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Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Tom Harvey, TPWD, (512) 389-4453 or tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — June 29, 2010

Texas Parks & Wildlife Gears Up for Alex

Game Wardens Heading for Valley; Coastal State Parks Curtailing Operations

AUSTIN – In advance of a growing Tropical Storm Alex, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department today announced the closure of three state parks in the lower Rio Grande Valley effective today and the deployment of game wardens to South Texas to assist with emergency operations.

Fifty game wardens are enroute to a staging area in Mercedes. With 17 airboats and 33 shallow-draft vessels, they will be on standby to assist with any necessary search and rescue operations. In addition, a TPWD mobile command vehicle with a satellite system, computer capabilities and dispatchers is being sent to the Valley.

The three parks being temporarily closed – Resaca de la Palma in Brownsville, Estero Llano Grande in Weslaco and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley in Mission – operate as World Birding Center sites. They are primarily day use parks only, though Bentsen offers primitive camping.

Camping reservations for Mustang Island and Goose Island are being cancelled through at least Thursday and no new ones are currently being accepted, but if the storm stays on its current westerly track, it’s anticipated campgrounds will be open for the busy Fourth of July weekend.

Mustang Island has closed beach camping in anticipation of high tides propelled by Alex’s strong winds. However, at present, water-and-electric campsites remain open, and two RV campers are staying for now.

State park personnel from throughout the state have been dispatched to the lower Texas coast to assist with the relocation of critical equipment, such as mowers, tractors, gators and vehicles, further inland to Falcon, Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon state parks.

TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division field office in Brownsville has been boarded up and equipment moved to safe storage. The division’s Corpus Christi marine development facility has been made storm-ready and its personnel are on standby to evacuate if need be.

For the latest information about Alex’s impact on Texas state parks and other TPWD operations, visit: www.tpwd.state.tx.us.

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