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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-02-28                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Feb. 28, 2005
TPWD Seeking Input about Proposed Regulation Changes
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is encouraging the public to provide input about a slate of proposed changes in hunting and fishing regulations.
Each year, TPWD considers regulation changes to achieve resource-management objectives and maximize outdoor recreation opportunities consistent with good stewardship.
Among the most prominent proposals being considered is a continuation of special buck-deer harvest regulations in six Post Oak Savannah counties. Based upon findings from a 3-year experiment in those counties, biologists believe the restrictions are helping create a healthy deer population. For the 2005-06 hunting season, TPWD is proposing to add a second buck to the bag limit in counties with the special antler restrictions. Hunters would be allowed to take two bucks, but no more than one of them could have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. The proposal would also expand the coverage to 15 additional surrounding counties with similar deer population issues.
The department will also be seeking public comment about a proposal to expand the "managed lands" concept to include quail. For many years, TPWD has used the Managed Lands Deer Program to encourage sound habitat management across white-tailed deer ranges. In January, TPWD announced plans to expand the program to include mule deer and lesser prairie chicken.
"While we were discussing how to implement the managed lands concept with respect to lesser prairie chicken, someone remarked that we should also include quail," said Mike Berger, Director of the Wildlife Division, "and I thought it'd be a good idea to take it to public hearings and see what people think."
According to the proposal, landowners with a department-approved management plan for quail would agree to a harvest recommendation and to perform a minimum of five department-recommended habitat management practices that benefit quail. In return, hunters on the property would be allowed to harvest as many as 30 quail per day.
Following is a summary of proposed changes:
Proposed Hunting Regulation Changes
White-tailed Deer
--Consolidation of doe day categories. Currently, TPWD offers seven different sets of doe day combinations, including no days, four days, nine days, 16 days, 23 days, 23-plus days and full season. Wildlife biologists are suggesting consolidating doe days in 36 counties and cutting the options back to no days, four days, 16 days, 23-plus days or full-season doe hunting. They also are looking at eliminating doe-day restrictions in 33 counties, mostly in the Panhandle.
--Elimination of the aggregate buck-bag restriction in one-buck and two-buck counties. This proposal would allow hunters to take a buck in three different one-buck-only counties or they could hunt in multiple two-buck counties, provided they do not exceed the county bag limit or take more than three bucks in all the two-buck counties combined.
--Creation of an appeals process for deer permit programs.
--Prohibition of hunting by remote control. This issue centers on the use of Internet technology as it relates to the taking of game animals and game birds.
--Removal of Hunt and Washington counties from the list of counties where the use of dogs to trail wounded deer is prohibited.
Mule Deer
--Extend Managed Lands Deer Permit program to include mule deer. This proposal would allow landowners under an approved wildlife management plan to enter voluntarily in a habitat-based permit program, which would allow greater flexibility in managing mule deer harvest. With this proposal, permit holders could hunt from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.
Turkey
--Several proposals that would consolidate and standardize turkey hunting regulations, including: standardizing the spring season length in the eastern and western halves of the state; standardizing the season length and bag composition for fall turkey seasons; and implementing youth-only spring turkey seasons for Rio Grande turkey.
--TPWD is also looking at the possibility of opening fall and spring seasons for Rio Grande turkey in Cameron and Zapata counties, and opening a fall season in Tarrant County.
Lesser Prairie Chicken
--A proactive measure to address long-term habitat loss impacting lesser prairie chicken populations incorporates a two-phase proposal that would eliminate countywide seasons and replace them with a limited harvest option for properties with a wildlife management plan for Lesser Prairie Chickens. Managed properties would have a harvest recommendation, and would be required to perform at least five department recommended habitat management practices.
General
--A rule to prohibit 'Internet hunting' of game animals and game birds. TPWD has become aware of the possibility that firearms could be operated by remote control over the Internet to take game animals and game birds. The proposed provision would require any person hunting a game animal or game bird to be physically present and personally operate the means of take.
--A provision to allow the use of a motor vehicle to locate desert bighorn sheep for hunting purposes. Until recently, most desert bighorn sheep hunting took place on Wildlife Management Areas where the movements and locations of the sheep were very well known. Now that hunting is increasingly taking place on private properties, the department feels that, due to the extremely rugged and isolated nature of the habitat, it would be appropriate to allow the use of vehicles.
Proposed Fishing Regulation Changes
Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County)
--Fisheries biologists are looking into changing harvest regulations for red drum from the current 20-inch minimum length limit and daily bag limit of three fish, to no length and no bag limit to allow for maximized harvest of red drum. TPWD will not be managing red drum at Lake Nasworthy due to the shutting down of the power plant facility there, which will likely result in water temperatures being too low to maintain red drum.
North and South Arms of the Concho River (Tom Green County)
--Define waters (North Concho from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam and South Concho from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam) that are covered by special regulations for blue and channel catfish (no minimum length limit and pole and line only angling) and where statewide regulations (12-inch minimum length limit and no gear restrictions) are in effect (South Concho above Lone Wolf dam)
Toledo Bend Reservoir
--Remove 12-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass. Limit will be the same as statewide limit (no minimum).
Proposed Coastal Fishing Regulation Changes
--Because of concerns about the vulnerability of certain live mollusks and other inter-tidal species to over-harvest, TPWD may establish a closed season along a small area of South Padre Island including the Brazos Santiago Pass and running on the bayward side of the island to Marisol Drive from Nov. 1 through April 30. The closure would protect species such as hermit crabs, starfish, sea urchins and periwinkles. The proposal would also establish a daily bag limit of 15 univalve snails in aggregate and no more than two each in the daily bag of lightening whelk, horse conch, Florida fighting conch, pear whelk, banded tulip and Florida rocksnail.
Public comment about these issues and others of interest may be made to TPWD, Regulatory Proposals Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, 78744, by phoning (800) 792-1112 or by visiting the Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/) beginning March 7 *. Comment is also welcome at any of the following public meetings.
TPWD Public Hearing Schedule -- All meetings begin at 7 p.m.
Date	City	Location
March 9	Sherman	County Courthouse, West Courtroom, 2nd floor, 100 W. Houston St.
March 9	Seguin	Seguin Court House, 101 E. Court St.
March 9	Alpine	School Auditorium, AISD Administration Building, 704 W. Sul Ross Ave.
March 10	Paris	County Courthouse, 231 Lamar Ave.
March 10	Hempstead	County Road & Bridge, 775 Business 290
March 10	Van Horn	Van Horn Community Center, 400 Jones St.
March 14	Nacogdoches	101 W. Main, District Court Room
March 14	Pampa	218 N. Russell, Gray County Courthouse
March 14	LaGrange	La Grange Fire Hall, 155 E. Colorado
March 14	Wichita Falls	NW Texas Field & Stream Assoc. 2005 SW Parkway
March 15	Childress	Childress County Courthouse, Commissioner's Courtroom, 100 Ave. E NW
March 15	Jefferson	County Courthouse Annex, 114 W. Austin St., Room 210
March 16	Southlake	City of Southlake Office Bldg. 3rd Floor Training Room, 1400 Main St.
March 16	New Boston	County Courthouse, Central Jury Room, 1710 Bowie Drive
March 16	Aspermont	Courthouse Community Meeting Room, Hwy 83
March 16	Victoria	Patti Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro
March 17	San Angelo	Angelo State University M.I.R. Center, 7945 Grape Creek Road
March 17	Lampasas	County Courthouse, District Court Room
March 17	Dalhart	Dallum County Courthouse, 2nd Floor, 414 Denver
March 21	Port Isabel	Community Center, 213 Yturria
March 21	Plains	Plains Community Building
March 21	Sulphur Springs	County Courthouse, 118 Church St.
March 21	Dickinson	Dickinson TPWD 1502 FM 517 East
March 21	Ft. Stockton	Small Community Building, 109 Rooney St.
March 22	Kennedy	303 W. Main, Kennedy City Hall Auditorium
March 22	Kerrville	700 Main, Kerr County Courthouse, Court Room 2
March 22	Andrews	Courthouse Annex, 215 NW 1st St.
* Correction, March 3, 2005: The date of on-line comment, originally March 4, has been changed to March 7. (Return to corrected item.)
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[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Feb. 28, 2005
TPWD Voices Concern About Spread of Giant Salvinia
AUSTIN, Texas -- The expansion of one of the world's most noxious aquatic weeds -- giant salvinia -- on Toledo Bend and possible spread to Sam Rayburn represents a serious threat to two of the state's largest reservoirs, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologists.
Biologists fear the plant will take over shallow coves where largemouth bass spawn and could therefore seriously impact the fishery. Giant salvinia forms thick floating mats that block sunlight and prevent the production of microscopic organisms vital to healthy fish populations. With good growing conditions, the plant can produce nearly 100 tons of biomass per acre, and once the floating mass dies and sinks, the decomposing material can use up all the oxygen in the water.
"One of our biggest problems is giant salvinia is transported easily," said Howard Elder, a TPWD aquatic vegetation biologist. "The proximity and accessibility of these two reservoirs makes transportation a very real threat."
That's why department officials are urging boaters to take precautions to minimize unintentional spread of this noxious plant. Boaters should flush livewells and clean boats and trailers thoroughly after each trip to Toledo Bend to avoid carrying giant salvinia fragments.
"We are concerned that some anglers and boaters use both Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn and trailer boats from one lake to the other," Elder added. "If you do not remove giant salvinia from your boat or trailer before you leave the lake, you can be charged with possessing and transporting harmful exotic plants. These charges carry penalties of fines and/or jail time."
First discovered in Texas in 1998, giant salvinia was probably sold for use in water gardens by nurseries that had no idea its importation or possession is prohibited by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and TPWD. "One good flood empties out somebody's backyard and infests the whole watershed," said Elder. "Giant salvinia is easily transported over land to new locations by boat trailers, propellers and the intakes of personal watercraft. Considering the proximity and popularity of Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn, its introduction to Sam Rayburn must be considered inevitable unless extreme measures are taken."
TPWD and the Sabine River Authority have been battling the invasion with herbicides, but the rains of 2004 kept Toledo Bend Reservoir full and allowed the plant to spread into shallow, stump-filled areas where spraying boats can't go. "In 2004, it overwhelmed us. We were able to treat only 228 acres," Elder said. "Our goal is to keep it contained in Toledo Bend and keep it from reaching Sam Rayburn."
This floating fern, a native of South America, can double in size weekly and if left unchecked can cover large areas in a relatively short time. In 2003, giant salvinia covered 124 acres on Toledo Bend; in 2004, it spread over 3,070 acres despite ongoing herbicide treatments by both Texas and Louisiana. Sam Rayburn Reservoir may be the next target.
"The mild winter allowed the spread to continue, and we can expect an increased expansion this year, which will warrant increased treatment," Elder said. "We have ongoing chemical treatments on Toledo Bend; the problem is because the lake is so large we cannot get to it before it spreads."
TPWD has begun large-scale introductions of a bio-control agent, the salvinia weevil Cyrtobagous salviniae, which feeds on the plants and may have long-term potential. It takes the weevils about two years to establish, and the department has deployed more than 300,000 statewide thus far.
"We are optimistic establishment will occur by spring of 2005, and will continue introductions through summer of 2005. The success of the salvinia weevil has been documented in several countries. I hope they do as well in Texas," Elder said.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Feb. 28, 2005
Coastal Expos Coming Soon
AUSTIN, Texas -- "Protect Rivers to Conserve Bays" is the theme for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's upcoming Coastal Expo events.
"Rivers are the lifeblood of Texas bays. They protect and nourish the plants and animals that create ecologically healthy and economically beneficial estuaries," says Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and Coastal Fisheries Division Director at TPWD.
At Coastal Expos, visitors interact with crabs, fish, and other coastal animals while learning about freshwater inflows, coastal conservation issues and beach habitats. The expos will be held in Marble Falls and Edinburg. Admission is free.
Activities include touch tanks with a wide variety of live coastal animals such as sea urchins, sea squirts, crabs. At the glass-bottom stream, visitors will learn about animals' natural habitats and how bugs can indicate pollution levels in water.
Participants will also have an opportunity to solve a mysterious fish kill, paint images of coastal fish, identify beach objects by touch, and learn about fishing, boating safety, and other coastal issues through a variety of fun and educational devices.
TPWD is partnering with Lower Colorado River Authority for the Marble Falls event.
The World Birding Center-Edinburg and the City of Edinburg are partnering to bring Coastal Expo to Edinburg. TPWD Department divisions that contribute their time and staff include: Coastal Fisheries, State Parks, Communications, Wildlife, Inland Fisheries, and Law Enforcement.
Local volunteers are needed and will be given a short training class the day of each event. No previous experience is necessary. Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt.
Coastal Expo details are as follows:
--Marble Falls -- March 11-12 at Johnson Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Those interested in volunteering should contact Frank Falkstein at (512) 397- 6718 or frank.falkstein@lcra.org.
--Edinburg -- March 16-17 at Edinburg Municipal Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a Friday evening event from 6-10 p.m. Those interested in volunteering should contact Kris Shipman at (956) 381-9922 or moliva@edinburgwbc.com.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
Feb. 28, 2005
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public. Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
--Texas Quail Technical Committee, March 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas.
--Joint Committee Meeting of the Texas Game Bird Advisory Committee and Quail Council, March 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
Feb. 28, 2005
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Leave the Badge at Home to Hear What Texans Think of Wardens! Montgomery County Game Wardens decided to go fishing on a day off recently. After three hours of fishing and only one white bass to show for it, they decided to call it quits. They approached a man in a boat close to theirs and asked if he would like their lone fish. The man replied, "Is it long enough? You know those dad-gum game wardens don't have no sense of humor about that kind of stuff." The two wardens laughed and agreed. After closely checking the size of the white-bass, the man happily placed the fish into his live well and said thanks.
Jackpot -- A Frio County warden got a call from a local taxidermist about a suspicious deer that had been entered into the Los Cazadores deer contest. The deer was killed in LaSalle County. The warden, along with a LaSalle County warden, began an investigation that led to eight citations and four deer heads being seized. Several subjects were cited for hunting under the license of another and allowing another to hunt under their license. Three of the four deer heads seized are subject to civil restitution penalties. The wardens followed up with this information and began another investigation about illegal hunting activities in Atascosa County with wardens there. The result of this investigation resulted in 11 citations and four warnings for untagged deer, hunting under the license of another, no cold storage records, hunting deer without a non-resident license and reusing deer tags from other hunters. Several other unwritten warnings were noted through the course of the investigation. A Harris County warden obtained a statement from one of the violators who lives in Houston. Two deer heads that were killed illegally in Atascosa County had been shipped to Georgia (in violation of the Federal Lacey Act) and are being shipped back to Texas for civil restitution and evidence. Several cases are pending.
Jackpot Part II -- A Galveston County Game Warden concluded an investigation that started back in December. Charges were filed on an individual who had been hunting in San Saba County under a refused license. The warden utilized cold storage invoices, numerous witness statements, and digital photos obtained from the suspect's camera phone to obtain written confessions about 10 deer illegally harvested during the past two years. The warden recovered five sets of antlers, seized more than 200 pounds of meat, and confiscated a bow and rifle. Cases pending are hunting while a license is refused (class A), exceeding the limit on deer, using another's tag, and no hunter safety. Additional charges were filed against two others for possession of untagged deer, improperly tagged deer, and possession of an illegally killed game animal. Civil restitution fines will be sought on a total of 13 deer.
Jackpot Part III -- While patrolling the western side of his county in an area known for road and night hunting, a Milam County Game Warden observed two men in slow-moving pickup truck swerve and then abruptly turn when they saw him. He stopped the vehicle and found a shotgun propped between the front seats. The warden discovered the passenger was wanted for a parole violation. The passenger had a 30-page criminal history spanning five states. The parolee was taken to the Milam County Jail for the warrant and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Cases are pending.
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ] [KE]
Feb. 28, 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 March 1-4, your chance to get your hooks in a rainbow trout is coming to an end. And we'll tell you that 'birds of a feather are flocking together' on the Texas Gulf Coast soon. Plus, we'll mark the 169th anniversary of the state's independence.
For more information, visit the Web.
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.
For more information, go to the Web.
Television
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state.
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.
---
On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD Video News: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/news/tv/vnr/thismonth/
TPWD on PBS: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/
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