AUSTIN – Since 2000, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Conservation License Plate Program (CLPP) has helped generate funds to support state parks, outdoor recreation, wildlife management and research, and conservation projects in Texas. The largemouth bass license plate is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has generated $893,005 for 93 conservation projects through TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division.
Sales of the largemouth bass license plate directly fund fisheries habitat, access and conservation efforts in Texas waterways. The largemouth bass plate originally launched in 2002 and was redesigned in 2015. The average annual funding produced by the plate sales is $41,000.
Projects funded by the largemouth bass plate are implemented in public reservoirs and small fishing lakes across the state. They have included deployment of GPS-marked fish attractors, installation of underwater greenlights at fishing piers, use of aeration systems to improve water quality in small fishing ponds, establishment of native aquatic vegetation, installation of gravel spawning beds, placement of submerged brush piles and support for angler access projects.
“Funds generated from the sale of largemouth bass license plates provide TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division with funding streams that we can leverage into on-the-ground projects to improve freshwater fishing, angler access and resource conservation,” said Michael Homer, coordinator of TPWD’s Reservoir Fish Habitat Initiative.
In addition to the largemouth bass license plate, the Texas rivers plate raises an average of $40,000 per year for inland fisheries conservation, recreation and management projects. Launched in 2017, funds from the Texas rivers plate are used to support projects that promote paddling and fishing access, invasive species control and fish habitat enhancement in Texas’ rivers and streams. Recent projects include rock installation at the Bosque River paddling trail access point below Lake Waco and at the Barrett Road access site above the lake to improve the parking areas and kayak launches.
Funds from the Texas rivers license plate have also been used to purchase plant materials, seed or geotextile fabric for stream bank conservation projects on the Llano, Brazos and Colorado rivers. Rivers plate funding has also supported the Inland Fisheries Division’s River Access and Conservation Areas Program, which leases private land along Texas rivers for public access to fishing and paddling. The program is currently supporting 21 public river access areas on nine different rivers.
“The bass and Texas rivers conservation license plates look great on any vehicle,” said John Botros, the Inland Fisheries Division’s river access coordinator. “When I see one on the road, I know that there is a person who contributes to improving Texas’ fishing and paddling resources. It is always fun to see others who help us make life better outside.”
Since its debut 22 years ago, the Conservation License Plate program has generated more than $11 million. In addition to the largemouth bass and Texas rivers plates, other plates in the collection include horned lizard, rattlesnake, monarch butterfly and hummingbird plates benefiting wildlife diversity, white-tailed deer and bighorn sheep plates benefiting big game management, camping and bluebonnet plates benefiting state parks and a roadrunner plate benefitting nature tourism and habitat conservation.
To buy the largemouth bass or Texas rivers plates or one of the other available designs, visit www.conservationplate.org or your local county tax assessor-collector’s office. The plates are available for vehicles, trailers and motorcycles and cost just $30 – with $22 going directly to conservation projects. Buyers do not have to wait until they receive a renewal notice, they can order at any time and the cost will be pro-rated.