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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-03-22                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
March 22, 2004
Golden Alga Hits Lake Texoma, Remains Active Elsewhere
AUSTIN, Texas -- Fish kills along the southern shoreline of Lake Texoma are being attributed to golden alga, which is naturally occurring and secretes a fish killing toxin. This dashes the hopes of environmental scientists and fisheries biologists in Oklahoma and Texas that any extensive damage from the lingering presence of the alga on this border lake might be avoided.
The outbreak on Lake Texoma is believed to have begun sometime around March 6, however, large concentrations of affected fish were not observed until later that week. Initial estimates place the loss at upwards of one half million fish based upon Texas Parks and Wildlife Department surveys conducted along the Big Mineral Arm of the reservoir on March 12. Threadfin shad, an abundant forage fish, comprised the majority of the kill, but small numbers of largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill were also affected.
"We're taking this situation very seriously," said Phil Durocher, TPWD Inland Fisheries Division director. "Texoma is an important lake, not only to us but also to Oklahoma and we're going to do everything we can to mitigate losses. Right now we're working jointly with our counterparts in Oklahoma and just trying to get a handle on what's happening. We'll continue to monitor the situation and collect the same type of data we've been gathering on other lakes where golden alga has occurred."
No other fish kills have been reported elsewhere on Lake Texoma.
TPWD and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation have been monitoring the 84,000-acre reservoir for possible spread of golden alga since a fish kill back in January on a 150-acre off-channel lake in upper Lake Texoma was traced to the toxic alga.
"We were hoping the weather would warm up and Texoma would not be affected this year, but it didn't happen," said Durocher. "This is a natural thing. Why the alga started up now, we have no idea."
While both Texas and Oklahoma are directing resources to Lake Texoma to address the outbreak there, TPWD officials remain concerned about several other golden alga-related incidents elsewhere.
A smaller kill was reported on Possum Kingdom Reservoir northwest of Fort Worth. Staff at Possum Kingdom State Park and also lake rangers are monitoring the area closely since it is the vicinity where two previous major golden alga kills started.
An estimated 10,000 threadfin shad were also killed as a result of golden alga on Lake Granbury. A kill was also reported on Lake Whitney, but an investigation by TPWD staff did not find any unusually high numbers of dead fish.
Another small kill was also reported in Lake Diversion, southwest of Wichita Falls. No estimate of losses has been completed yet on this water body.
In West Texas, several toxic sites are still being monitored by officials, including one in the Pecos River in New Mexico. An extended kill has continued in this area for more than a month. A few dead fish have drifted into Red Bluff reservoir as a result.
Some dead fish were also found on E.V. Spence Reservoir near San Angelo and Lake Colorado City. Water samples from both areas varied between moderately to highly toxic to test organisms, but fish losses have been quite low. And a small but persistent fish kill continues in the Colorado River below Ballinger.
"One encouraging note is that Moss Creek Lake, which experienced a golden alga outbreak, may be recovering," according to Jack Ralph, TPWD Kills and Spills Team leader. "It still contains some golden cells, but tested non-toxic to fish for the first time in more than two years. Prior to this the waterbody had maintained a viable population of P. parvum and continued to kill fish."
First discovered in Texas in 1985, golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) was identified in a fish kill in the Pecos River and has since been responsible for fish kills in the Colorado, Canadian, Wichita and Brazos river systems as well. This is the first reported finding in the Red River basin downstream of Lake Kemp and Diversion Lake on the Wichita River.
Since 2001, golden alga fish kills have occurred on two dozen reservoirs in Texas. Since 1985, nearly 18 million fish have been killed. Although significant numbers of game fish were affected in several areas, most of the fish killed were either forage or rough fish species.
To help keep anglers and other stakeholders informed about golden alga, TPWD has developed a Web site dedicated to harmful algal blooms.
The site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hab/ga/) will be a "clearinghouse" for information about harmful algal blooms, including scientific research updates, details and up-to-date news during an active bloom.
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[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
March 22, 2004
Conditions Prime for Outstanding Spring Turkey Season
AUSTIN, Texas -- Wildflowers are blooming against a backdrop of bright green -- signs of spring. But, it's the sounds of spring that stir the hunter; like the bellowing of a mature gobbler responding to a hen's invitation.
If prognostications by state wildlife biologists hold true, there will be plenty of gobbling going on this year as conditions around the state bode well for the upcoming spring turkey hunting season.
"We've had good turkey reproduction for three years in a row in some areas of the state," said Steve DeMaso, upland game bird program leader with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "If the weather cooperates and conditions remain as they are, we should see an outstanding hunting season."
Rio Grande spring turkey hunting season opens March 27 in South Texas and runs through May 2. In the remaining 119 counties having spring hunting for Rio Grande turkey, the season begins April 3 and runs through May 9. Statewide regulations allow the use of shotgun, rifle, handgun, legal archery equipment, or crossbow to take Rio Grande turkey; however, individual landowners and public hunting areas may further restrict the devices to be used. The bag limit for Rio Grande turkey is four turkeys per license year. However, regulations and bag limits vary by county, so check the regulations for the county where you are hunting. Only gobblers are allowed to be harvested during the spring hunting season. Consult the 2003-04 outdoor annual (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/annual/) for season dates and bag limits in your area.
According to Joe Herrera, TPWD district biologist for South Texas, hunters can expect to find plenty of jakes coming to call this spring. "There will be a lot of young birds in the mix because of the excellent hatch we had last year," he offered. "They'll come to call easier than the older gobblers and there's more of them in the population."
That's not to suggest the brush country doesn't have any mature birds, just not as prevalent as the jake population. "Two-year-old birds will be there but not in numbers because the year before last was slightly below average as far as production," Herrera said. "Birds ought to be in good shape and we're looking forward to a good season in South Texas. Range conditions look really good in light of scattered rainfall throughout much of the area. We had a pretty dry latter part of 2003 from November through mid February and things were looking a little scary, range-condition wise. But in the last month or so things have perked up and conditions look real good."
Conditions look equally good in the Rolling Plains region of the Panhandle according to Gene Miller, a TPWD technical guidance biologist in Canyon. "Our main turkey range in the eastern half of the Panhandle during the last two weeks received very nice rainfall across the region and the weather is warming up," he said. "If we don't heat up and blow away, we'll be starting out with good moisture conditions and those lush conditions bode well for turkey breeding and nesting. We're going into the season with a strong crop of adults and good production of young. A lot of adult toms should be available to call to the gun. We've seen a minimum of four years of average to above-average production, which means we should have a tremendous crop of old mature toms."
The spring eastern turkey season is open in 42 East Texas counties from April 12-25 and is limited to shotgun, lawful archery equipment or crossbow, with a one-gobbler bag limit.
Hunters are reminded that a Texas turkey hunting stamp is required in addition to a valid Texas hunting license.
All harvested eastern turkeys must be taken to a check station within 24 hours. For the check station nearest you contact a TPWD field office or call (800) 792-1112.
Those hunters hoping to try their skills in some of the national forest lands in East Texas should note there might be some prescribed burns taking place around the eastern turkey opener. Hunters are urged to contact the U.S. Forest Service's district ranger office for each National Forest or Grassland before heading afield. Here is the contact information:
--Sabine Ranger District (409) 787-3870
--Angelina Ranger District (936) 897-1068
--Davy Crockett Ranger District (936) 655-2299
--Sam Houston Ranger District (936) 344-6205.
If you intend to hunt in the national forestlands, an Annual Public Hunting Permit (available for $48 wherever hunting licenses are sold) is needed and provides access to more than 350,000 acres of public hunting lands in East Texas.
"It appears that the stage is set for a pretty good year this year for turkey hunters in the Pineywoods," said Gary Calkins, TPWD district biologist for the Pineywoods. "We've had about three years of really good reproduction and not a lot of harvest so there should be a bunch of older birds out there. We've also had fairly good winter conditions. The acorn crop last year was a little spotty, and early winter rains were not really abundant, but late winter rains and mild temps have allowed conditions to be good this spring. I expect good hunting throughout the District."
In the Post Oak Savannah ecoregion, where some eastern turkey hunting has begun to spread, district biologist David Sierra noted, "With such a mild winter and spring shaping up well, combining with what I would consider another great hatch last year, this should make a great spring turkey season. The Post Oak has had at least three years worth of great spring and good summer conditions for hatching and raising poults. I had many reports last summer of hens with large groups of poults, so there should be a number of young birds in the woods this spring. The chances should be very good this year for a successful spring hunt."
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[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
March 22, 2004
TPWD Looking at Series of Deer Management Proposals
AUSTIN, Texas -- With only about one percent of the total land mass in Texas being managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, wildlife conservation will have to happen on private land to be successful in Texas.
Providing private landowners and wildlife managers with the freedom and flexibility to effectively manage wildlife on their property is one of the benchmark priorities in TPWD's Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan, designed to guide the agency's long-range efforts.
One of the ways TPWD assists private landowners with resource conservation is through agency-approved wildlife management plans. Currently, about 14.5 million acres of private property operate under such plans.
Among Texas' most prized natural assets is the white-tailed deer and while many other wildlife species benefit from proper habitat conservation measures, a majority of wildlife management plans are tailored to address the needs of deer.
And as deer management strategies evolve, TPWD recognizes the need to adjust and amend the guidelines to allow land managers to be more efficient and effective stewards. This spring, the agency is looking at a series of proposed changes based upon recommendations from the TPW Commission's White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee. Following is a summary of those recommendations, which are up for comment right now in a series of public hearings going on around the state.
--Eliminate "Dual Tagging Requirements" -- This proposal is designed to simplify complex and redundant tagging requirements for deer taken by specified permit, such as during certain public drawn hunts or on managed properties having deer permits. Only the special permit tag would be required, not the corresponding tag from a valid hunting license. Additionally, this proposal would eliminate personal bag limits and the requirement to complete the harvest log on the back of the hunting license for deer taken under authority of the specified permits.
--Extend Season Length for Level II and III MLDPs (Managed Lands Deer Permit) -- The current ending date for Level II and III MLDPs varies depending upon the region of the state. Additionally, many MLDP properties also utilize Antlerless Deer Control Permits which are valid through the last day in February. A consistent "ending date" at the end of February for harvest permits will reduce confusion and allow for enhanced opportunities to achieve harvest objectives.
--A one-year suspension for properties that exceed the harvest quota in a Wildlife Management Plan -- This proposal would provide a penalty for properties that fail to follow harvest guidelines but continue to work under a WMP and collect necessary data.
--Allow the "inconsequential release" of deer taken under the Trap, Transport and Transplant (TTT) permit program -- This proposal would allow for more than a one-time only inconsequential release of up to one deer per 200 acres at a frequency not to exceed one release every four years, and allow for an inconsequential release at change in ownership of the property.
--TTT Site inspection exemptions -- Allow Level II MLDP properties (in addition to Level III properties) to qualify for "no site inspection release of TTT deer," if the Level II property can provide data equivalent to Level III requirements, and the total number of deer, after release, does not exceed the number specified in the WMP.
--Eliminate the limit on the number of deer that can be removed from a Level II or III MLDP property prior to the importation of additional deer -- This change would allow landowners more flexibility in the number of deer they can import to their property without negative implications to plant communities.
--Require that all buck deer moved by TTT permit have antlers removed prior to transport -- Current TTT rules require bucks to have the antlers removed prior to transport unless the movement takes place between Feb. 10 and March 31. This proposal would ensure that antlered bucks are not moved during an open season, particularly if the Level II and III MLDP season is extended through the last day of February.
--Allow buck deer to be included in TTT activities that are authorized for inconsequential purposes or for sites that do not require a site inspection -- TTT activities are authorized at "inconsequential levels" or at levels prescribed in a wildlife management plan in order to protect plant communities from over-browsing. The sex of the animal is irrelevant to this point.
Comments about these proposals and others being considered by TPWD may be made online at (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/) or in writing to: TPWD Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.
A series of 19 public hearings began March 8 and continues through March 24. The public is encouraged to attend and make comment at any of the following remaining meetings. All hearings start at 7 p.m.:
--Franklin -- March 23, Robertson County Courthouse.
--Longview -- March 25, Gregg County Service Center, 405 East Marshall (Hwy 80).
--Midland -- March 22, Old Midland County Tax Office, 709 W. Washington St.
--Palestine -- March 22, Ben E. Keith Building, 2019 W. Oak.
--Rusk -- March 24, Cherokee County Courthouse, 502 N. Main.
--Southlake -- March 22, Southlake Courthouse, 1400 Main St., Room B, 3rd Floor.
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[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
March 22, 2004
TPWD Game Wardens To Be Federally Commissioned
AUSTIN, Texas -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agents are attending a series of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden meetings in March and April to federally commission the wardens.
What does that mean?
There is a new memorandum of agreement between TPWD and the USFWS which says USFWS will provide TPWD wardens with training about federal laws and enforcement issues and TPWD wardens will then have the authority, for example, to seize evidence and make an arrest on federal wildlife violations. Federal cases will still be turned over to USFWS. In turn, TPWD will do training for the federal agents, giving them state jurisdiction.
"The cooperation between these two agencies has never been better, and this is just another sign of it," said Col. James Stinebaugh, director of law enforcement at TPWD.
Richard McDonald, USFWS Special-Agent-in-Charge of the southwest region (which includes Texas), said, "from a federal standpoint, this gives us 500-plus eyes and ears that we didn't have before. And under state law, there were some cases where we wouldn't have jurisdiction and we will have it now. For example, in the case of someone taking a deer in closed season, that is not a federal violation, so before, we could take the information as we saw it and provide it to warden. Now, we can seize the deer at the scene.
This gives both of us more tools to effectively protect the resources of the state of Texas," McDonald said.
Just about all TPWD wardens are getting federally trained. This is a first for Texas Game Wardens and other states have similar agreements with USFWS, Stinebaugh said.
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[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
March 22, 2004
Record Catfish Still Drawing Crowds to Fisheries Center
ATHENS, Texas-The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has a big fish story. 'Splash,' the new record blue catfish now swimming in the dive tank at the center, has sent visitation through the roof. Attendance the first weekend in March was 979, an increase of 30 percent from last year. Visitation for the year to date is up 6,000 compared with the same period last year.
More than 600 people visited the center on March 9 to kick off spring break. And 'Fly Fish Texas' contributed to the total of about 1,400 people who visited the center the weekend of March 13.
The center's regular activities include: a diver hand-feeding fish in the 26,000-gallon dive tank, the viewing of native Texas species in simulated natural environments, and a narrated tram tour of the fish hatchery.
About half the people who visit take advantage of the center's 1.5-acre casting pond, where they can catch rainbow trout or channel catfish. No fishing license is needed and all equipment is provided. Catch-and-release fishing is free. For the first time, catfish may be harvested year-around for a fee. Trout may also be harvested for a fee.
Spring is an ideal time to walk the center's .6-mile Wetlands Trail. A variety of birds are nesting in trees and shrubs on the 106-acre site, including red-winged blackbirds, doves, cardinals and mockingbirds.
Carnivorous pitcher plants will begin blooming in the bog area in late March, and the wildflower area will follow suit soon after.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is an innovative aquatic nature center and hatchery complex operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is located 75 miles southeast of Dallas on FM 2495, four miles east of Athens. Attractions include 300,000 gallons of aquariums, daily dive show and on-site fishing. Hours are Tues.-Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Rates are: adults $5.50, seniors $4.50, and children ages 4-12 are admitted for $3.50. For more information, visit the Web (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/) and click on fishing or call the center at (903) 676-2277.
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[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
March 22, 2004
Texas Gulf Coast Roundup Enters 7th Year
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking to coastal anglers to help gather specimens for use in hatchery production, research projects and for educational purposes during upcoming Gulf Coast Roundup events.
The Gulf Coast Roundup is a series of free fishing tournament-format events along the coast where participating anglers try to reel in specific saltwater fish at certain sizes to help conservation while earning points that could reel them in a lifetime fishing license.
By contributing a portion of their catch to TPWD, anglers will be supporting and encouraging fishery conservation, management, education and research in Texas
Three anglers from each event will win Shimano Curado reels and the top points winner for the event will win a Shimano Calcutta 250 on an all-star rod. At the end of the year, the angler who has the most points will win a lifetime fishing license.
Every Gulf Coast Roundup participant will receive a T-shirt or cap. Participants will also receive a door prize ticket for a drawing on a Shimano Symetre spinning reel on an all-star rod. All prizes for the events are donated by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas.
"One of the main benefits we've experienced as a result of these free fishing tournaments includes receiving a wide variety of quality fish for research, brood stock and aquarium displays that we would not have had otherwise," said Robert Adami with TPWD's Coastal Fisheries Division. "Because anglers donate these fish to us, we don't have to send our people to collect the specimens; this saves the agency manpower and money. We really appreciate our angling community, and all they do to improve coastal fishing in Texas."
The first of five tournaments is set for March 27 in Port Arthur at the S.A.L.T. Club at 550 Pleasure Island Blvd. Anglers will compete in three categories to catch specific saltwater fish at certain sizes, earning points toward prizes. The categories are conservation, perfect fish and unusual fish. The remainder of the Gulf Coast Roundup schedule is as follows:
--April 24 -- South Padre, targeting Spotted Sea Trout
--May 8 -- Corpus Christi, targeting Spotted Sea Trout
--June 5 -- Port O'Connor, targeting Southern Flounder
--Oct. 16 -- Texas City, targeting Southern Flounder
All tournaments start at 6 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. The Texas Gulf Coast Roundup is sponsored in part by Anheuser-Busch. For more information about the Texas Gulf Coast Roundup, call (800) 792-1112 or visit the TPWD Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fish/) and click on the Gulf Coast Roundup link.
Gulf Coast Roundup Event Calendar
--March 27 -- Port Arthur, S.A.L.T. Club, 550 Pleasure Island Blvd., (409) 735-4488
--April 24 -- South Padre Island, Sea Ranch Marina, One Padre Blvd., (956) 761-7777
--May 8 -- Corpus Christi, Marker 37, 13317 South Padre Island Drive, (under JFK Causeway), (361) 949-8037
--June 5 -- Port O'Connor, Bait Doc, Byers and Intercoastal Waterway, (361) 983-4466
--Oct. 16 -- Texas City, Boyd's One Stop, 227 Dike Road, (409) 945-4001
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[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
March 22, 2004
Texas Farm Bill 'EQIP' Wildlife Funds Available
AUSTIN, Texas -- A total of $1,697,386 in federal Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) money is available from the for funding grazing practices that benefit quail and other grassland birds.
Following are eligibility criteria by region:
Panhandle landowners close to known populations of lesser prairie chickens can apply for financial assistance through the program at 50 percent or more cost-share funding.
Eligible conservation practices include shin oak and sand sage control, prescribed burns and improvement of grazing management systems in a way that benefits lesser prairie chickens, bobwhite and scaled quail. Landowners who have existing prairie dog colonies receive extra points. Additional incentive payments will be made for needed grazing deferments and to landowners who follow approved wildlife and grazing management plans. Total amount available for the panhandle Lesser Prairie Chicken area this year will be $509,216.
Eastern Panhandle and Rolling Plains landowners interested in improving bobwhite quail habitat can get cost-share for controlling thick mesquite or juniper with selective mechanical treatment, herbicides and/or prescribed fire. Additional incentive payments will be made for needed grazing deferments and to landowners who follow approved wildlife and grazing management plans. Total amount available for the Rolling Plains bobwhite quail area this year will be $577,111.
South Coastal Texas landowners interested in improving bobwhite quail or Attwater's prairie chicken habitat can receive cost-share for brush control, prescribed burns and incentive payments for needed grazing deferments. Additional incentive payments will be made to landowners who also follow approved wildlife and grazing management plans. Total amount available for the coastal Atwater's Prairie Chicken/ bobwhite area this year will be $509,216.
East Texas landowners can receive 50 percent cost-share for site preparation, planting and managing longleaf pine stands including up to three required prescribed burns. Properly managed longleaf pine savannahs are excellent quail habitat. Total amount available for the longleaf pine area this year will be $101,843.
Applications for the 2004 program year will be accepted until April 16. You can apply at your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office. Office locations are listed on the Web (http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/) using the "Find a Service Center" link or by looking in the phonebook for USDA-NRCS in the U.S. Government section. Or for more information, you can contact Chuck Kowaleski at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (254) 742-9874.
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[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SA]
March 22, 2004
TPWD Sponsors Outdoor Extravaganza for Physically Challenged
DALLAS -- Turning P.O.I.N.T., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing outdoor recreation opportunities for the physically challenged, is hosting the '2004 Extravaganza' May 16 at Bachman Lake in Dallas. P.O.I.N.T. stands for Paraplegics on Independent Nature Trips, and the 13th annual Extravaganza promises a weekend of outdoor fun in the second-largest event of its kind in the United States for the physically challenged.
Among the nearly 20 outdoors activities for the events are catfish and bass fishing tanks. TPWD is a primary sponsor of the extravaganza will be providing a tank with catfish for people to catch. TPWD also usually provides some display fish, including bass.
Other activities at the event, which lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., include: archery, kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing, sailing, scuba, air rifles, rock climbing, remote control cars, fly fishing and self-defense demos, sky diving, hand-cycling, camping, computer technology and crafts.
Physically challenged participants will receive a ticket for each activity for a chance to win prizes, including a new PT Cruiser. Those going to the extravaganza also get a chance to meet Paralympic Gold Medalists Dave Kiley, Randy Snow, Candace Cables and others.
Other Turning P.O.I.N.T. events during the weekend include a 25th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser Celebration May 14 featuring Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, with special guest Jimmie Vaughan at the Sterling Hotel. There will also be a tournament series May 15 featuring Kid's 3-on-3 and Men's 3-on-3 basketball, bowling, billiards, trap shooting, and tennis. Pre-registration is required for the tournament.
Tickets to the Extravaganza on May 16 are $15 for adults and free for children 12 and younger. For more information or to register, visit the Web site at (http://www.turningpointtexas.org/), e-mail Shorty Powers at point@turningpointtexas.org, or call Turning P.O.I.N.T. at (972) 524-4231.
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[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
March 22, 2004
TPWD Taking Part in Tidal Stream Study
AUSTIN, Texas -- Beginning March 22, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists will be studying five tidal streams along the middle and upper Texas coast and will continue to do so through November.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has contracted with TPWD to study three specific tidal streams, Cow Bayou, Tres Palacios River and Garcitas Creek. These streams are suspected of having low oxygen levels. Two other streams, Lost River and West Carancahua Creek, are believed to be healthy streams and they will also be studied and used for comparison.
There will be sampling done every six weeks. The biologists will make more sampling trips and collect more types of data than is typical for freshwater stream studies in order to try to understand how tidal streams work. They will then analyze the data and prepare a report, which is due to the TCEQ in 2006.
Tidal streams are areas where freshwater meets saltwater. They are freshwater streams that are influenced by the tide pushing up into them. Because they provide a special kind of habitat, tidal streams serve as nursery grounds for many types of fish and shellfish, including ecologically and economically important species like shrimp and sport fish. Adequate oxygen for fish and shellfish is critical for the health of these tidal streams.
The TCEQ has identified several tidal streams that may have inadequate amounts of oxygen for the long-term health of those streams. These streams were identified through regular monitoring and an assessment process required by the Clean Water Act. The process requires the state to analyze waters that may not have enough oxygen and determine whether the condition is natural or due to human influence. If the low oxygen condition is due to human influence, the state is required to conduct a "Total Maximum Daily Load" project to determine what needs to be done to control wastes that take oxygen out of the water.
When the fieldwork is complete, TPWD scientists will have about two years to analyze and interpret all the data and write a final report about the ecological health of each stream.
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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
March 22, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Wardens Rescue Girls from Tree During Flood -- March 15, game wardens rescued girls from up in a tree in a flooded area. Two vehicles had washed off of a Blanco Creek low-water crossing between Sabinal and Concan in Uvalde County after heavy rains. There were six people and one dog total in the vehicles. All were rescued approximately three miles down-stream from the crossing. Game Wardens Dennis Gazaway, Mark McQueary, Mark Chapa, and Steve Backor all responded to the call.
Wrong Number or Incriminating Call? Game wardens in Val Verde County were patrolling Amistad Lake when they came in contact with three people who were bank fishing. None of the suspects had fishing licenses, one individual had outstanding warrants, and the other two were in possession of marijuana. Much to the dismay of one of the suspects in possession, his cell phone went off with a text message stating "Are you smoking yet, Dopey?" Charges are pending.
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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
March 22, 2004
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public. Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
Operation Game Thief Committee, April 6, 10:30a.m., Bass Conference Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
Historic Sites Advisory Committee, April 16, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., A-100, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
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[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ] [KE]
March 22, 2004
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Radio
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on about 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of March 22-26, you can't feed the animals at the zoo OR in a state park, we'll explain. Plus, the second largest canyon in the United States can be found in the Texas panhandle.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation. This month's stories include: A World War II veteran is healing some old wounds at the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site-National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg; women are learning about the outdoors through the 'Becoming An Outdoors-Woman' workshop; a fisherman's dream comes true when he catches the record Blue Catfish on a rod and reel; and 'wildscaping' your yard not only cuts down on your water bill, it also gives wildlife a place to live.
Television
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Stories airing the week of March 21-28 include: the Rio Grande; stopping short of the gulf; Huntsville State Park; call of the chorus frog; volunteers for the outdoors, and sunset near Uvalde.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tv).
Magazine
In the March issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, mountain biker Dan Oko challenges the desert conditions of Franklin Mountains State Park and seasoned hunter Steven R. LaMascus rekindles his love of hunting by going after spring turkeys. Saltwater fishing writer Larry Bozka casts for reds and seatrout in Copano Bay and Mary-Love Bigony reviews the comeback of Kemp's ridley turtle on the Texas coast.
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order on line (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).
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