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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

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

TPWD News Release — Nov. 2, 2010

TPWD Postpones Devils River Land Acquisition

AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission consideration of a proposal to buy land for a new state park or natural area on the Devils River has been postponed, pending the outcome of a public briefing to the commission’s Conservation Committee tomorrow.

“This is unquestionably the right and responsible course of action,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “We have heard loudly and clearly from trusted partners, stakeholders, and many interested citizens, many of whom have requested more time to consider this project. Quite simply, we have an obligation to our constituents, who maintain appropriately high expectations about the level of public engagement needed before a decision of this magnitude is reached. We will not compromise that public trust and have advised our commission of the importance of deferring formal action on this proposal.”

The proposal was originally on the commission agenda for both Nov. 3 and 4. But the topic has now been pulled from the Nov. 4 full commission agenda. It will be discussed in executive session and during a public briefing tomorrow to the commission’s Conservation Committee, which will meet along with other committees starting at 9 a.m. Such committee work sessions are not set up to take to take public comments, but TPWD is continuing to accept comments pending full commission action.

Depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s commission briefing, the department is ready to set more public meetings about the project in coming weeks. These would be similar to previous meetings about the proposal held Oct. 20 in Del Rio and Oct. 26 in San Antonio.

The proposal would result in the exchange of the existing Devils River State Natural Area as partial payment for a privately owned ranch downriver, which would become a new state park or natural area. The department has compiled maps, photos, questions and answers, conservation easement documents and other resources to explain the complex project in a Devils River Land Acquisition News Roundup on its website.

Questions or comments about the proposal can be sent by email to ted.hollingsworth@tpwd.texas.gov or by regular mail to Ted Hollingsworth, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.

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