Our Wild Texas – June 2018

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Black Triangles

Gardens in the Gulf

purple fish with orange dots hiding in coral, video link

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world, and it's in our backyard – about 100 miles off the coast. The marine life includes rays, octopuses, sea turtles and vast varieties of fish. It's a unique, diverse community that's vital to the health of the Gulf ecosystem.

Though surrounded by oil and gas rigs, the Flower Gardens are thriving due in part to protections brought about by conservation partnerships. But the sanctuary still faces numerous threats, as described in Texas Parks & Wildlife's July issue.

Coral reefs are rare in the Gulf. So we use retired oil rigs, ships and other materials to build artificial reefs for marine wildlife and associated recreation. See some of the marine life calling an artificial reef home in this short video, and visit the Artificial Reef Program on Facebook for their latest videos, photos and news. 

Hummingbird Cam & Turtle Releases Are Back

hummingbird at feeder, video link

The West Texas hummingbird live cam is back on! It's a seasonal favorite among wildlife fans because these nectar-loving pollinators are so zippy. How zippy? They can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3 feet! You never know which hummingbird species will show up, or when a frenzied aerial drama will ensue. 

Hummingbird Live Cam


baby sea turtle on beach, video link

Each year, endangered sea turtle eggs are collected to protect them from predators. Once hatched, the baby turtles are released, and it's a sight to see. Padre Island offers public access to their hatchling releases June through August. Pro tip: go during a time when a lot of nest numbers are listed for release.

Hatchling Release Dates

2 Ways to Conserve Water

Graywater, from laundry to landscape

Wildlife and people depend on the same water sources. If you conserve water, it helps both wildlife and your pocketbook. Two ways to conserve are by using graywater and rainwater. 

Graywater is wastewater from clothes washers, sinks and bathtubs. A simple and inexpensive way to utilize graywater is a Laundry to Landscape (PDF) system, which pipes your washer's wastewater straight to your plants. The water rules of Texas encourage water conservation with graywater, but check local regulations before you install a system.  

Graywater Basics

rainwater collection tank

Rainwater collection is an efficient and responsible way to conserve water. You can use stored rainwater for plants, wildlife, fire prevention or in your home. Collection systems can be super simple or very elaborate, and any equipment, services and supplies used in a collection system are exempt from Texas sales tax. Local governments often offer related rebates, too! Check local regulations to find out if you need a permit. 

Learn more with these rainwater harvesting resources, and catch your rainwater before it's gone.

Rainwater Collection Basics

How Aquarium Pets Become Pests

Lionfish, video link

Lionfish are beautiful in aquariums, but they turn into terrors if they get into the Gulf. They are voracious eaters of our native reef fish, explosive breeders, and have no natural predators here. Lionfish are a serious problem that originated with aquariums being dumped into our water systems. Releasing aquarium fish, animals and even plants cause destruction of our native species. Don't let your pets become pests – never dump your tank, choose alternatives to flushing your fish

Never dump your tank, link

woman on hill with child on her back

We Will Not Be Tamed

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) is encouraging all Texans to get involved in conserving the wild things and wild places of our state. As the nonprofit funding partner of Texas Parks and Wildlife, TPWF is raising awareness about the lands, waters, and wildlife we all love. 

“We Will Not Be Tamed” calls you to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit and why we should be inspired to conserve it.

TPWF has enlisted a group of remarkable Texan outdoorsmen and women to tell their stories. They include people like Xochitl Rodriguez, who has traversed just about every trail in the Franklin Mountains along with her adventurous 4-year-old daughter Calista. Texas Monthly recently featured Xochitl in a story and inspiring video

TPWF has also teamed up with some popular Texas brands to give away everything you need to Live the Wild Life. Partners including Toyota, Yeti, Howler Brothers, and Diablo Paddlesports have created a one-of-a-kind sweepstakes, and the grand prize winner will drive home in a new Toyota Tundra. 

Enter Now

Toyota link

Thanks to the following sponsors and partners:

toyota proud sponsor
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