The Department’s primary functions are management and conservation of the state’s natural and cultural resources, provision of outdoor recreational opportunities, conservation education and outreach, and cultural/historical interpretation. To this end, TPWD:
- Operates and maintains a system of public lands, including state parks, historic sites, fish hatcheries and wildlife management areas. These resources include over 1.4 million acres of parks and recreation areas, wildlife management areas, natural areas and historic/cultural areas. In all, the department manages 93 state parks/historic sites, of which 90 are open to the public, and 51 wildlife management areas.
- Serves as the state agency with primary responsibility for conserving, protecting and enhancing the state’s fish and wildlife resources. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the department monitors and assesses habitats, surveys fish and game/nongame populations, conducts research and demonstration projects, and operates eight fish hatcheries.
- Regulates and enforces commercial and recreational fishing, hunting, boating and nongame laws in the state. A force of approximately 500 commissioned peace officers serving as TPWD game wardens ensures compliance with these regulations, as well as provisions of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, certain portions of the Penal Code, the Water Code and the Antiquities Code.
- Monitors, conserves and enhances the quality and quantity of rivers, streams, lakes, coastal marshes, bays, beaches, gulf waters and other aquatic and wildlife habitat. By statute, the department coordinates much of this activity with other state and federal agencies such as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the General Land Office, the Texas Water Development Board, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Informs and educates the public regarding laws and rules regulating fish, game/nongame wildlife and environmental habitats, boating safety, firearm safety for hunters, fish and wildlife conservation, and outdoor recreation in general.
- Provides direct matching grants to local political subdivisions and non-profit entities for planning, acquisition or development of local parks, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, and for recreation, conservation and education programs for underserved populations.