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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-10-22                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Kevin Storey or Dan Bennett, (903) 593-5077; kevin.storey@tpwd.texas.gov, dan.bennett@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Oct. 22, 2013
Alien Plant in Lake Quitman
ATHENS--In recent weeks, the Inland Fisheries Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) discovered a resurgence of the non-native aquatic plant water hyacinth at Lake Quitman. This plant is a free-floating (non-rooted) aquatic plant native to South America. It was originally introduced into North America in the late 1800s and has been widely spread around the country through the water garden and aquarium trade, and by boaters. The plant is popular with water garden enthusiasts primarily due to its attractive lavender or pink flower; however, water hyacinth is a prohibited plant in Texas and is illegal to sell or possess.
Water hyacinth, along with other non-native plants like giant salvinia and water lettuce, provide virtually no benefit to fish or the aquatic environment. The plants reproduce rapidly and can quickly cover large portions of a lake's surface, blocking access for boaters, reducing dissolved oxygen available for fish and other aquatic organisms and generally impairing water quality.
Of course, not all aquatic plants are bad. In fact, Inland Fisheries staff conducted plantings of a native species called water willow at Lake Quitman during the summer to try and increase beneficial habitat for fish in the lake and give anglers more areas to target fish.
Water hyacinth was first discovered in Lake Quitman in fall of 2001 and has been managed through cooperative efforts by Wood County, local angling organizations and TPWD. The plants have primarily been controlled by manual removal and herbicide applications. As a result of treatment efforts and drought, the species has not been observed in recent years during routine fisheries habitat surveys by TPWD Inland Fisheries staff. However, recent rains created heavy flows in the creek, allowing hyacinth to be dispersed around the western portion of the lake. The plant is difficult to control due to its high rate of reproduction and the persistence of seed banks in the sediment. The seeds of water hyacinth have been known to remain viable for over a quarter century, so it is necessary to monitor lakes for new growth from year to year.
The plants were observed by Inland Fisheries staff during routine sampling of the fish populations at Lake Quitman conducted in October. Following discovery of the plants, TPWD staff manually removed plants in the western portion of the reservoir and deployed a containment boom in Brushy Creek to attempt to prevent dispersal of plants around the lake before a herbicide treatment can be done. Unfortunately, there was too much water hyacinth in the creek for it to be practical to remove it manually. A herbicide treatment proposal has been prepared to treat the remaining plants in the lake, and the treatment will likely be conducted in the coming month. Water hyacinth will probably require continued treatment efforts through the spring of 2014 followed by periodic monitoring.
Fisheries surveys at Lake Quitman continue to show that the lake contains a quality fishery for largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish and a diverse sunfish community. Water hyacinth poses a threat to maintaining these important fisheries, and TPWD biologists want to control the spread of this aquatic nuisance. Aquatic recreation is very important to the local economy. In a 2010 spring survey at Lake Quitman, TPWD estimated that anglers spent approximately $18,000 in association with their fishing activities on the lake in just a three-month period.
Water hyacinth has also been present in Lake Fork since 1993. Its distribution is monitored annually, and cooperative treatment efforts by the Sabine River Authority and TPWD are conducted as needed to control the spread of the plants.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine months 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]
Oct. 22, 2013
Mule Deer Hunters Reminded of CWD Testing Requirements
AUSTIN - Wildlife officials are reminding mule deer hunters and landowners in far West Texas about the protocols developed as part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's (TPWD) Chronic Wasting Disease management plan. The plan includes mandatory check stations for harvested mule deer taken inside the CWD Containment Zone, which covers portions of Hudspeth, Culberson, and El Paso counties. See map of CWD zones at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/cwd.
The management plan was implemented after CWD was detected in tissue samples from two mule deer in far West Texas during the summer of 2012. Those were the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer.
Nearly 300 tissue samples were collected from hunter harvested mule deer from the Trans Pecos ecoregion during the 2012-13 season for CWD testing. Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed CWD in four of those samples. All CWD-positive deer were harvested within the CWD Containment Zone.
Of 298 deer sampled during last hunting season, 107 were harvested in the Containment Zone, 93 were harvested in the adjacent High Risk Zone, 25 were harvested in the Buffer Zone, and 73 deer were harvested outside of the CWD zones. Nineteen of the samples collected from the Containment Zone were from deer harvested in the Hueco Mountains.
Hunters taking mule deer inside the Containment Zone during the 2013 general mule deer hunting season, Nov. 29 - Dec. 15, are required to submit their harvest (unfrozen head) for CWD sampling at mandatory check stations within 24 hours of harvest.
"We recommend hunters in the Containment Zone and High Risk Zone quarter deer in the field and leave all but the quarters, backstraps, and head at the site of harvest if it is not possible to bury the inedible carcass parts at least 6 feet deep on the ranch or take them to a landfill," said Shawn Gray, Mule Deer Program Leader for TPWD.
Mandatory check stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 29 - Dec. 16. Stations will be located in Cornudas at May's Café (on US 62-180) and in Van Horn at Van Horn Convention Center (1801 West Broadway).
Hunters who harvest deer in the Containment Zone outside the general season under the authority of MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permits) will need to call TPWD at (512) 221-8491 the day the deer is harvested to make arrangements to have the deer sampled for CWD.
In addition to protocols within the Containment Zone, TPWD has established check stations for voluntary CWD sampling for deer harvested in other parts of West Texas. Biologists have been collecting mule deer harvest data in the region since 1980 and this year CWD sampling will be offered in addition to age and weight measurements.
Voluntary check stations will be established at the following locations during the first three weekends of the general season, Saturday through Monday (Nov. 30-Dec.2, Dec. 7-9, and Dec. 14-16), from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monday:
--Midland at Naturally Fresh (Deer Processor) (1501 Elwyn)
--Bakersfield at Chevron Station (south of I10; Exit 294)
--Sanderson at Slim's Auto Repair (823 West Oak; Intersection of US 90 and 285)
--Alpine at Hip-O Taxidermy (east side of town on US 90, across from Dairy Queen)
All deer brought to the check stations this season will be aged as part of our CWD surveillance. Additional biological information such as antler measurements and field dressed weights will also be collected as time allows.
TPWD has tested almost 30,000 wild hunter-harvested and road-killed deer in Texas since 2002. The captive-deer industry in Texas has submitted more than 7,400 CWD test results as well.
"CWD has not been detected anywhere outside of the Hueco Mountains," said Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director with TPWD. "But adequate surveillance in that part of West Texas depends on check stations and we appreciate the cooperation and active participation of hunters and landowners in this effort."
More information on CWD can be found on TPWD's website, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/cwd or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website, http://www.cwd-info.org.
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