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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-06-09                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than two 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]
June 9, 2011
As Drought Intensifies, Wildscaping Can Help Texans Save Water
AUSTIN --Texas residents are asked to monitor and reduce their water usage, yet home and land owners may feel they have little control over resource conservation when it comes to manicured lawns and upkeep of green spaces. They may have heard of alternative gardening as a way to cut costs and save water, but may not know where to turn for advice or information.
Meet Kelly Conrad Bender. Bender is an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife who teaches people how to use native plants to conserve natural resources and provide habitat for beneficial native wildlife. The program, called "Texas Wildscapes™," has helped thousands of Texans realize the beauty and economy of using native plants in their home, office, and school landscapes. Bender's goal in Wildscaping is to provide the information to people looking for ways to use native plant species to conserve resources at home or in their communities.
"Wildscaping is a way to incorporate native plants into outdoor spaces to conserve water while preserving our Texas heritage," said Bender.
"You don't have to go out and plant rocks and cactus, Texas has hundreds of native flowering plants and trees," she said.
Bender's native Wildscaping encompasses a specific type of conservation, but elsewhere the general landscaping technique of planting low water use gardens is commonly referred to as xeriscaping. Other names associated with conservation gardening are water-wise landscaping or smartscaping.
Though the terms generate various technicalities in resource conservation -- wildscapes specifically deals with native plants whereas xeriscaping may incorporate native and non-native species into a garden - these general concepts are a proven resource saver for water, native wildlife, time and money. According to Colorado State University, lawn care accounts for over 50 percent of a household's water usage. The university estimates that households and businesses can reduce their water intake and save 30 to 80 percent on their total annual water bill depending on the size and proper maintenance of a landscape design.
Planning any landscaping project on your property or community area can be tricky, but several interest groups have put together a wealth of information online for beginners including videos and step by step guides. The best advice is to consider your values and start small. If you want to attract native honey bees and butterflies, consider planting sunflowers or gray goldenrods.
TPWD has a variety of resources available for creating native Wildscapes that are drought-tolerant as well as attractive to the eye and to birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The recently updated Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, complete with 154 photos, maps and landscaping diagrams is available online or in bookstores across the state. A Wildscaping informational DVD is also available through the Texas Wildscapes Web site for $5. A YouTube video on invasive plant species and the benefits of native plant growing is also available from the agency.
Attracting native wildlife with indigenous plants can also decrease the number of pests flying or crawling around your property. Texas critters who naturally avoid human domiciles tend to compete with others who become household pests, decreasing their prevalence in your home.
The Texas Wildscapes site offers complete information on how to get started, from selecting native plants appropriate for each Texas region to designing a Wildscape garden. Whether you are planning a project for your backyard or a clay pot on your windowsill, the Texas Wildscapes book, DVD or can show the way.
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On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/wildscapes/
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Mike Cox, 512-389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 9, 2011
Let your kids brag about their huge catch--and have the state record to prove it
AUSTIN - Getting credit for catching a record fish in Texas is easier than you may think, especially if you're a youngster.
Better still from a conservation standpoint, you can hang a nice Texas Parks and Wildlife certificate on your wall instead of a mounted trophy.
"With school out and plenty of time for fishing, the department would like parents to know the chances of their kid becoming a record holder are really good," says Joedy Gray, who runs TPWD's Angler Recognition Program. "The odds are in a young angler's favor because there are a lot of bodies of water in Texas for which no one has applied for a record yet."
Junior anglers under the age of 17 are encouraged to set records in fishing holes around the state this summer. In areas where there is no existing record, fish must be at least the legal size. To record the fish, remember to find a certified scale location and have a measuring tape handy. For a list of locations with certified scales, visit the TPWD site at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/scales.phtml.
The Angler Recognition Program maintains state records for public and private waters including all lakes, rivers and bays. In addition to size records, the program recognizes other fishing achievements including first fish (for any angler, any age), big fish (for landing a trophy fish of any qualifying species), elite angler (for catching five trophy-class freshwater or saltwater fish) and outstanding angler (for a catch that does not fit other award categories but still deserves recognition.)
If a junior angler's first fish turns out to be a state and water body record for weight and length and also qualifies for a Big Fish award then that youth is looking at six separate awards for their one fish.
If you are unsure of your fishing hole's records, look them up on your phone with the program's mobile record search at: http://tinyurl.com/texfish
For more information, visit the program's site at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishrecords/.
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
June 9, 2011
Duck Stamp ceremony to be held in Katy
The 78th Federal Duck Stamp goes on sale June 24 with an official ceremony held at 9 a.m. at Bass Pro's Outdoor World located in the Katy Mills Shopping Center in Katy. Artists of this year's stamps will be on hand to sign copies of their work. Texas Parks and Wildlife Director Carter Smith will also attend the event.
Speakers at the event include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials and the Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp artists. Affiliated vendors will have items for sale before and after the ceremony.
Commonly referred to as a 'duck stamp' the stamp is actually a federal migratory bird hunting and conservation product originally used to denote those with a federal license to hunt migratory waterfowl. Today ninety-eight cents of every dollar raised by the stamps go to the purchase or lease of wetlands around the country. It is estimated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that one third of the nation's threatened species live in these environments. Since 1934 over $500 million has gone to over 5 million acres of habitat.
The stamp also allows holders to gain access to National Wildlife Refuges free of charge. Collectors and hunters may purchase stamps and other items such as signed panes online at www.duckstamp.com . Receipts from the online store are not a valid proof of purchase as are receipts from stamps purchased through state electronic licensing systems and are therefore not legal to use as a hunting license.
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
June 9, 2011
Simple Precautions Can Prevent a Tragedy on the Water
AUSTIN - Summer's a great time to hit the water in Texas, but it's both easier to get in trouble and harder for others to recognize that someone's in danger than most people think.
Research has shown that drowning victims usually don't scream for help or splash around a lot before going under.
"It's a quick process," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Lt. Cody Jones, of the department's marine enforcement section. "Statistics show drowning can occur in less than two minutes, and most children who drown are away from their parents for less than five minutes."
Jones said Texas had 136 drowning in public waters last year, up from 129 in 2009. So far this year there have been 37.
"All it takes is one step and someone can be in 10 feet of water," said Jones. "If they don't have the ability or power to swim, they slip off into a hole and nobody knows where they are or how to get to them," said Jones.
Officials advise against swimming alone or getting in water when intoxicated. In many instances, proper precautions like wearing a life jacket, teaching children and adults about water safety and designating a group member to watch everyone in or near the water can go a long way in preventing drownings this and every summer.
"If you have a lawn chair, sit down on the shore and watch your kids playing in the water," said Tim Spice, a TPWD urban outdoor program specialist. "Don't distract yourself from their safety."
Water safety experts across the nation advocate the 'reach, throw, row, go' process if you see someone who appears to be having trouble in the water.
First, attempt to reach the swimmer from a dock or the shore by extending a fishing rod, tree branch, or or other object. Next, try throwing a buoyant object such as a life jacket, inflatable floaty or foam ice chest.
The next step, if the distressed swimmer is unable to reach these things, is to get a life vest on and row or boat out to them. If rowing, guide the swimmer to the boat's stern, then paddle back to shore with them still in the water so the boat does not tip. If you are in a motor boat, turn the motor off and coast to the swimmer.
If you are a trained rescue swimmer you can attempt to go into the water to save them, but remember to tell someone on the shore of your intentions and bring a buoyant object to keep between you and the swimmer in addition to your life jacket. If you are not a trained rescue swimmer, go for help.
"There are two parts to the 'go' step: we tell kids to go for help and most adults too, because unless you have the proper training you can get taken under by someone fighting for their lives in the water," said Spice.
For children, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services promotes a "see and save" water safety message. They urge caregivers to keep a vigilant watch over children near water to keep them safe. Twenty-seven children have drowned so far this year in water bodies ranging from lakes to a mop bucket.
Officials recommend that children between the ages of 2-5 be given swimming lessons. A study from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests children under 4 years of age are 88 percent less likely to drown if they have taken formal swimming lessons.
TPWD is responsible for enforcing the Texas Water Safety Act on all public waters, certifying boater education students and instructors, and maintaining statistics about water related fatalities in Texas. The department also offers boating safety classes.
For more information on boater safety and education, visit the TPWD boater safety page at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/safety/.
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