Habitat and Angler Access Program

The Habitat and Angler Access Program restores and enhances freshwater fish habitats and improves and expands bank and shoreline-based angler access on public creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes throughout the state. The Program enables cooperation between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries Division biologists and local partners to make fishing better for all Texans.

2024–2025 Projects

The following projects are being implemented through the Habitat and Angler Access Program.
View past projects.

Fishing Pier at Lake Bridgeport, City of Runaway Bay

Project Lead: Dan Bennett
Funding Partner: City of Runaway Bay

A 75-ft. public access, fixed T-shaped fishing pier will be constructed on Lake Bridgeport. The pier will be located between a public swimming beach and marina area and operated by the City of Runaway Bay. The pier will contain a shade structure, a hole in the middle for crappie fishing, benches, ADA-compliant railings, fish habitat structures, overhead and underside lighting for night fishing, and interpretive signage for visitors to learn about local fish species. To allow for ADA accessibility and further enhance safety, a lighted sidewalk that connects to the parking lot will be constructed.

Fishing Piers at Lake Livingston (Patrick’s Ferry and Blanchard)

Project Lead: Todd Driscoll
Funding Partner: Trinity River Authority

The Trinity River Authority (TRA) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will construct fishing piers at two separate TRA park/boat launch locations (Blanchard Boat Ramp and Patrick’s Ferry) to help improve shoreline angler access to Lake Livingston.  Both locations are productive fishing areas which experience considerable bank-angling traffic.  The proposed fishing piers will improve angler access, efficiency, and catch rates by providing availability to deeper water.  Both locations would be designed to include ADA-compliant access including guard rails and rod holders. The Blanchard fishing pier would also provide wheelchair accessibility. Regulation signage will be included at both locations.  A total of 10 plastic fish attractors will be deployed around each fishing pier to potentially increase angler catch.  Friends of Lake Livingston and local youth from numerous ISDs will help construct and deploy these attractors. 

MediPark Fishing Pier

Project Lead: Caleb Huber
Funding Partner: City of Amarillo

An ADA-accessible fishing pier will be constructed at Medipark Pond, a seven-acre pond located in northwest Amarillo.  Medipark is a stormwater management waterbody. It is also a popular location for recreational angling and a participant in the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program (NFP).  The waterbody receives regular stocking of Channel Catfish and Rainbow Trout.  Installation of a floating pier will make a lasting and equitable impact on area anglers.  Improvements include smoothing shorelines, and a newly installed fishing pier with ADA gangway, guide rails, seating, and lighting. Medipark is a popular recreation destination for residents and tourists alike. The creation of the pier will not only improve ADA accessibility but will provide an adaptable, safe, and low maintenance access option for area anglers.

Hill at Sims

Project Lead: Niki Ragan-Harbison
Funding Partner: Harris County Precinct 1

Hill at Sims is an initiative by Harris County Precinct One to transform a 100-acre regional detention basin into a nature-centered public park.  A 2019 study sought public input to understand communities’ priorities which include respecting and enhancing the natural character of the site, providing neighborhood connections, offering a variety of recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities, and creating a project that reflects the values and culture of the surrounding communities.  This project involves the creation of a fixed fishing pier that will be enhanced with artificial fish habitat structures and native plant establishment in various areas of the waterbody.

City of Early Town Center Kayak Launches

Project Lead: Michael Homer
Funding Partner: City of Early

The City of Early is creating a new park and commerce development called Town Center, which these efforts have included the renovation and expansion of an agricultural pond to create a community fishery. Prior efforts included the addition of two fishing piers, an aeration system, as well as habitat enhancement with shoreline stabilization, rock materials, artificial habitat structures, and native vegetation plantings.  For this funding cycle, the City of Early will construct an ADA-accessible kayak launch on the Town Center Pond that will allow for convenient paddling access for families and other recreators. Another fixed kayak launch will be created within the park to allow for paddling access to the Pecan Bayou, a Texas Paddling Trail that borders the park to the west.

Miller’s Pond

Project Lead: Mitch Nisbet
Funding Partner: City of San Antonio

This project will provide a fishing dock for Miller’s Pond located in Miller’s Pond Park in San Antonio, TX. The project would consist of the purchase and installation of an ADA-accessible fishing dock as well as an aeration system for the pond. The creation of interpretive signage will also be a part of the project to promote the conservation of fish and wildlife resources and proper stewardship of the park. Signage displaying fishing tips, regulations, and fish identification will be implemented as part of the plans for this project.

Garner State Park Riparian Restoration

Project Leads: Gaby Tamez and Heather Hannusch

This project will establish and protect filter strips and pockets of native riparian buffer along the bank at the Garner State Park Day Use Area on the Frio River. The project is within the Cherry Creek-Frio River watershed. The project will implement a combination of native seeding, cutting, root, and plug plantings, berm construction, and installation of biodegradable erosion control materials. Filter strips and riparian pockets will be protected from public impacts using berms, fencing, and strategic plantings. The project will restore wildlife habitat, filter runoff from parking lot and camping area, improve bank stability, protect water quality and fish habitat, preserve tree health, and enhance angler access.

TreeFolks Reforestation

Project Lead: Ryan McGillicuddy
Funding Partner: TreeFolks

TreeFolks empowers Central Texans to build stronger communities through planting and caring for trees. The Central Texas Floodplain Reforestation Program was piloted in 2019 through funding provided by The Nature Conservancy to create resilient forest buffers and healthier waterways on 100-year floodplain land. This program is a collaborative effort between TreeFolks, the City of Austin Office of Sustainability and Watershed Protection Department,
and City Forest Credits, a 501(c)(3) organization that tracks quantifiable environmental outcomes using science-based Carbon+ Credit protocols. This program restores degraded riparian forests by providing landowners with free trees, planting services, education, and 1:1 consultations with staff arborists to create optimal grow zones and customized planting plans. Carbon offsets are made available to the City of Austin and private partners to meet carbon neutrality goals. Throughout the past four seasons, this program has reforested 239.46 acres with 212,793 trees across Central Texas. Our partnership with TPWD for the past two seasons helped us reforest 105 acres with 132,586 trees. During the 2023-2024 season, TreeFolks will continue efforts in seven counties (Travis, Bastrop, Hays, Williamson, Caldwell, Blanco, and Burnet) and plant another 75 acres with 60,000 saplings while implementing several significant program improvements.

Iraan Riparian Restoration and Angler Access Project

Project Lead: Gaby Tamez
Funding Partner: Pecos County

The purpose of the project is to assist Pecos County officials in their efforts to improve the river access park through expansion of angling and paddling access, restoration of aquatic and bank habitat, improvements to water quality and flow, and providing a nexus for local outreach and education. As of 2019, Pecos County has invested approximately $70,000.000 of county funds into the renovation, enhancement, and upkeep of the park facilities. This project will involve efforts to control invasive salt cedar and establish native vegetation and trees, bank stabilization, and improvement of the existing paddle craft ramp.

Upper San Marcos River Invasive Species Control Project

Project Lead: Travis Tidwell
Funding Partner: Texas State University

The Upper San Marcos River is a 4.5-mile stretch that begins at Spring Lake on the campus of Texas State University in San Marcos and flows down to the confluence with the Blanco River. This stretch of clear, spring-fed water is a popular destination for paddlers and anglers who target Largemouth Bass, sunfish, and Rio Grande Cichlids. The Upper San Marcos is the only location where Texas wild-rice (Zizania texana) is found.  This federally endangered species provides habitat for recreational fish species as well as the federally endangered Fountain darter (Etheostoma fonticola.). Texas wild-rice faces numerous threats, including competition with non-native aquatic invasive species such as Hydrilla and Hygrophila. This project proposes to enhance fish habitat in the Upper San Marcos River by removing aquatic invasive species and replacing them with native aquatic vegetation such as Texas wild-rice. This project will be a continuation of previous federally funded efforts to restore Texas wild-rice in locations upstream of the proposed project area and would occur in conjunction with a US Army Corps of Engineers grant to the City of San Marcos to remove invasive elephant ear plants along the riparian margin of the Upper San Marcos in the same area. 

To learn more about the Habitat and Angler Access Program or any of the projects described above, please contact Michael Homer, Jr. by phone at (325) 692-0921 or by email at FishGrants@tpwd.texas.gov.