Fish & Game
Fly Fishers International has recognized the TPWD Inland Fisheries Division with its prestigious 2021 Conservation Award, honoring a person, group or organization that has made extraordinary contributions to the conservation of fisheries resources that preserve the legacy of fly fishing.
The award recognizes the division’s leadership and collaboration with state fisheries agencies, universities and other conservation and fishing organizations across the southern United States to conserve riverine black basses.
“Of the 10 species of black bass, six are native to southern U.S. rivers and nowhere else in the world,” says Tim Birdsong, Inland Fisheries deputy director. “In addition to Guadalupe bass, which is native to streams of Central Texas, southern U.S. rivers support populations of shoal, Choctaw, redeye, Alabama and Suwannee basses, all close cousins to the Guadalupe bass and similarly prized by fly anglers.”
Since 1991, the Inland Fisheries Division and partners have restored or conserved Guadalupe bass populations in 14 Central Texas creeks and rivers. This was supported through research, surveys, monitoring, genetic assessments, outreach, conservation planning, partnership development, fundraising and other actions. The initiative included production and stocking of over 2.4 million genetically pure Guadalupe bass, delivery of nearly 50 habitat restoration or preservation projects, and watershed-scale management of stream-side invasive plants in eight watersheds.
The restoration of Guadalupe bass populations is underway in another six rivers, while status assessments are planned for eight more rivers. TPWD currently manages 20 public river access areas that offer angling opportunities for Guadalupe bass, which have served as focal points for engagement of fly-fishing clubs, local conservation nonprofits and communities in efforts to restore and preserve the species and its habitats.
“It’s a testament to the literally hundreds of professionals and volunteers who’ve contributed to these efforts over the past three decades,” Birdsong says. “We greatly value our extensive network of passionate and committed partners. Collectively, we’re making a real difference. It’s incredibly gratifying to receive this award and know that our efforts are valued, admired and appreciated by the fly-fishing community.”
Learn more about places to fish for Guadalupe bass and ongoing conservation efforts here For more information about Fly Fishers International, visit flyfishersinternational.org.
TPWD Staff; Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD
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