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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2009-11-05                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
Nov. 5, 2009
Award-Winning Outdoor Photography on Display at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS, Texas -- Photographs representing the best work of outdoor photographers from across the nation will be on display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center through December 13.
The winning entries from the Outdoor Writers of America Association (OWAA) annual craft competition include both color and black-and-white images in five categories: scenic, flora, people, action and fauna.
One of the more striking images is of a grove of California coast redwoods taken with the camera held at a 45-degree angle, so the trees appear to shoot up out of the ground from one corner of the photo.
The people category is well-represented by a photo of a fly-fisher netting a fish while standing on a rock in the middle of a river.
Perhaps the most technically challenging image is by nationally known photographer Tom Ulrich. "Swiftcurrent Gorge" captures a fast-flowing stream at dawn, shot facing the sun, yet with details in shadow areas as well as highlights. Anyone familiar with photography will appreciate the difficulty of capturing such an image.
OWAA is the largest and oldest professional association of outdoor communicators in the United States, with some 1,300 members. For more information visit http://www.owaa.org/.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is located in Athens, 75 miles southeast of Dallas, at 5550 F.M. 2495. It offers a visitor center with 300,000 gallons of aquaria featuring native Texas fish; daily dive shows; free fishing in a 1.5-acre stocked pond; a wetlands trail; freshwater fishing hall of fame; fishing museum and displays of replicas of the largest fish caught in Texas. All displays, exhibits and fishing are included in the price of admission. TFFC is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday.
For more information and directions call (903) 676-2277 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
Nov. 5, 2009
North Texas Students Soar in National Art Contest
Artwork is on display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS, Texas -- Students from Dream Art Academy in Carrollton and Richland High School swept six of the top 12 places in the Texas Junior Duck Stamp competition, including Best of Show.
All 12 winning pieces of artwork will be on display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens until January 17, 2010.
The Best of Show award, which will advance to the national competition, went to 17-year-old Min Cho of Carrollton for her color pencil and acrylic rendering of a spectacled eider.
Other Dream Art Academy winners included Haven Chung, 11; Jacqueline Oh, 10; Monica Kwon, 14; and Gene Park, 8.
Kelli Kimble, 17, of Richland High School, was also a first-place winner in her age category for her color pencil drawing of a wood duck.
Other Texas winners included Haneul Seo, 15, who attends Memorial High School in Spring Branch; Clay Woodcock, 9, from the Paratore School of Art, Santa Fe, Texas; Yelita Garcia, 14, from Lucia Middle School, Brownsville; Lauren Martinez, 9, Our Lady of Fatima, Texas City; Alex Clark, 16, Pasadena Memorial High School, Houston; and Carlos Garcia, 12, Lucio Middle School, Brownsville.
The Junior Duck Stamp program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an educational program designed to teach wetlands and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The contest is open to all students, whether attending public, private or home schools.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is located in Athens, 75 miles southeast of Dallas, at 5550 F.M. 2495. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is charged. For more information or directions call (903) 676-2277 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc.
For information on a similar art contest open to all Texas students in grades 4-12, visit http://www.statefishart.com/. Entries in the Texas division of the State-Fish Art Contest are judged at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
For information on the Junior Duck Stamp contest, visit http://www.fws.gov/juniorduck/ArtContest.htm.
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[ Note: This item is more than five 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]
Nov. 5, 2009
15 Texas Freshwater Mussels Placed on State Threatened List
AUSTIN, Texas -- Despite the colloquial poetry of their names, Texas mussels like the golden orb, Louisiana pigtoe, sandbank pocketbook and Texas fatmucket are not well known to most people. Yet, their placement on the state threatened species list may benefit many people by putting a bit more muscle behind efforts to protect rivers, water quality and freshwater habitats that sustain many other fish and wildlife species.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Nov. 5 acted to place 15 of the 50 known Texas species of freshwater mussels on the state threatened list. Currently, state fisheries regulations allow harvest of most of these mussels, though practically none of them ever get large enough for harvest. The listing makes it a Class C misdemeanor to kill or collect them.
The state listing comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pondering whether to list some of the 15 as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which would carry more weight and higher penalties. Federal biologists already consider one of the 15, the Texas hornshell, a candidate for listing, and this winter they are expected to issue findings for 12 other species among the 15. The sandbank pocketbook and Texas pigtoe are the only two of the 15 not currently under federal listing review.
Freshwater mussels (unionids) are an important component of healthy aquatic ecosystems, both as a food source for many other aquatic and terrestrial creatures, and as key indicators of water quality and habitat health. In early life stages, mussels are food for a variety of aquatic insects, small fishes, and water birds; as they mature they become significant food sources for larger fishes, waterfowl, and terrestrial animals. Ultimately, their protection helps preserve and enhance the hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities that are part the Texas heritage.
Like frogs and other amphibians that are sensitive to water quality problems, freshwater mussel populations have declined throughout North America. They are sensitive to disturbance because they are relatively immobile, sometimes staying in a single spot their entire lives. Mussels are also very long-lived, some living over 100 years, and are very slow-growing. They have a complex life cycle that is easily disrupted, causing reproductive failure. Habitat alteration and loss, illegal and over harvesting, and competition from introduced or invasive species are some of the factors in their decline.
Nationwide, more species of freshwater mussels are listed as threatened and endangered than any other group of animals. Of the nearly 300 species known to have lived in the U.S., 18 are believed to be extinct, and 60 are currently listed as federally endangered or threatened, including one species that may occur in Texas, the Ouachita rock-pocketbook.
Volunteers can play an important role to help conserve understand freshwater mussels through Texas Mussel Watch, one of several Texas Nature Trackers volunteer programs run by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. To find out more about Texas Nature Trackers or to sign up for a Texas Mussel Watch monitoring workshop, contact TPWD's Wildlife Diversity Program at tracker@tpwd.texas.gov or (800) 792-1112, ext. 8062.
All of the 15 mussels listed as state-threatened Nov. 5 live in very limited habitats and are sensitive to water quality degradation, and thus are now known to occur only in a few highly specific geographical areas. Below is a listing of the 15 species.
1. False spike (Quadrula mitchelli) -- known from only two disjunct populations, one in central Texas and the other in the Rio Grande drainage.
2. Golden orb (Quadrula aurea) -- endemic to the Guadalupe-San Antonio and Nueces-Frio systems. Only seven extant populations of this mussel have been noted from the upper and central Guadalupe River, central San Antonio River, lower San Marcos River, and Lake Corpus Christi.
3. Louisiana Pigtoe (Pleurobema ridellii) -- ranged from eastern Texas drainages into Louisiana, but has been exceptionally rare in recent decades. Since the mid-1990s, small numbers of living specimens have been found in the Neches River and some of its tributaries and the Angelina River.
4. Mexican fawnsfoot (Truncilla cognata) -- endemic to the central Rio Grande drainage. Extensive historical and current environmental modifications along the Rio Grande of Texas and Mexico suggest any surviving populations are likely at risk.
5. Salina mucket (Potamilus metnecktayi) -- endemic to the central Rio Grande drainage, has potentially been extirpated from its range in New Mexico and Mexico and undergone dramatic declines in Texas.
6. Sandbank pocketbook (Lampsilis satura) -- known from southern portions of the Mississippi interior basin and western Gulf drainages of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, considered rare in all states from which it has been recorded.
7. Smooth pimpleback (Quadrula houstonensis) -- endemic mussel restricted to the Colorado and Brazos River drainages. Surveys conducted from 1980 to 2006 have noted steep declines in the number of extant populations in both river systems.
8. Southern hickorynut (Obovaria jacksoniana) -- considered rare and a species of conservation concern in seven states. If the species still occurs in Texas at all, it may only persist on Village Creek.
9. Texas fatmucket (Lampsilis bracteata) -- historically occurred in the Colorado and Guadalupe basins of Central Texas. In the past 30 years, natural and human-induced stressors have lead to the dramatic decline of this species in both rivers. Remaining populations are at risk from scouring floods, dewatering, and poor land management.
10. Texas fawnsfoot (Truncilla macrodon) -- historically occurred in the Colorado and Brazos drainages of Central Texas. A recently discovered population in the Brazos River between Possum Kingdom and the mouth of the Navasota River represents the only known surviving population.
11. Texas heelsplitter (Potamilus amphichaenus) -- restricted to the Sabine, Neches, and Trinity rivers of Texas.
12. Texas hornshell (Popenaias popeii) -- a regional endemic known only from discrete sections of the Rio Grand River in Texas and a short segment of the Black River in New Mexico.. The discovery of 30 individuals in a Webb County portion of the Rio Grande River in 2003 provides the only evidence of an extant population in Texas. Currently listed as a candidate for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
13. Texas pigtoe (Fusconaia askewi -- a regional endemic limited to a relatively small area in Texas and Louisiana, including the Trinity River above Lake Livingston, a tributary of the West Branch San Jacinto River, and the Sabine River above Toledo Bend Reservoir.
14. Texas pimpleback (Quadrula petrina) -- an endemic species confined to the Colorado and Guadalupe drainages. The only confirmed significant population in the Concho River persists, but has been badly reduced by dewatering.
15. Triangle pigtoe (Fusconaia lananensis) -- endemic to the Neches and San Jacinto Rivers and Village Creek in eastern Texas, but extant populations are limited and the ecological security of most occupied sites is marginal.
---
On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/texas_nature_trackers/mussel/decline/
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle (830) 866-3533, or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Ted Hollingsworth (512) 389-4520 or ted.hollingsworth@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Nov. 5, 2009
Land Deal to Double Size of Village Creek State Park
AUSTIN, Texas -- Village Creek State Park in southeast Texas will more than double in size as a result of action taken Thursday by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission directing the acquisition of roughly 1,420 acres of undeveloped timber land owned by The Conservation Fund.
At its regular meeting in Austin, the commission approved the bargain sale purchase of the Hardin County tract that abuts the southern boundary of the 1,090-acre state park near Lumberton. The long sought-after acreage will protect critical habitat from urban encroachment and enhance Village Creek State Park's connection to the Big Thicket National Preserve's Village Creek and Neches River Corridor units.
"This is an exciting acquisition that will more than double the size of the park and provide for a better visitor experience," said Texas State Parks Director Walt Dabney. "It's a perfect example of how a public-private partnership can work to benefit the environment and all Texans."
Village Creek State Park, which opened in 1994, is blessed with a diverse habitat that includes longleaf pine uplands, wetlands and cypress swamps, as well as two miles of valuable creek frontage. Sixty-nine-mile long Village Creek is recognized as one of the last free-flowing streams in East Texas and is home to rare fish and mussels. TPWD has been working for some time with the Fund to acquire the additional acreage to protect the park from encroaching development on its fringes resulting from the City of Lumberton's accelerating growth.
The acquisition brings several major benefits. It will expand outdoor recreational opportunities for park visitors, protect important habitat for plants and animals, and for the first time, provide state park personnel with vehicle access to the eastern third of the existing state park. TPWD has an agreement with the National Park Service that will allow cooperation to explore additional public access to Village Creek through Big Thicket Preserve property adjacent to the 1,420-acre tract. Current logging roads would be used for park trails.
The Conservation Fund, through a creative combination of public and private grant funding, was able to offer the additional acreage to TPWD at about one-quarter of its market value. Andy Jones, Texas director of The Conservation Fund, praised the cooperative effort.
"I started my career at Texas Parks and Wildlife and working with the department again is like a homecoming for me," Jones said. "It is an honor to work with their dedicated and very professional staff to protect this key property for future generations."
The Conservation Fund is the nation's foremost environmental nonprofit dedicated to advancing America's land and water legacy for current and future generations. Seeking innovative conservation solutions for the 21st century, the Fund works to integrate economic and environmental goals. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund has helped its partners safeguard wildlife habitat, working landscapes, community "greenspace" and historic sites totaling more than 6 million acres.
Village Creek State Park, located about 10 miles north of Beaumont, is back in full operation after suffering considerable damage from Hurricanes Rita and Ike. Unique in the state park system, Village Creek preserves a small slice of the 96,000-acre Big Thicket, known as the "biological crossroads of North America, due to its incredible ecological diversity. The park draws tens of thousands of visitors annually to camp, hike, fish, mountain bike, canoe and view wildlife that includes more than 200 species of birds.
---
On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/village_creek/
http://www.conservationfund.org/
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Gary Saul 512-389-8082 or gary.saul@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Nov. 5, 2009
Permit Process Approved for Water Spinach Growers
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved new rules allowing the culture and sale of water spinach by permit in Texas. Water spinach is a restricted exotic plant.
Only individuals who grow water spinach will be required to obtain an exotic species permit. Those who purchase water spinach for a commercial purpose will be required to maintain invoices and sales receipts. Individuals who purchase water spinach for personal consumption will not be required to obtain a permit or maintain purchase records.
The new rules establish facilities standards, require facility inspections, impose recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and prescribe processing and packaging standards, including standards for transportation.
The rules are designed to ensure the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department can identify and monitor the points of origin of water spinach, and react quickly to protect native ecosystems in the event that water spinach is detected in the wild.
Implementation of the water spinach permit process is anticipated for January 2010. The initial application fee for an exotic species permit from TPWD is $263 and the annual renewal fee is $27.
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[ Note: This item is more than five 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]
Nov. 5, 2009
Texas Joining Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
AUSTIN, Texas -- Game law violators in Texas could face additional consequences for their actions under an interstate agreement recognizing suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in other states.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a regulation for Texas to join 31 other states currently participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement that unresolved hunting and fishing violations in one state can affect a person's hunting or fishing privileges in other participating states. Any person whose license privileges or rights are suspended in a member state could also be denied future purchase of a license in Texas until they have satisfied suspension in the other state. If a person's hunting, fishing, or trapping rights are suspended in Texas, they may also be suspended in member states as well.
"This cooperative interstate effort will enhance Texas game wardens' ability to protect and manage our wildlife resources," said Maj. David Sinclair, chief of fisheries and wildlife enforcement with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "If a person plans to hunt, fish, or trap in Texas and they have a license suspension in another state, this compact allows us to deny them a license. The same will hold true for a Texan with a suspended license looking to hunt or fish elsewhere."
The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact also establishes a process whereby wildlife law violations by a non-resident from a member state are handled as if the person were a resident, meaning they can be served a ticket rather than being arrested, booked, and bonded. This process is a convenience for hunters, fishermen, and trappers of member states, and increases efficiency of game wardens by allowing more time for enforcement duties rather than violator processing procedures.
The concept of a wildlife violator compact was first advanced in the early 1980s by member states in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Law enforcement administrators and wildlife commissioners from several states began discussing the idea of a compact based on the format of the existing Drivers License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact, both of these related to motor vehicle operator licensing and enforcement.
In 1985 draft compacts were developed independently in Colorado and Nevada. Subsequently, these drafts were merged and the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact was created.
In 1989, compact legislation was passed into law in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. These three states formed the nucleus of the Compact.
TPWD will be developing policies and procedures, but no timeline has been set for formally joining the Compact.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Howard Elder, (409) 384-9965; howard.elder@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Nov. 5, 2009
Giant Salvinia Moves Deeper into Toledo Bend Reservoir
Runoff from recent rains flushes plants into main lake.
ATHENS, Texas -- A ribbon of giant salvinia and water hyacinth 200 to 300 yards wide and more than a mile long is floating down the middle of Toledo Bend Reservoir.
"Runoff from the recent rains flushed the plants out of shallow areas on the upper portion of the reservoir that normally act as nursery areas and are inaccessible to most conventional treatment, and they are moving south," said Howard Elder, aquatic vegetation biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). "It's what we feared would happen."
Being located in the open reservoir actually makes the plants more accessible to spraying with herbicides.
Elder is moving as quickly as possible to survey the extent of the infestation and acquire sufficient herbicide to treat the area. "We use glyphosate, which is the safest herbicide we can use," he said. "However, we will not treat any location that is within two miles of an intake for a potable water supply."
Elder is treating the situation as an emergency and will hire a contractor to apply the herbicide by helicopter as soon as possible.
"It usually takes about two weeks for effects of treatment to become readily visible," he said. "We do want the public and all the water suppliers who take water from the lake to be aware of this action."
Elder can be reached at (409) 384-9965.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Bryan Black, Texas Dept. of Agriculture, (512) 475-1669, Bryan.Black@TexasAgriculture.gov; Tom Harvey, Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Nov. 5, 2009
Authorities Investigate Contaminated Corn in Eastland County
Hunters Advised to Avoid Harvesting or Eating Game in Affected Area
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are investigating an incident involving the misuse of the pesticide Temik in the southwestern area of Eastland County in early October.
Corn seed was treated with Temik and placed in and around some peanut fields near the intersection of U.S. 183 and County Road 173 south of Cisco. TDA is investigating why the corn was treated with Temik and distributed in this location.
The contamination of the peanut fields has killed a number of feral hogs, at least one deer and two birds. Authorities have since taken steps to remove the contaminated corn, and no dead animals have been found at the site since the investigation began.
Authorities are advising deer hunters to refrain from harvesting deer or feral hogs or eating deer or hog meat taken from within a 5-mile radius around the intersection of U.S. 183 and County Road 173 south of Cisco. However, TPWD is encouraging hunters to continue to enjoy hunting elsewhere in Eastland County and surrounding counties.
Since the chemical involved is rapidly eliminated from an animal's body after ingestion, toxicologists say the likelihood is low that eating game from the affected area will harm people. Toxicologists say literature about Temik indicates 90 percent of the pesticide is naturally eliminated from a live animal's body within 24 hours if it's not a lethal dose.
However, since the agencies involved cannot state for certain whether game is safe to eat, they're advising hunters not to harvest or consume game from within the affected area. Authorities say hunters should never eat carcasses of animals found on the ground or animals that appear sick or diseased.
Affected animals are not likely to have traveled far after ingesting contaminated corn. Toxicologists believe a deer or other animal which ingests a lethal dose of the pesticide involved will die very soon after ingestion, likely in the immediate vicinity. Authorities point out that no additional dead animals have been found at the affected site since the incident came to light.
Corn seed samples collected from the site have confirmed the presence of high levels of Aldicarb -- an active ingredient found in Temik, a registered and approved pesticide. Aldicarb is highly toxic and only a small amount is needed to kill an animal, but it could be rapidly metabolized and eliminated from an animal's body
Temik can be harmful to wildlife and domestic animals that may come into contact or feed on something that contains the pesticide.
Enforcement authorities are assessing possible violations of state and/or federal law, including the possible use of a pesticide inconsistent with the label. If an investigation finds an individual did break the law they could face administrative penalties, civil penalties and possibly criminal prosecution. The Texas Department of Agriculture could fine the individual $5,000 per violation and there could be multiple violations. The Attorney General would handle any civil penalties and the county prosecutor would decide on criminal prosecution.
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