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Texas Parks & Wildlife

Texas Parks and Wildlife

A popular state park in West Texas is closing for six months while the staff undertakes a major upgrade of the park’s utility system.

Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife said many of the amenities at Davis Mountains State Park in West Texas will be unavailable to visitors during a major renovation starting Sept. 3, including the campgrounds, trails and the park's Interpretive Center.

Texas Water Development Board

The on-going drought in Texas is drying up farms, ranches and wildlife but it’s also a historic event for the state, which is now looking at capturing and preserving the images of the drought. 

What does your Texas drought look like? is a statewide photo campaign that invites Texans to contribute their photos of the effects of the drought using social media.

Texas Parks and Wildlife

In the first segment:

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) is looking at another round of real estate adjustments. In the past, BRAC closed San Antonio’s Kelly Air Force Base but it has also expanded the military’s medical operations in the Alamo City.

San Antonio Congressman Joaquín Castro is leading an effort to protect the city’s military assets from future possible cuts.

In the second segment:

National Wildlife Federation (NWFblogs on Flickr) / cc

Texas is included in five of 28 restoration projects across the Gulf of Mexico under a conditional agreement between BP and Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees.

Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesman Tom Harvey said although the Texas coast was less visibly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas wildlife was affected.

Flickr user Scott the Hobo / cc

House Bill 852, which has passed in the Texas House, places tighter restrictions on the controversial fishing practice called shark finning.

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Last year Whole Earth Provision raised $30,000 for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and hopes to break its own record this year.

Texas State Parks suffered a tremendous drop in visitors in 2011 that was blamed on extreme heat, the drought and the devastating wildfires - especially in Bastrop State Park.

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Texas lawmakers are looking to save Texas state parks from closing down by making sure that taxpayer funds intended for state parks get there. 

When you go to a sporting goods store and buy a canoe there is a little tax that supports the Texas park system, since a person would be likely to enjoy paddling that canoe on Texas state waterways.

Over the years the state diverted that park tax money and held it in order to balance the state budget on paper.

In the current state budget, $184 million pegged for parks was diverted to help balance the overall budget.

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Counties along the Texas-Mexico border are reporting higher numbers of hungry invaders from Mexico -- bears -- and wildlife biologists are trying to quickly educate border residents about the dos and don’ts of living with the big mammals.

Black bears are native to most of the Southwest, but in Texas, human development, hunting and trapping drove the ursine wildlife out of most of South Texas and the Hill Country decades ago.

It looked like the opening of the television show "M*A*S*H" —a helicopter flying over a mountainscape carrying a passenger in need of care.

Personnel run out to meet the chopper, grab the patient and get to work. 

But this is in West Texas at the Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and the patients are desert bighorn sheep.  

“This is why I got into this business in the first place. It's landscape-level conservation is what it is,” said Mike Hill, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Fort Davis Regional Director. 

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