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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-08-29                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Aug. 29, 2005
Texas Waterfowl Seasons Adopted
AUSTIN, Texas -- Patience and sharp bird identification skills are important traits shared by most waterfowl hunters. They will need both during the upcoming hunting seasons.
Among the changes to the 2005-06 waterfowl hunting regulations adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission include a reduced scaup limit, an aggregate "dusky duck" bag limit and a 39-day season within the season for pintails and canvasbacks.
The good news is that pond counts are up 37 percent from last year in the surveyed areas of the northern U.S. and Canada and despite dry conditions during the spring, precipitation across much of Canada's waterfowl breeding grounds from late May through the end of June should boost production for late nesting species important to Texas, like gadwall and blue-winged teal, according to wildlife biologists. They say it should also help with re-nesting success as well as increased brood survival.
"How all this will relate to hunting in Texas depends on local conditions when these birds arrive," says Dave Morrison, waterfowl program leader with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Weather conditions to the north, localized hunting pressure and a variety of other factors will play a part. I am cautiously optimistic that we will have a fairly decent season in some parts of Texas."
This year's season will run concurrently in both the North and South Zones, with a 12-day resting period between splits. The opening split will run Nov. 5-Nov. 27 and the second split is set for Dec. 10-Jan. 29. The youth only special weekend season is Oct. 29-30.
The season for the High Plains Mallard Management Unit in the Panhandle will run Oct. 22-23 and reopen Oct. 28-Jan. 29. Youth only special weekend season is Oct. 15-16.
Morrison notes that despite a 17 percent increase in breeding pairs observed this year, pintails remain 50 percent below the long-term average set in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Because canvasbacks also lost ground to the long-term average this year, harvest of both species will be limited to a 39-day season and one each daily bag limit. The season within the season will run Dec. 22-Jan. 29 statewide.
Ongoing concerns about the population trends of some ducks, like pintail and canvasback, by officials at the national level, and the continuation of seasons within seasons is the impetus for an innovative alternative by Central Flyway states called the Hunter's Choice. The goal is a more hunter friendly aggregate bag limit that would alleviate those concerns and eliminate the season within the season.
The Hunter's Choice option advocated by the Central Flyway would continue to provide opportunity for abundant species, while at the same time give protection to species of concern through an aggregate bag.
"With the season within the season for pintails and canvasbacks this year we are trying to position ourselves to go to the Hunter's Choice bag limit next year," says Morrison. "To do that, we need to have three years of harvest data with the season within the season framework and this will be our third year."
With a scientific baseline for comparison in hand, Texas will be looking for permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement a Hunter's Choice next year that would allow hunters the flexibility of harvesting one bird daily during the entire regular season from a list that could include pintails, canvasbacks, dusky ducks and mallard hens. If duck populations improve next year and more liberal bag limits are offered, Texas would not include pintails in the Hunter's Choice, assures Morrison.
TPWD has begun addressing the Service's concerns about mottled duck harvest by implementing a one "dusky duck" aggregate daily bag limit. A dusky duck is defined as a mottled duck, black duck or a Mexican-like duck. "We hope this action will alleviate any identification problems in the field and aid in law enforcement activities for waterfowl," says Morrison.
In addition, Morrison reports scaup levels are at the lowest on record. As a result, the Service has taken steps to reduce harvest by dropping the bag limit from 3 to 2 daily.
The rest of the daily bag limit on ducks remains virtually unchanged from last year and stands at 6 birds in the aggregate and can contain no more than 5 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens), 2 wood ducks, and 2 redheads. The limit for mergansers is 5 per day, no more than one hooded merganser and 15 daily for coots.
Another change this year comes in response to concerns about white-fronted goose numbers. Although white front population surveys indicated a slight increase this year and were at the threshold for allowing full season hunting, the Central Flyway made a proactive decision to reduce the season by two weeks because of long term trends indicating a population decline.
"We had the option of going 86 days with a one bird daily bag or 72 days and two bird bag. We chose two birds," says Morrison.
The goose season in the Eastern Zone for light geese and Canada geese is set for Nov. 5-Jan. 29, and white-fronted geese from Nov. 5-Jan. 15. Daily bag limit is 3 Canadas, 2 white fronts and 20 light geese in the aggregate.
The Western Zone goose season will run Nov. 5-Feb. 7 for all geese with a 20 bird daily bag limit on light geese, and four bird bag limit on dark geese, of which 3 may be Canadas and 1 white front in the aggregate.
The light goose conservation order will occur in the Eastern Zone from Jan. 30-Mar. 26 and in the Western Zone from Feb. 8-Mar. 26.
The commission also adopted a change in the sandhill crane season, which will be delayed one week in Zone C, running Dec. 24-Jan. 29 with a 2 bird daily bag limit. The season in Zone A is set for Nov. 5-Feb. 5 with a 3 bird daily bag and in Zone B the season will occur Nov. 26-Feb. 5 with a 3 bird daily limit.
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [RM]
Aug. 29, 2005
Twenty Texas Communities Get $3.75 Million In Park Grants
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $3.75 million in grants at its Aug. 25 meeting to provide recreational opportunities and park facilities, and create greenbelts for communities throughout the state.
Montgomery County was awarded the largest grant -- a $1 million Regional Park Grant to develop the Spring Creek Greenway. It was the only grant out of three regional park grant applications received by Jan. 31, 2005, requesting $5 million from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account for park and conservation projects.
The 76th session of the Texas Legislature authorized the creation of a regional park grant program to be funded through the TRPA. The program is designed to support multi-jurisdictional projects of regional significance serving Texas' metropolitan areas. Projects proposing intensive use recreation and/or regional conservation and recreation are eligible to request matching funds. Funds available include $1 million from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The commission approved four Local Park Grants of $500,000 each for a total of $2 million. Funds for this program come from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The TRPA was authorized in 1993 to assist local political subdivisions of the state in providing basic public recreation facilities. TRPA revenue is generated from a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods. Funds available include $1.5 million from Fiscal Year 2006 TRPA revenue and $500,000 in federal Land and Water Conservation Funds. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received 17 applications by Jan. 31, 2005, requesting $7,307,700 in matching fund assistance.
In the Small Community Grant funding category, the commission approved 15 park projects totaling $750,000. All were funded at the maximum $50,000-per-applicant level. As of Jan. 31, 2005, TPWD received applications from 35 sponsors requesting $1,695,842 in matching funds.
The Small Community Program provides 50 percent matching fund reimbursement grants to eligible local governments with a population of 20,000 or less. In recent years, the demand for these funds has dramatically increased, as has the competition for these limited resources. All applications submitted in this category are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized with the criteria, rating factors and points according to the "Project Priority Scoring System."
A number of communities that applied for local and regional grants were not successful during this funding cycle in acquiring park grants because of increased competition for a shrinking pool of grant money. One reason is recent budget cuts that resulted in a significant reduction in Texas Parks and Recreation Account program funding that provides grants to various local and regional community park projects. For this reason, TPWD has less grant money available to award for parks and recreation programs. The TRPA appropriations were reduced from $20.44 million in Fiscal Year 2002-03 to $13.02 million for FY 2004-2005 and $5.64 million for FY2006-07.
Below is the complete list of grants awarded Aug. 25, listed in alphabetical order by county. Type of grant received is indicated in parentheses:
--Aransas: Fulton Beach Park (small community) The City of Fulton received $50,000 to further develop 5.1 acre Fulton Beach Park located in the east area of the city. Proposed development includes a 0.3-mile trail, pavilion, 4 covered picnic tables with 2 cook stoves, playground, 2 horseshoe pits, sand volleyball court, game table, hummingbird/butterfly garden, and project signs.
--Bastrop: Smithville Riverbend Park II (small community) The City of Smithville received $50,000 to further develop 46.1-acre Riverbend Park located in the north area of the city. Proposed development includes a 9-hole disc golf course, basketball/4-square court, soccer field, 0.18-mile trail, 4 horseshoe pits, playground and restroom renovations, kitchen, pavilion with 8 tables, interpretive signs, and fencing.
--Bell: Rogers City Park (local grant) received a $500,000 matching grant to acquire by donation 25 acres and to dedicate 59.28 acres of city-owned non-parkland to develop Rogers City Park located in the south area of the city. Proposed development includes a 18-acre open space dedication, basketball/volleyball court, football/soccer field, playground, horseshoes/washers pit, 1.0-mile trail, lighted tennis court, lighted fishing pier, 2 pavilions, 4 picnic tables with 1 grill, baseball field, bird watching blind, jump rope area, artist wall, historical garden, landscaping, utilities, roads, parking, and project signs.
--Clay: Henrietta City Park II (small community) The City of Henrietta received $50,000 to further develop 3.4-acre City Park located in the northeast area of the city. Proposed development includes 0.5-mile multi-use trail with 2 exercise stations and 2 embedded hopscotch courts, 2 horseshoe pits, 2 game tables, hummingbird/butterfly garden, water spray feature added to pool, renovations of the swimming pool and volleyball court, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Collin: Farmersville Parkway Park (small community) The City of Farmersville received $50,000 to develop 1.8 acres of city-owned land as Parkway Park located in the west-central area of the city. Proposed development includes water splash pad, pavilion, playground, 2 picnic tables, group BBQ grill, tree planting, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Falls: Falls on the Brazos Park II (small community) Falls County received $50,000 to further develop 22.5-acre Falls on the Brazos Park located in the central area of the county. Proposed development includes a playground, 20 primitive campsites, 1.1-mile nature trail with bridge, observation platform, ceremonial circle, fishing area, 10 benches, interpretive signs, landscaping, and project signs.
--Fort Bend: Meadows Place Community Park III (small community) The City Meadows Place received $50,000 to further develop 14.8-acre Community Park located in the west area of the city. Proposed development includes a playground, playground renovations, outdoor classroom, butterfly garden, exercise area renovation, hummingbird garden, bird watching station, 2 benches, and a 0.3-mile trail.
--Fort Bend: Richmond Clay Park (small community) The City of Richmond received $50,000 to develop 2.4-acre Clay Park located in the east area of the city. Proposed development includes a playground, pavilion, 4 picnic tables with grills, 0.1-mile trail, basketball court, 2 washer courts, and project signs.
--Harris County and Montgomery: Spring Creek Greenway/Phase I (regional) received $1 million to acquire 630 acres by purchase/donation/bargain sale to develop Spring Creek Greenway located in the southeast area of Montgomery County and north area of Harris County. Proposed development includes a 7.0-mile hike/bike trail with bridge, nature trail, 7.0-mile equestrian trail, playground, pavilion, 10 picnic tables, boardwalk, canoe launch, canoe trail, lake aerator, interpretive signs, restroom, parking, drinking fountains, fencing, three bicycle racks, landscaping, and project signs.
--Hunt: Celeste City Park (small community) The City of Celeste received $50,000 to acquire by donation and develop 1.57 acres as City Park located in the southwest area of the city. Proposed development includes 0.1-mile trail with 2 hopscotch courts, pavilion with court games, basketball court, playground, 2 picnic tables, game tables, hummingbird/butterfly garden, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Jackson: The Lavaca-Navidad River Authority Brackenridge Park (local park) received $500,000 to acquire 187.22 acres by purchase to further expand and develop 250-acre Brackenridge Plantation Park and Campground located in the central area of Jackson County. Proposed development includes a 10-acre open space dedication, 68,250 square- foot, open-air event center, pond with fishing pier, 3 bird observation stations, pavilion, 14 picnic tables with 8 grills, 2 playgrounds, volleyball court, 32 RV sites, outdoor sports court renovation, paintball course, 2 soccer fields, disc golf course, crosswalk, cultural resources exhibit, landscaping, utilities, road, and parking.
--Johnson: Venus Fielder Park (small community) The City of Venus received $50,000 to further develop 5.12-acre Fielder Park located in the east-central area of the city. Proposed development includes a 0.40-mile trail, 5 exercise stations, basketball court, sand volleyball court, 2 playgrounds, 2 game tables, 9 picnic tables, 5 grills, xeriscape garden, environmental interpretive signs, native tree planting, and light timers.
--Johnson: Alvarado Parkway Park (small community) The City of Alvarado received $50,000 to further develop 2.57-acre Parkway Park located in the west-central area of the city. Proposed development includes 0.23-mile trail, playground, pavilion, picnic station, open play area, washer courts, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Liberty: Dayton Henderson Day Park (small community) The City of Dayton received $50,000 to further develop 9.0-acre Henderson Day Park located in the southeast area of the city. Proposed development includes a basketball court, sand volleyball court, 2 game tables, 6 benches, 5 picnic tables with grills, playground, 5 exercise stations, 4 soccer fields, 0.3-mile trail, interpretive signs, landscaping, and lighting.
--Liberty: Cleveland Wiley Park (small community) The City of Cleveland received $50.000 to further develop 2.96-acre Wiley Park located in the northeast area of the city. Proposed development includes a sand volleyball court; renovation of a basketball court, pavilion, 0.2-mile trail, and playground; 2 game tables; 3 soccer fields; 5 picnic tables with grills; 4 benches; 4 exercise stations; landscaping; and lighting.
--Potter/Randall: Amarillo Greenways Park (local park) received $500,000 in matching funds to acquire by donation 53 acres to develop Greenways Park located in the southwest area of the city. Proposed development includes a 2.6-acre wetland dedication, 0.72-mile walking/jogging trail, 0.51-mile nature trail, playground, pavilion with 6 picnic tables, 8 picnic stations, multi-use court, softball/baseball field, soccer/multi-use field, 5.0-acre lake creation, wetland development and interpretation, interpretive area shelter, 10.5-acre native habitat restoration, cultural interpretive signs, 16 benches, tree planting, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Robertson: Calvert Payne-Kemp Park (small community) The City of Calvert received $50,000 to expand by 2.0 acres and further develop 2.0-acre Paine-Kemp Park located in the southeast area of the city. Proposed development includes a pavilion, playground, softball field, renovation of an existing field to a multi-purpose field, group grill, landscaping, and project signs.
--Smith: Bullard O. L. Ferrell Park III (small community) The City of Bullard received $50,000 to further develop 9.6-acre O.L. Ferrell Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a 0.24-mile trail, playground, picnic station, tennis court renovation, 2 washer courts, and program signs.
--Williamson: Leander Benbrook Ranch Park (local park) received $500,000 in matching funds for the City of Leander to acquire 40 acres by donation to develop Benbrook Ranch Park located in the north area of the city. Proposed development includes a 0.3-acre wetland dedication, 15.0-acre open space dedication, 0.94-mile multi-purpose trail, softball/baseball field, 4 soccer fields, playground, natural area, 0.4-mile nature trail, wetland garden, 4 picnic tables, skate park, disc golf course, BMX track, pavilion, open play field, xeriscape garden, interpretive signs, and irrigation.
--Wise: Bridgeport Harwood Park (small community) The City of Bridgeport received $50,000 to further develop 8.3-acre Harwood Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a pavilion renovation, playground surface renovation, playground, 5 picnic/game tables with 3 grills, play pad, 3 horseshoe pits, xeriscape garden, 3 interpretive signs/message boards, lighting, and irrigation.
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 29, 2005
TPW Commission Approves $4 Million In Texas Trail Grants
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved funding Aug. 25 for 37 National Recreational Trail Grant projects across the state totaling $3,930,795.
Recreational trail grants are administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Grant applications are approved based on recommendations from the Texas Trails Advisory Board. Funding for the grants comes from a portion of the federal gasoline tax representing gas purchases for off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers.
The purpose of the National Recreational Trails Fund is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.
This round of grants includes six motorized trail projects awarded to the cities of Big Spring and Bridgeport and to the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition, Judy Jernigan, Texas Engine-Run Rec. Assn. and the Texas Off-Roaders Association, as detailed below. These grants help fulfill a goal to provide appropriate places for off-road motor vehicle recreation in Texas, an outcome of a state law passed several years ago to ban motor vehicle traffic in riverbeds.
Three grants to the city of Grand Prairie, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Cedar Hill State Park detailed below are all part of the same project, a long-term plan to create a 70-mile trail around Lake Joe Pool in Dallas County.
Grants are listed below by county.
--Bastrop - Pines & Prairies Land Trust, Colorado River Refuge Trail, $68,420 for a new 0.9-mile trail, improvements to a 0.75 mile trail, parking, and signs
--Bexar - City of Live Oak, Woodcrest Park Trail Improvements, $66,000 for a two-mile granite and natural surfaced trail in City Park
--Bexar - Audubon Texas, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, $75,874 for a new 1.88 mile crushed limestone trail, bridges, and restroom
--Brazoria - City of Freeport, Bryan Beach Trail Improvements, $98,200 for a new 2.9-mile crushed shell trail in city beach park
--Brewster - City of Alpine, Alpine Creek Hike & Bike Trail, $100,000 for a new 3,500-foot surfaced trail along creek
--Burnett - Inks Lake State Park, Hike/Bike Trail Improvements, $58,000 for erosion control, signage and restroom
--Collin - Trinity Trails Preservation Association, Trinity Trails Northern Extension, $78,720 for a new 10-mile equestrian trail, erosion control, and fencing
--Comal - City of New Braunfels, HEB Park Trail Improvements, $31,325 for a new 0.75-mile crushed granite trail around City Park
--Dallas - Dallas Ind. School District, Lakewood Outdoor Learning Area, $5,500 for 400-foot accessible extension of an existing trail at the school
--Dallas - City of Grand Prairie, Joe Pool Lake Trail, $75,000 for a new seven-mile trail, renovate five miles of hike/bike/horse trail
--Dallas - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Joe Pool Lake Trail, $75,000 for a new 10-mile hike/bike/horse trail around lake
--Dallas - Cedar Hill State Park, Joe Pool Lake Trail, $100,000 for a new 12-mile hike/horse/bike trail around lake
--Fannin -- Lake Fannin Wilderness Park, Inc., Lake Fannin Trail, $4,000 for a new five-mile mountain bike trail around Lake Fannin
--Galveston - Galveston County, Jack Brooks Park Equestrian Trail., $100,000 for a new 2.2-mile horse trail
--Harris - Hermann Park Conservancy, enhancements to Bayou Parkland, $39,840 for a new 1,950-foot crushed granite trail, renovation of 950 feet of trail, and to install signs
--Hays - Hays County W.C.I.D. No. 1, Bear Creek Greenbelt Trail, $100,000 for a new 9,500-foot crushed granite trail along the creek
--Henderson - East Texas Arboretum, Handicap Trail, $37,140 for a new 700-foot asphalt trail, and restroom
--Hidalgo - City of San Juan, Explorers Trail, $52,556 for a new 1,700-foot crushed granite trail along the drainage canal
--Hidalgo -- World Birding Center at Estero Llano Grande State Park, birding trail, $100,000 for a new two-mile crushed aggregate trail, signage and benches
--Hopkins - South Sulphur Reg. Dev. Assn., Lake Trail, $23,659 for a new 1.3-mile nature trail, benches, signs, and parking
--Howard- City of Big Spring, Moss Creek Lake Trails, $150,000, for 16 miles of new motorized trails at city park, parking, and restroom
--Lavaca - Mud Buddy-foots, $40,000 for a new trail, parking, erosion control, and picnic tables
--Lubbock - Texas Tech University, Llano Estacado Wildflower Trail, $76,639 for a new 0.5-mile boardwalk at the Lubbock Lake Landmark
--Madison - City of Madisonville, Lake Madison Trail, $56,871 for a new 1.9-mile, crushed aggregate trail around the lake in city park
--Menard - Texas Engine-Run Recreation Association, Hext Unit Trail System, $1,300,000 to acquire 850 acres and create 40 miles of motorized trail
--Nacogdoches - Stephen F. Austin University, Pineywoods Native Plant Trail, $83,453 for a new 9,000-foot asphalt trail, bridges, and signs
--Nueces - City of Corpus Christi, West Guth Park Trail, $100,000 for a 4,700-foot concrete trail in City Park
--Palo Pinto - Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway, $28,000 for erosion control, signage and trailhead improvements
--Potter - Texas Off-Roaders Association, Canadian River Trailhead, $262,420 for trailhead and restrooms at Canadian River access
--Randall - City of Amarillo, McDonald Lake Trail, $100,000 for a new 6,500-foot concrete trail around the lake in City Park
--Starr - Alto Benito Elementary School, Outdoor Classroom, $4,776 for a new 570-foot nature trail, benches, and tables
--Statewide - Texas Bicycle Coalition, Bike Texas Kids Kup, $10,800 to conduct 19 bicycle safety/skill workshops for kids as part of a statewide mountain bike racing series, with kids to get instruction while parents take part in races
--Statewide - Texas Bicycle Coalition, Bike Texas Trail Doctors, $99,962 to conduct volunteer training trail construction/maintenance workshops in public parks across Texas
--Statewide - Texas Motorized Trails Coalition, Texas Trails Ed. & Motorized Management, $36,640 for statewide trail education on creating motorized trails
--Statewide - Texas Trail Network, Building the Great Texas Trail, $12,000 to conduct trail planning workshops across Texas and host the 2006 state trail conference
--Williamson - City of Taylor, Bull Branch Hike & Bike Trail, $100,000 for new 4,300-foot crushed granite trail linking existing trails
--Wise - City of Bridgeport, Northwest Municipal Park, $180,000 for 25 new miles of motorized trails, restroom, signage and equipment
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[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
Aug. 29, 2005
TPWD Funds Olympic Shooting Training Facility In Kerrville
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is awarding $300,000 in matching grant funding to the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center in Kerrville. The facility has been selected by USA Shooting, the governing body for national Olympic shooting team development, as the future site of a majority of the nation's Olympic training shooting events and possibly host to a prestigious international clay target World Cup competition in 2006.
The grant is one of four such projects approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Aug. 25 public meeting and consists of a 75/25 funding match through the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration federal aid program for hunter safety. The grants are administered by TPWD's target range development program.
Other projects receiving funding include: $60,000 for indoor range facility improvements at the Winchester Gallery in Ft. Worth, $30,000 for shotgun range infrastructure improvements at the Elm Fork Shooting Park in Dallas, and $30,000 for access improvements at Jake's Guns and Clays, Inc. in Midland.
Funding for the Kerrville complex will be used to enhance the construction of an airgun hall for activities such as indoor archery, airgun and hunter education activities. The funding will also help offset costs for range improvement and hunter education projects at the site.
According to USA Shooting, the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center will be the only full service sport shooting public facility of its type in the United States. Training and competition in rifle, pistol and shotgun events, including Olympic events and the 31,000 square foot airgun hall will make this range completely unique. The range is located 60 miles west of San Antonio on Interstate 10. There are currently only two venues that can host major competitions-the International Shooting Park on Fort Carson, in Colorado Springs, which is only capable of holding shotgun events, and the United States Army Marksmanship Unit ranges on the Fort Benning military base near Columbus, Ga. By sanctioning the development of the Kerrville facility, USA Shooting is signaling a move away from traditional shooting range complexes on military installations.
The Winchester Gallery in Ft. Worth is the largest indoor range in the Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex and is one of the top certifiers of hunter education students in the area as well. Grant funds will be used to improve the range quality for the public including numerous law enforcement agents, hunter education students and hunters. Funds will specifically be used to improve ventilation to ensure that the site meets stringent lead handling requirements for indoor ranges. Funds will also be used to improve the electrical system that is required for automatic target returns; audio/visual equipment used in hunter education training and related activities.
The Elm Fork Shooting Park grant will be used for continued improvement of their world-class shotgun shooting facility in Dallas. The center has received prior target range grant funding to upgrade existing range facilities and current funding will help improve parking and roadways into the facility.
Jake's Guns and Clays is situated southeast of Midland and serves the Odessa/Midland shooting sports community. The grant project involves construction of handicap accessible restrooms and improvements to the five stand sporting clays range at the site. The facility hosts many youth shooting sports venues including hunter education courses, 4-H and boy/girl scouts.
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[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 29, 2005
Texas Farmers' Help Sought For Quail Conservation
AUSTIN, Texas -- On Aug. 29 in Missouri, bobwhite quail supporters from Texas and other southeastern states will present a case study on a nationwide push to save quail at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation, one of only a handful of wildlife case studies to make the conference agenda.
Here in Texas, row crop farmers may hold the key to frontline quail conservation through a new federal habitat buffer program that was personally endorsed by President Bush last year. So far, only about 1,000 acres out of a possible 20,000 have been signed up in Texas. Looking at the glass half full, that means there's still plenty of opportunity for Texas to get engaged before the 2007 deadline.
Throughout their range, bobwhite quail populations nationwide have declined from an estimated 59 million birds in 1980 to about 20 million in 1999.
"What's really happening here is not the loss of one bird, but the steady loss of a type of prairie grass and savannah habitat that supports many other birds and animals," said Steve DeMaso, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department upland game bird program leader.
DeMaso and quail counterparts from other states and universities will speak at the upcoming White House Conference, which takes place in St. Louis Aug. 29-31. They'll be telling attendees that all through the 35 states in the southeastern U.S. where quail once thrived, concrete and cropland have been replacing native range, and quail are becoming "recreationally extinct," meaning they're so few that landowners and hunters are hard pressed to find any.
The fact that the quail cause has shown up on White House radar is no accident. It follows years of work building grassroots and government support, resulting in the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, a recovery plan for quail published in 2002. Texas this year unveiled its own plan, "The Texas Quail Conservation Initiative: A Proactive Approach to Restoring Quail Populations by Improving Wildlife Habitat."
Last August, the president announced "Practice CP-33-Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds" as part of the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program under the federal farm bill. The goal is 250,000 acres of grass buffers along agricultural field borders nationwide.
"This isn't a complete solution, and it's not the only tactic urged by the quail plan, but it's a key first step to make agricultural landscapes more quail friendly," DeMaso said.
The CP-33 program will pay farmers to plant 30-to-120-foot wide buffers around their fields with native warm-season grasses, legumes, wildflowers, forbs, and limited shrub and tree plantings, as specified in the program plan. Participants get incentive payments of up to $100 per acre just for signing up. They get more payments after planting the buffers, and again annually during the 10-year contract. The deadline to sign up is Dec. 31, 2007.
"I think one of the main reasons we've had so little acreage signed up in Texas is that people don't know about it," said Chuck Kowaleski, TPWD farm bill coordinator. "We're hoping this will provide hunting opportunities and revenue for landowners. Especially in the Rolling Plains, they're making as much on quail hunting-sometimes more-as they are on deer hunting. About 600 of the 964 Texas acres enrolled are in Runnels County near Abilene. The local FSA there is promoting it."
Kowaleski said farmers should contact their local Farm Services Administration (FSA) office to sign up for the CP-33 Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds program.
---
On the Net:
FSA CP-33: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/facts/html/quail04.htm
White House Conference: http://www.conservation.ceq.gov
Texas Quail Plan: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_rp_w7000_1025.pdf
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[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Aug. 29, 2005
Public Boating Access Projects In North Texas Get Funding
AUSTIN, Texas -- Three new public boating access construction and renovation projects on lakes near the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex will be getting more than $860,000 in matching federal funding assistance from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The funding grants are provided through the State Boating Access Program and authorized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. The program provides funds for the construction and maintenance of public boat ramps, access roads and related improvements. Program funds may also be used for capital improvements to existing state boat ramp sites.
The boating access construction projects are planned for the following lakes:
--Lake Ray Hubbard -- The City of Heath has been awarded a cost share grant for $436,563 to construct a two-lane boat ramp, entry road, parking lot, courtesy docks, restroom, bulkheads, retaining wall, lighting, landscaping, walkways, and signs.
--Possum Kingdom Reservoir -- The Brazos River Authority received $45,375 in matching funds to renovate two existing single-lane boat ramps. The facility is located at the South D&D Public Use Area on Possum Kingdom Reservoir near Graford.
--Lake Grapevine -- The City of Grapevine has been awarded $379,905 in matching funds for construction of a one-lane boat ramp, courtesy dock, and restroom, extend an existing ramp, and renovate/expand existing parking area, retaining wall, lighting, landscaping, walkways, and signs.
All facilities will be operated and maintained by the local government sponsors.
The boating access grant program is funded by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program. The revenue comes from the federal gasoline taxes generated by recreational boaters every time they purchase gas for their boats. The program reimburses sponsors 75 percent of the cost for approved projects.
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Aug. 29, 2005
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 more than 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of Aug. 22-26, learn how anglers can help coastal fisheries by doing what they love most - fishing. TPWD Biologist Robert Adami explains the Gulf Coast Roundup. Plus TPWD staff are literally putting one foot in front of the other to take inventory of every single trail in the state park system. We'll talk to TPWD Natural Resources Coordinator, Greg Creacy about the projectFor more information, visit the Web.
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Television
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. This week on PBS: See how an unprecedented partnership of diverse groups is helping preserve the pristine habitat of Government Canyon State Natural Area. Deirdre Hisler, Jack Bauer, Erik Holmback, Trey Cooksey, John Freeman are just a few of the many TPWD employees that have been working long and hard to make Government Canyon a reality. According to park manager Randy Ferris, Fort Richardson State Historic Site in Jacksboro is a great place to discover history, relax, or ride your bike at. Pick a sleeping bag that fits the camping conditions. At Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose, a wildlife veterinarian takes care of a rhino, a kudu, and an egg. This week's postcard takes us canoeing on some of Texas' best rivers
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web.
Magazine
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 online.
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On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD on PBS: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/tv/
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/
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