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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — May 23, 2005

Workshops Offer Tips for Urban Owners of Rural Land

FORT WORTH, Texas — A workshop to be held here June 10-11 and another on July 9 in Dallas will address the growing problem of Texas rural land being fragmented into smaller tracts, often involving urban-based owners who are interested in wildlife conservation but lack experience in wildlife or land management.

For more than a century, rural Texas land has been owned mainly by farm and ranch families who lived on it. In recent decades, the countryside has been fragmented into smaller tracts owned increasingly by urban, absentee owners looking for a weekend retreat or retirement home. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that Texas led the nation in the loss of undeveloped land from 1992-97.

Land fragmentation is one of the main threats to wildlife in Texas. It crowds wildlife into smaller spaces, blocks travel corridors and disrupts access to feeding areas.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge are co-hosting the June event. It will take place from 6-9:30 p.m., Friday, June 10 and 8 a.m.-noon, June 11 at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge's Hardwicke Interpretive Center, 9601 Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Worth.

This workshop will discuss the tools, people and funding programs available to help landowners achieve individual goals when managing property for wildlife. Local wildlife professionals will give presentations regarding habitat management techniques, funding sources, species management, wildlife tax valuation, etc. during the Friday evening session of the workshop. The Saturday portion of the workshop will demonstrate various techniques of management in the field.

"Wildlife professionals from various agencies will teach you how to develop a wildlife management plan, fund your wildlife projects, improve your pond for fish and/or waterfowl, control feral hog populations, use cattle grazing to improve wildlife habitat, and much more," said John Davis, a TPWD urban wildlife biologist based in Cedar Hill south of Dallas.

The cost for the Fort Worth workshop is $25 per person. Registration is required prior to the event to ensure that organizers have sufficient workshop materials for attendees. For more information, contact Rob Denkhaus at the Fort Worth Nature Center (817-237-1111), or Davis at the TPWD Urban Wildlife Office (972-293-3841), or at http://www.fwnaturecenter.org and click on Landowner Workshop on the left side of the page to download a registration form.

TPWD and the North Texas Master Naturalists are hosting the Dallas workshop. It will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 9, 2005 at the Agricultural Research & Extension Center operated through Texas A&M University-Dallas at 17360 Coit Road. It will cover wildlife tax valuation, potential conservation funding sources, grazing management 101, prescribed burning: how and why, invasive species management, enhancing wetlands, and counting/inventorying wildlife resources. It also costs $25 per person and requires advance registration. For more information, phone the TPWD Urban Wildlife Office at (972) 293-3841, contact Donna Cole at (972) 625-3366 or see the North Texas Master Naturalists Web site.

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