6884) or visit the TPWD Landowner Incentive Program website (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/lip).
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