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July 1, 2002
Texas: The State of Water Initiative Rolls Out
AUSTIN, Texas - Bringing water resource issues into foreground focus is the aim of Texas: The State of Water, a statewide multi-media communication effort of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sponsored by Brazos Mutual Funds. The initiative involves some of Texas' finest writers, photographers and broadcast producers in informing the public about water as a defining resource for Texas' economic and ecological future.
"Water is the single most important factor for the future of people and wildlife in Texas, period," said Robert L. Cook, TPWD executive director. "Water is a finite resource that will only get stretched farther as our population expands. There is still time now to plan for a future with enough water for people and wildlife."
Cook emphasized that water resource stewardship on private land is critical, since some 95 percent of Texas land is privately owned. He also said water conservation is part of a 10-year strategic plan the agency is now developing.
"We're proud to support this important water conservation initiative for Texas," said John McStay, a founder of the water initiative's primary sponsor, Brazos Mutual Funds. "I've spent many hours enjoying Texas rivers and wildlife and believe we all need to know more about how to manage these precious resources wisely."
Texas: The State of Water launches in July with a special, 100-plus-page issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine that will be available on Texas newsstands for three months. The issue includes articles by Elmer Kelton on the Ogallala Aquifer, Jan Reid on Comal Springs, Joe Nick Patoski on the Devils River, Carol Flake Chapman on Caddo Lake, Michael Furtman on swamps and wetlands, Jim Anderson on Matagorda Bay and a special report from Rod Davis on the Rio Grande.
"This is not a topic easily reduced to sound bites," said Lydia Saldaña, TPWD
communications director. "We're trying to make people aware that what happens in one locality may have profound impacts on water and wildlife in the next county or across the state. We hope the joy we all share in fishing, paddling, birding and all outdoor pursuits that depend on water will spark people to get involved in conservation."
Other components of the Texas: The State of Water initiative include:
- Water-related radio episodes that will air for six months beginning in July on "Passport to Texas," the state agency's daily, 90-second series broadcast on 100 stations statewide.
- Texas Rivers, a new book coming out this fall by John Graves with photographs by Wyman Meinzer. In this series of essays, the author of the Texas classic Goodbye to a River reveals life along six rivers, the Canadian, Clear Fork of the Brazos, Llano, Neches, Pecos, and Sabinal.
- A Texas Rivers photography exhibit based on the book that will tour the state beginning in July.
- A one-hour video documentary titled Texas: The State of Water that will air early in 2003 on public television. It will be produced in cooperation with PBS station KERA in Dallas, which is providing its high-definition cameras and editing facilities. This will be one of the first Texas documentaries in the new high-definition format.
Each of these efforts will point out that in the next 30 years, the population of Texas is projected to double to 40 million people, and no other single factor will affect the state's growth like water. Stories will highlight the burning question for those who value Texas' natural heritage: how to make sure wildlife and the environment don't get left at the dry end of the trough.
"Senate Bill 1, passed in 1997, mandated that environmental impacts be considered in the water planning process," writes Larry McKinney, Ph.D., TPWD senior division director and director of resource protection. His article "Water for the Future" in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine July issue goes on to say, "However, the vast majority of Texas water rights were appropriated before this law was passed. Therefore, many river systems and estuaries may not be managed to the good of the ecosystem…This is the key problem we face now in Texas."
Established in Dallas, Texas in 1996 by John McStay Investment Counsel (JMIC), the Brazos Mutual Funds are focused on consistent, long-term performance, with an emphasis on risk management. The family of funds includes Micro Cap, Small Cap, Mid Cap and Multi Cap as well as a Real Estate Securities Portfolio. Since 1983, JMIC has grown to approximately $5 billion in assets under management with a blue chip client list that includes pension plans, foundations, endowments, municipalities, institutions of higher learning, and high net worth individuals.
- Student Challenge: Read excerpts from an "Communications Strategy – The Water Initiative" given to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission about the water initiative. What facts does Dr. McKinney cite to support a focus on water issues? What key messages does Ms. Saldaña identify? What strategies does she describe? Do you think these will be effective? Why or why not?
- Media Release: July 2002
- Texas, The State of Water Web site
- TPWD News and Media
- TPWD Education
- Media Training for the Sometimes Reluctant Natural Resource Professional by Lydia Saldaña