Records Appraisal Report:
Parks and Wildlife Department,
Wildlife Division Wildlife Topographic Maps

Contents of this report
Agency Contact | Record Series Reviews

Internal link to series review
Wildlife Topographic Maps

Archival finding aid
An Inventory of Parks and Wildlife Department Records at the Texas State Archives, 1905-2004, bulk 1963-2004

August 6, 2012, Laura K. Saegert, Assistant Director for Archives

Agency Contact

This agency contact information was current at the time of the report but may have changed in the interim. Please call (512-463-5455) for current contact information of the agency's records manager or records liaison for these records.

Bob Gottried, Melissa Laneman

Record Series Reviews

Records Series Review
Series Title: Wildlife Topographic Maps

Obsolete record series? Yes
Replaced by: GIS database

Ongoing record series? Not in paper
Annual accumulation: n/a

Agency holdings: 70 oversize flat file boxes of paper maps, PDF scans of all maps

This series is composed of United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps of Texas. The geospatial location of the known locations for rare, threatened, and endangered species and rare natural resources are marked on the maps. From 1983 to fall 2004 every piece of information regarding rare, threatened, and endangered species that was entered into the existing database also received a corresponding location on one of the USGS topographic maps. The information on those maps spans over 100 years of biological information starting with plant collections from the late 1800s and continuing until 2005. Each dot on the map was an observation of a particular species. Yellow dots indicated plants, red dots indicated animals, green dots indicated vegetation communities, and orange dots indicated our "other" category which includes animal assemblages. Further, each dot was outlined by a symbol that indicated the quality of the location information that was provided by the source of the information. A double circle indicated very precise or essentially right under the dot, a circle indicated precise (+/- 100 m), a triangle represented minute precision (+/- 2000 m), and a square indicated the least precise data, or general precision (+/- 8000 m). Lastly the notes in the margins of the maps referred to a dot location on that specific map. Using the margin notes you can determine the species located at a dot and the code to look for more information in the database. Since 2005 all of the information that was in the old database and on the topographic map was converted and imported into the newest version of the division’s Wildlife Diversity database. The current database has a GIS mapping interface that replaces the need to manually map information onto the paper topographic maps. The data that exists now is a combination of the previous data, new data that has been added since 2005, and updates of the existing data. The new database and the subsequent new database methodology mean that none of the data as portrayed on the maps is portrayed in quite the same way in our GIS system.

Each topographic map was scanned as a PDF and the division maintains copies of those PDFs for reference access.

The information on the maps, now present in the database, both pre-conversion and post-conversion, has been used, and is currently used, to track the status of rare species populations in the state, plan conservation actions, and review public and private construction and development projects for potential environmental impacts.

Agency program:
The Parks and Wildlife Department is responsible for the management and conservation of the state's wildlife and fish resources; provision of outdoor recreational opportunities to the public; acquisition, development, and operation of wildlife management areas, fish hatcheries, state parks, historic sites, and other public lands; conservation education and outreach; cultural and historical interpretation; and the regulation of fishing, hunting, and boating activities. The Department is composed of ten major divisions which carry out the functions and duties of the agency: Wildlife, State Parks, Coastal Fisheries, Inland Fisheries, Communications, Law Enforcement, Infrastructure, Administrative Resources, Information Technology and Human Resources. Administration of the agency is by an executive director.

The Parks and Wildlife Department is governed by the Parks and Wildlife Commission, initially composed of three members, currently nine members, appointed by the Governor with approval of the Senate. Members serve six-year overlapping terms. The Commission chairperson is appointed biennially by the Governor. The Commission meets quarterly or more often as needed. Its chief responsibility is to adopt policies and rules to carry out the programs of the Parks and Wildlife Department.

The Wildlife Division manages and conserves all the state's wildlife resources. Its responsibilities include wildlife planning; research; inventorying wildlife resources; monitoring population dynamics; regulating game seasons and bag limits; conserving non-game and rare species; habitat conservation and acquisition; providing technical assistance to land owners; operating and managing 52 wildlife management areas; and assisting with the management of 123 state parks. The division also uses state-owned and operated lands to conduct wildlife research, field tours, seminars, wildlife management operations, and offer public access to these lands for public hunting and other recreational and education uses. Most of the work done by the division is eligible for reimbursement under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act.

Arrangement: Alphabetical by county

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for/or an aid to access? Yes

Problems: Wildlife information on the notes is partially coded, access to the GIS database is recommended to fully understand the significance of the species information portrayed on the map.

Known related records in other agencies: Unknown

Previous destructions: Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Internet pages based on records: None yet

Series data from agency schedule: Not on the schedule
Series item number:
Agency item number:
Archival code:

Texas Documents Collection holdings: None

Archival holdings: None in the holdings of the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
The maps in this series hold a wealth of information about rare, threatened, and endangered species and rare natural resources in Texas. The information on those maps spans over 100 years of biological information starting with plant collections from the late 1800’s and continuing until 2005. The collection contains over 750 maps with original data. However, access to the Wildlife Division’s GIS database is needed to fully interpret the partially coded data added to the maps. Information on the maps has been converted and imported into the GIS database and updated since 2005; the maps have been scanned as PDFs so they can be available for staff use as needed. These topographic maps do have historic value, but they also cannot easily be used as a stand-alone resource. Also, the sheer number of maps is daunting. If the agency agrees to maintain and migrate the GIS information every 3-5 years to keep the data viable and trustworthy, I recommend we not take the maps. If not, we will transfer the maps.


Page last modified: August 7, 2012