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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-08-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Aug. 30, 2004
TPWD To Retain Saltwater Stamp Surcharge
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas saltwater anglers will continue to help fund a program designed to reduce commercial fishing effort in the bays through a $3 surcharge on the Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp fee, following action taken by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Commission.
The commission adopted in 2000 a $3 increase to the Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp fee (from $7 to $10), which was scheduled to expire in 2005. Agency projections suggested that without continued funding from the surcharge beyond 2005, the objectives of the buyback program cannot be achieved in a timely manner.
"Our goal with the limited entry program is to assure a sustainable shrimp industry that also minimizes adverse impacts on other commercial and recreational fisheries," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D., TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division director. All three fisheries -- shrimp, crab and finfish -- are currently being over-fished, over-capitalized (too many vessels), fully exploited, or a combination of the three. "We want to stabilize the fishery socially, economically and biologically. Our least-disruptive management tool available has been the license buyback program, which has been successful thanks to the contributions from the recreational anglers of Texas."
The revenue generated through this surcharge has helped TPWD retire 36 percent of the state's inshore commercial shrimping licenses as well as some commercial finfish and crab fishermen licenses. To date the shrimp license buyback program has purchased more than 1,150 licenses and has spent more than $7 million. During the latest round of buybacks, TPWD purchased 96 licenses in total for a total cost of $736,000.
"With the surcharge, we will have the funding needed to buy back about 800 additional licenses over the next five years," said Robin Riechers, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division Science and Policy Director. "Without it, we're probably looking at retiring only about 80 licenses. This funding is critical for the continued success of our program."
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Aug. 30, 2004
Texas Finalizes Cormorant Control Permit
AUSTIN, Texas -- Local areas in Texas besieged by the double-crested cormorant, a federally-protected bird more commonly referred to as the water turkey, can get depredation relief under a new Texas Parks and Wildlife Department control permit program.
The permit gained approval from the TPW Commission at its Aug. 26 public meeting and will be available to individuals and local entities later this fall.
The department estimates there may be around 2,000 cormorant-control permits issued in Texas in the first year. Permits cost $12 and allow holders or their designated agents to kill cormorants on specific tracts of land. Permit holders will be required annually to report the number of cormorants killed.
The double-crested cormorant is a long-necked, long-lived waterbird that nests in colonies, meaning they tend to congregate in one area where present. Federal biologists estimate there are 2 million double-crested cormorants in the U.S., mostly breeding in Canada and the Great Lakes, making it the most abundant of six cormorant species in North America. Cormorant numbers have increased by about 7.5 percent per year since 1975. The birds eat mainly fish, up to one pound per day, usually smaller (less than 6-inch) bottom-dwelling school or "forage" fish.
The Texas cormorant control permit does not apply to several similar birds, including Gulf-coast natives such as the neotropic cormorant, the anhinga and other fish-eating birds such as kingfishers, cranes and herons.
Federal authorities say more study is needed to verify how cormorants affect fish populations, which fluctuate based on water quality, habitat and other factors. However, recent research at Oneida Lake in New York and eastern Lake Ontario suggests that cormorants can diminish the number of fish of catchable-size available to anglers.
For information about the cormorant permit, including applications, contact TPWD Wildlife Permitting, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or call (512) 389-4491.
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[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
Aug. 30, 2004
Texas Game Wardens Top 10 Check-List for Hunters
AUSTIN, Texas -- With the beginning of hunting season, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens would like to remind hunters to have fun, be safe and BE LEGAL.
"Every year, our game wardens issue hunters citations that could have been avoided," said Col. Jim Stinebaugh, TPWD law enforcement director. "We'd rather help folks learn to follow the rules and avoid common mistakes, which will keep them safe as well as legal."
For example, Stinebaugh says the most common hunting law violation in Texas is failure to be certified in hunter safety. From Sept. 1, 2003 to Aug. 23, 2004, game wardens cited 2,521 hunters with the violation of Hunter Safety regulation (no hunter education certification). This is a Class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of as much as $500.
Following is a table of the last season's most common violations and their punishments, from most common to least common. All are Class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanors, again, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
The top ten wildlife enforcement violations were as follows:
Number of Citations -- Description *
1. 2,521 -- Hunter safety violation (no hunter education certification)
2. 1,719 -- White-tailed deer harvest log not completed
3. 858 -- White-tailed deer improperly tagged
4. 540 -- White-tailed deer untagged
5. 420 -- White-tailed deer hunting or possession in closed season
6. 357 -- Mourning dove hunting without a license or failure to show
7. 337 -- Mourning dove hunting with unplugged shotgun
8. 316 -- White-tailed deer hunting without a license or failure to show
9. 278 -- Mourning dove over daily bag limit
10. 257 -- Public Hunt Land -- Any other violation
And there were 45 citations issued for killing of a white-tailed deer without landowner consent (Parks and Wildlife state jail felony). Parks and Wildlife state jail felony carries a penalty of not more than two years or less than 180 days in prison. In addition to confinement, there may be a fine of not less than $1,500 and not more than $10,000.
"These game laws were not put in place to ruin anyone's fun. They are there for the safety of everyone out there in the field, and are based on animal counts so we can enjoy hunting now but our children will also be able to in the future," said David Sinclair, of TPWD's Law Enforcement Division.
So to help ensure hunters don't end up pleading memory lapse in the face of a possible citation, Texas game wardens offer the following Top 10 "Don't Forget" list.
1. Take the hunter education course and carry your certification card with you in the field; look at our Web site (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/edu/) for a listing of courses.
2. Review the Outdoor Annual and check for open season dates and bag limits for the county you are hunting.
3. Check for legal means and methods in the county you are hunting.
4. Carry your current hunting license as this may have your hunter education number listed below your name and address.
5. Clearly identify your target before pulling the trigger.
6. Carry a sharp knife; cut out the date (month and day) of kill on deer and turkey tags and immediately after kill, attach appropriate tag to the deer or turkey.
7. Carry a ball-point pen; fill out ranch and county name on back of deer and turkey tags, and don't forget the deer log on the back of the license.
8. Carry a state driver's license or state personal identification certificate if you are 17 years of age or older.
9. Fill out a Wildlife Resource Document to accompany any wildlife resource, or part of a deer or turkey that you give to someone else.
10. Keep all game animals and game birds in an edible condition.
As an additional safety precaution, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, and keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
* Correction, Sept. 1, 2004: The original version of this news release did not list these statistics in the correct order. (Return to corrected item.)
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[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [MM]
Aug. 30, 2004
TPW Commission Awards $12.5 Million in Grants
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $12,477,119 in grants Aug. 26 to build or improve local parks, regional parks, small community parks, recreational trails and target ranges across the state.
For Local Park Grants, the commission approved 12 grants totaling $5,223,628. Funds for this program come from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. These funds go to Texas local governments for the acquisition and/or development of outdoor recreation sites. The TRPA was authorized in 1993 to assist local political subdivisions of the state in providing basic public recreation facilities. TRPA revenue is generated from a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods. Demand for grants always exceeds available funding, and as of Jan. 31, 2004 TPWD received 24 applications requesting $10,185,866 in matching fund assistance.
For Small Community Grants, the commission approved 15 grants totaling $703,495. The TRPA funds these grants as well. Small community grants are available to governments of a population of 20,000 or less, and $50,000 is the maximum amount that may be applied for per application. In recent years the demand for these funds has dramatically increased, as has the competition for these limited resources. As of Jan. 31, 2004 TPWD received 26 applications requesting $1,181,556 in matching fund assistance.
The commission approved three Regional Park Grants for a total of $4,425,713. The 76th session of the Texas Legislature authorized the creation of a regional park grant program to be funded through the TRPA. The program is designed to support multi-jurisdictional projects of regional significance serving Texas' metropolitan areas. Projects proposing intensive use recreation and/or regional conservation and recreation are eligible to request matching funds. As of Jan. 31, 2004 TPWD received five applications requesting $9,408,500 in matching fund assistance.
Target Range Grants totaled $300,000. With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, TPWD administers a target range grant program. Applicants must provide 25 percent of the total cost of the project and federal grant funds made available through the hunter safety apportionment provide the remaining 75 percent. The funds are available to qualifying applicants from both private and public sectors who provide public use of their facilities and open them to hunter education programs and services.
The criteria for funding grant requests is the "Target Range Plan" which was approved by the Commission, based on 1) population of county, 2) number of hunter education students certified in the county in the previous calendar year, 3) number of existing shooting facilities in the county, and 4) hunter days data in the county.
National Recreational Trails Grants totaled $1,824,283. The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) comes from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases to utilize off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. The purpose of the NRFT is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails. These federal funds are administered by the Federal Highway Administration and distributed to states via a formula that takes into account state population and sales of fuel for off-road recreational vehicles. Nationwide, the program was appropriated $50 million for FY2004; Texas' share of these funds is $2,018,172. A few projects funded in previous years were completed under budget or were withdrawn creating another $341,897 available for re-allocation this year.
Below is the complete list of grants awarded Aug. 26, listed in alphabetical order by county. Type of grant received is indicated in parentheses:
--Aransas: Rockport Community Park II (small community) received $50,000 requests support to further develop three acres of 12-acre Community Park located in the north area of the city. Proposed development includes four shade cabanas and deck renovation at the pool, a .3-mile nature trail with bench and interpretive signs, and a skate park.
--Bastrop: West Bastrop City Trail (recreational trail) received $89,360 for a new 1.55-mile concrete trail, clearing, amenities and design.
--Bell: Equestrian Trailhead (recreational trail) received $38,852 for restroom, assessment, design, signs. This grant was requested by Parrie Haynes Ranch.
--Bosque: Bosque River Trail (recreational trail) received $65,500 for new 4,400-foot trail, bridge, signs. This grant was requested by the City of Clifton.
--Brown: Coggin Park (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 15.5-acre Coggin Park located in the south area of the city. Proposed development includes a .57-mile walking trail renovation, playground, pavilion, basketball ball court lighting and striping for in-line hockey, horseshoe pit, washer pit, shuffleboard court, restroom, irrigation, and program signs.
--Cameron: Birding Center Trail (recreational trail) received $100,000 for new 4,126-foot ADA trail, 55,233-foot improved nature trail. This grant was requested by Resaca de la Palma State Park.
--Cameron: Laguna Heights Park Trail (recreational trail) received $40,000 for new 1,262-foot trail, restrooms, benches, parking, tables and fencing. This grant was requested by Cameron County.
--Cameron: Resaca Trails in San Benito (local park) received $226,018 to acquire by purchase one acre and further develop 19.9-acre North/South Kennedy Parks located along Resaca de Los Fresnos in the central area of the city on land leased from the Cameron County Irrigation District 2. Proposed development includes a one-acre open space dedication, 2.62-mile lighted loop trail linking the two parks, interpretive kiosk, birding/wildlife viewing area, outdoor classroom with stage, volleyball court, skate park, horseshoe pit, wildflower garden, fishing pier, RC model boat pier, drinking fountain, native landscaping, interpretive signs, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Cochran: Cochran Gun Club (target range) received $30,000 to move their existing range. Funds will be used to prepare the new site and initiate re-construction of range facilities and eventual classroom, restrooms and storage to facilitate hunter education, 4-H Shooting Sports and related youth outdoor programs. Match consists of a combination of private donations of labor, equipment, materials and club assets valued at more than $10,000.
--Collin: Anna City Park (local park) received $500,000 to acquire 30 acres by donation and develop City Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a 1.6-acre open space dedication, .65-mile multi-purpose trail with two bridges and two exercise stations, four lighted baseball fields, playground, Texas Smartscape garden, skate park, shuffleboard court, pavilion, six sheltered picnic tables with grills, two sheltered benches, two horseshoe pits, tennis court, basketball court, three soccer fields, interpretive signs, and program signs.
--Collin: Thompson Springs Park in Fairview (local park) received $310,500 to acquire by donation and develop 15.3 acres in the southeast area of the city. Proposed development includes a .5-acre wetland dedication, playground, .75-mile multi-purpose trail, pavilion, multi-purpose court, three benches, .7-mile nature trail, 10 picnic tables, horseshoe pits, wildflower seeding, tree planting, bird houses, wetland/pond interpretive dock, and project signs.
--Comal: Bulverde Community Trails (recreational trail) received $39,140 for new 3,150-foot granite trail, design, materials and equipment. This grant was requested by the City of Bulverde.
--Dallas County: Elm Fork Shooting Park (target range) received $30,000 for the continued construction of a new hunter education building at their world-class shotgun shooting facility near Dallas. The applicant received grants from TPWD in FY03 and FY04 to upgrade their existing range facilities and is asking for an additional grant to continue adding facilities that enhance hunter education training efforts within the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area. The applicant has in-kind match that exceeds the $10,000 needed for this project.
--Denton County: Lake Dallas City Park (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 17.03-acre City Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a .25-mile multi-purpose trail, pavilion, two horseshoe pits, ball field backstop, multi-purpose court, butterfly garden with interpretive signs, native tree planting, irrigation, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Denton County: Marshall Creek ORV Park (recreational trail) received $45,120 for new 1.4-mile motorized trail, trailheads and access road. This grant was requested by the City of Trophy Club.
--Denton County: Willow Grove Park (recreational trail) received $90,000 for a new one mile trail, renovations for one mile, wildlife blind, signs and restrooms. This grant was requested by the City of Lake Dallas.
--El Paso: Rio Bosque Wetlands Park received $7,570 for new 1,200-foot trail, equipment, labor and contracts. This grant was requested by the University of Texas in El Paso.
--Fannin: Bonham Simpson Park (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 2.9-acre Simpson Park located in the central area of the City. Proposed development includes a .07-mile trail, trail bridge renovation, playground, amphitheater, reutilization of an existing tennis court as a skate board park and two shuffleboard courts, xeriscape garden, interpretive signage, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Foard: Cynthia Ann Parker Celebration Grounds in Crowell (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 20-acre Cynthia Ann Parker Celebration Grounds located in the southeast area of the city. Proposed development includes six RV campsites, playground, basketball court, sand volleyball court, four picnic tables with two grills, horseshoe pit, .3-mile trail, four benches, tetherball, restrooms, water fountain, lighting, utilities, and project signs.
--Fort Bend: Regional Park and Trail (local park) received $500,000 to acquire 32 acres by donation to develop the Regional Park and Trail located in the north area of the county. Proposed development includes a 19-acre wetland dedication, three canoe launches, boating safety/instructional station, wetlands enhancement, eight wood duck boxes, .3-mile wetlands trail, 1.9-mile multi-purpose trail, interpretive stations, shelter bridge, eight picnic tables, six benches, four historical/cultural interpretive stations, interpretive playground, baseball field, soccer field, bleachers, and irrigation.
--Fort Bend: Meadows Place Community Park II (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 14.8-acre Community Park located in the west central area of the city. Proposed development includes renovation of four tennis courts, playground replacement/upgrade, exercise station and trail distance markers for an existing trail, five interpretive signs, two grills, pool deck and spray toy, and xeriscape garden.
--Franklin: Little Creek Park III in Mount Vernon (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 10.5-acre Little Creek Park located in the north area of the city. Proposed development includes a playground renovation, multi-use field, .32-mile trail with bridge, basketball court renovation, two washer courts, horseshoe court, fence removal, and project signs.
--Gillespie: Fredericksburg Middle School Park (small community) received $50,000 to lease 1.5 acres from the Fredericksburg Independent School District and develop Middle School Park located in the central area of the City. Proposed development includes a .2-mile running track renovation, pavilion, two game tables, eight picnic tables, basketball court renovation, soccer field, six interpretive signs, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Harris County: Bane Park (local park) received $500,000 to acquire 5.873 acres by purchase/donation to expand and further develop 15-acre Bane Park located in Precinct 4 in the northwest area of the county. Proposed development includes a 2.2-acre wetland dedication, lake restoration, aquatic habitat improvements, fishing pier/pavilion, water spray area, bird blind, woodland habitat enhancements, two soccer fields, playground, .3-mile trail, 10 picnic tables, group grill, pavilion, baseball field, two horseshoe courts, sand volleyball court, 10 benches, bleachers, interpretive signs, utilities, and project signs.
--Harris: Houston's CIS, The Training School (target range) received $120,000 to construct a new indoor range near Interstate 45 just north of Loop 610 in Houston. Funds will be used to initiate start-up of the construction of hunter education classroom, restrooms, storage and indoor range facilities at the current building site within Houston city limits. Applicant will provide $40,000 in supporting matching funds, both cash and in-kind service.
--Harris: Outer Nature Trail Loop (recreational trail) received $50,000 for a new one-mile nature trail. This grant was requested by Sheldon Lake State Park.
--Hays County: Five-mile Dam Park (local park) received $500,000 to acquire by purchase/donation 43 acres and further develop 40.55 acres of existing county parkland as five Mile Dam Park located on the Blanco River approximately three miles north of San Marcos. Proposed development includes a 3.5-acre open space dedication, .15-mile hike/bike/jogging trail, 1.39-mile nature trail, two soccer fields, two playscapes, five covered picnic tables, two pavilions, wildlife observation station, two canoe launches, five primitive campsites, river swimming area, shade port, renovation of abandoned road into .66-mile bike path, xeriscape garden, interpretive signs, wetland garden, and program signage.
--Hays: Wimberley Blue Hole Regional Park (regional park) received $1,908,500 to acquire 76 acres by purchase/donation to develop Blue Hole Regional Park and Preserve located on Cypress Creek in the northeast area of the Village. Proposed development includes a two-mile multi-purpose trail, soccer field, 10 benches, 10 picnic tables, enhancement of a freshwater swimming area, xeriscape garden, and project acknowledgement signs.
--Hidalgo: Mario Leal (Municipal) Park II in Elsa (local park) received $500,000 to acquire two acres by purchase/donation to renovate and further develop 20-acre Mario Leal Park located in the west area of the city. Proposed development includes a two-acre open space dedication with wildlife habitat enhancement, lighting of two existing baseball fields each with an overlying soccer field, lighting of existing ballfield, 40 picnic units with grills and games tables, playground, 10 sheltered benches/swings, 660 linear-foot multi-purpose trail, six exercise stations, two horseshoe pits, two shuffleboard courts, multi-purpose court, two lighted volleyball courts, disc golf course, large pavilion, small pavilion with two picnic tables, water-play splash pad, skateboard ramps, .19-mile nature trail, xeriscape/compost demonstration plots, pond, pier, interpretive signs, rain harvesting equipment, solar powered controls, area lighting, landscaping, drip irrigation, parking, and program signs.
--Hidalgo: La Villa Community Park II (local park) received $475,000 to acquire one acre by purchase to expand and develop nine-acre Community Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a one-acre open space dedication with habitat enhancement, pool renovation and shade structure, baseball field renovation and lighting, lighted Little League field, two overlying soccer fields, 20 picnic tables with grills, 10 sheltered benches/swings, two shuffleboard courts, two horseshoe pits, multi-purpose court, one-mile multi-purpose trail with exercise stations, splash pad, plaza renovation, disc golf course, playground, xeriscape/compost demonstration plot, wildlife habitat enhancement, 500 linear-foot nature trail, interpretive signs, concession/scorekeeper's building, landscaping, drip irrigation, and program signs.
--Hill: Whitney City Park II (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 17.6-acre City Park located in the southwest area of the city. Proposed development includes ball-field lighting renovations, a batting cage, native plant garden, five benches, group grill, .75-mile trail, landscaping, and program sign.
--Jackson: Breckenridge Equestrian Trail (recreational trail) received $100,000 for new six-mile equestrian trail at Parrie Haynes ranch, parking, access road and signs. This grant was requested by the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority.
--Jeff Davis: Madera Canyon Nature Trail received $44,295 for new 2.96-mile trail in Madera Canyon, signs and supplies. This grant was requested by Nature Conservancy.
--Lamar: Kiwanis Park in Reno (small community) received $50,000 to acquire by donation and develop 6.71-acre Kiwanis Park located in the east area of the city. Proposed development includes playground renovation, four picnic tables with grills, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pit, soccer field, baseball field renovation, and a skateboard area.
--Leon: Leon County Gun Club, LLC (target range) received $30,000 for constructing new hunter education classroom at their existing facility. The club received a previous grant in 1992 from TPWD to initiate the range project that has since been a successful public range in the county. The county strongly supports hunter education, 4-H Shooting Sports and related youth outdoor programs, and such programs will continue to grow because of the new facilities. Match consists of a combination of private donations of labor, equipment, materials and club assets valued at more than $10,000.
--Marion: West Jefferson City Park (small community) received $50,000 to develop 1.41-acre West Jefferson City Park located in the northwest area of the city. Proposed development includes a .19-mile trail, playground, pavilion, multi-use sports court, picnic station, washer court, horseshoe court, and program acknowledgement signs.
--McLennan: Lake Waco Wetland Trail (recreational trail) received $35,484 for new 6,000-foot trail (to renovate 2.8 miles), and for signs. This grant was requested by the City of Waco.
--Medina: Castroville Trail Development (recreational trail) received $49,760 for a new 2.25 mile granite/asphalt trail, parking, signs. This grant was requested by the City of Castroville.
--Montgomery: Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail (recreational trail) received $83,200 for new 4,000-footconcrete trail, eight feet wide along a creek. This grant was requested by the City of Conroe.
--Orange: Vidor Sparrow Lane Park (local park) received $212,110 acquire 33.7 acres by purchase and dedicate 13.04 acres of city-owned non-parkland to develop Sparrow Lane Park located in the southwest area of the city. Proposed development includes a 14-acre wetland dedication, .9-mile trail, boardwalk, two multi-purpose fields, four portable soccer goals, playground, pavilion, seven picnic tables with five grills, canoe/kayak launch, wildlife viewing deck, washer court, open play area, two kiosks, interpretive signs, utilities, and project signs.
--Palo Pinto: Possum Kingdom Lake Trail (recreational trail) received $76,800 for a new five-mile trail, restrooms, signs, parking and resource clearance. This grant was requested by the Brazos River Authority.
--Potter: Amarillo Shooting Complex (target range) received $60,000 to initiate start-up of the construction of hunter education classroom, restrooms, storage and rifle and pistol range facilities. Range will be run by the city police department and they will open the range to the public and at peak times prior to the hunting seasons at least three days a week. Applicant will provide $20,000 in supporting matching funds, both cash and in-kind service during the initial start up phase. The Amarillo Shooting Complex is a joint effort of the Amarillo Police Department and the City Parks and Recreation department and will be located on city land near a landfill.
--Rains: Emory City Park II (small community) received $50,000 to further develop 4.5-acre City Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a .2-mile trail with bridge, two fitness stations, pavilion, group grill, two horseshoe pits, game table, hummingbird/butterfly garden, songbird sanctuary, volleyball court, finger park, basketball court and bridge renovations, creek dredging, two shuffleboard courts, four benches, and project signs.
--Red River: Langford Lake Nature Trail in Clarksville (small community) received $24,495 and will lease 58.9 acres from the Red River County Water Control and Improvement District 1 and develop the Langford Lake Nature Trail located north of the City. Proposed development includes a one-mile trail, boardwalk, 20 benches, native prairie restoration, gate, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Smith: Lakeside Trail (recreational trail) received $100,000 for a new 1.5-mile granite trail, eight feet wide, drainage, rest stations. This grant was requested by Tyler State Park.
--Smith: Trails at Faulkner Park (recreational trail) received $98,736 for new 1.5-mile granite trail, eight feet wide, drainage and rest stations. This grant was requested by the City of Tyler.
--Starr: Heritage Park in Rio Grande City (small community) received $50,000 to acquire by donation and develop 4.63-acre Heritage Park located in the west area of the city. Proposed development includes a pavilion, four picnic tables and two grills, three benches, .5-mile trail, half-court basketball court, playground, exercise station, parking, lighting, and project acknowledgement signs.
--Tarrant: Fort Worth Gateway Park III (regional park) received $2,000,000 to acquire by purchase 225.5 acres and dedicate 135.2 acres of publicly-owned non-parkland to further develop 504-acre Gateway Park located in the east area of the city along the West Fork of the Trinity River. Proposed development includes a 3.09-mile hike/bike trail, 1.46-mile equestrian trail, two bird and wildlife observation deck/towers, four soccer fields, observation deck, canoe/kayak/tubing launch, boardwalk, fishing pier, natural/cultural interpretive signage, ecosystem restoration/native planting, bio-retention system, concession/restroom building, and lighted parking lots.
--Tarrant: Walnut Creek Linear Park in Mansfield (local park) received $500,000 to acquire by donation 25.62 acres along Walnut Creek linking numerous parks and schools to expand and further develop 82.34 acres of city-owned land in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes a 25.62-acre open space dedication, .85-mile multi-purpose trail with bridge, .4-mile nature trail, grist mill interpretive playground, outdoor education pavilion, amphitheater, two basketball courts, sand volleyball court, wildscape area, two horseshoe pits, creek overlook, interpretive signs, four picnic tables, six day camp areas, wildlife and wetland viewing stations, water sampling station, and project signs.
--Tarrant: Northern Heritage Trail (recreational trail) received $92,160 for new 3.225-foot concrete trail, water crossing, tables and benches. This grant was requested by the City of Fort Worth.
--Travis: Lost Creek Trail (recreational trail) received $100,000 for new 20,347-foot trail, renovation of a 2,235-foot trail, and Barton creek access. This grant was requested by Lost Creek M.U.D.
--Travis: Town Lake Trail Restoration (recreational trail) received $96,976 to renovate .5-mile trail, retaining wall, drainage and handrail. This grant was requested by Town Lake Trail Foundation.
--Upshur: Barnwell Mountain (Gilmer) (recreational trail) received $183,090 for trailhead improvement and trail equipment for motorized trail area. This grant was requested by the Texas Motorized Trail Coalition.
--Victoria: Victoria Skeet and Trap Club (target range) received $30,000 for further support in constructing new hunter education building at their new trap and skeet range near the Victoria County Airport. The county supports 4-H Shooting sports and related youth outdoor programs, and such programs will grow substantially because of the new facilities. The complex also will serve the hunter education course needs for the county. Match consists of a combination of private donations of labor, equipment, materials and club assets valued at more than $10,000.
--Walker : Eastham-Thomason Park Aquatic Center in Huntsville (local park) received $500,000 to acquire two acres by purchase to expand and further develop 150-acre Eastham-Thomason Park located in the northwest area of the city. Proposed development includes a .43-acre wetland dedication, pool, zero depth pool, bubbler, water slide, aquatic center/pavilion, outdoor nature center, skateboard park, dog park, .75-mile nature trail, .68-mile bicycle trail, bridge, gazebo, and bleachers.
--Williamson: Williamson County Brushy Creek Regional Park II (regional park) received $517,213 to acquire 37.1 acres by donation to expand and further develop Brushy Creek Regional Trail located east of the City of Cedar Park in the southern area of the county. Proposed development includes a 2.75-mile trail with creek crossing and aquatic viewing area, fishing areas, wetlands improvements, aquatic garden, water fowl feeding area, xeriscape garden, exercise station, nine-hole disc golf course, 10 benches, kiosk, interpretive signs, roadway, parking, and project acknowledgement signs.
--Williamson: Round Rock Greater Lake Creek Park (local park) received $500,000 to acquire by donation 35.37 acres and further develop 39.9 acres of existing parkland as Greater Lake Creek Park located in the southeast area of the city. Proposed development includes a 27.9-acre open space dedication, .71-mile hike and bike trail, .27-mile nature trail, two pavilions, multi-use playfield renovation, two playgrounds, lighted skate park, lighted in-line hockey/basketball court, lighted sand volleyball court, practice soccer field/open playfield, leash-free dog park, six picnic tables, 10 benches, xeriscape flower/community garden, two fishing nooks, bird viewing areas, wetlands enhancement with aquatic garden, interpretive signs, and program acknowledgement signs.
--Wilson: Floresville Rail-Trail (recreational trail) received $99,440 for new 2.1-mile granite/asphalt trail, parking, signs. This grant was requested by the City of Floresville.
--Wood: Hawkins City Park II (small community) received $50,000 to further develop six-acre City Park located in the central area of the city. Proposed development includes four picnic tables, playground, .32-mile trail, five exercise stations, hummingbird garden, butterfly garden, irrigation, utilities, and project signs.
--Wood: Sabine River Trail (recreational trail) received $98,800 for new 6,006-foot trail, bridge, signs, rest stop. This grant was requested by the City of Mineola.
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[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 30, 2004
Proposal Would Protect Seagrass, Fisheries in Redfish Bay
ROCKPORT, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking public input on a proposal to create mandatory "propeller up" zones for motorboats in parts of Redfish Bay where biologists have been testing voluntary zones since 2000. The proposal is part of a continuing effort to find the most effective means of protecting sensitive seagrass in areas of high boat traffic.
Shallow-water seagrasses in Texas bays provide vital nursery areas for diverse marine life, food and cover for game fish, bottom stabilization, and better water quality. Seagrass has declined in many areas on the Texas coast. In Galveston Bay, 95 percent of all seagrass has disappeared. In the Redfish Bay area, the total acreage of seagrass has declined by 13 percent since 1958. The area marks the northernmost extent of one important species commonly known as turtlegrass. This species is particularly susceptible to propeller damage because of the long recovery time when damaged. The proposed mandatory prop up zones encompass large meadows of turtlegrass.
In 2000, a Seagrass Conservation Task Force made up of commercial and recreational anglers, local governments, homeowners, fishing guides, boat dealers and other business owners unanimously supported a plan to create voluntary restrictions on boating at Redfish Bay and mandatory rules for Nine Mile Hole in the Lower Laguna Madre.
A study done in the 1990s by the Corpus Christi National Estuary Program found seagrasses declining, changing or fragmenting in areas with high boat traffic. TPWD and the seagrass task force concluded that scars from boat propellers contribute substantially to seagrass fragmentation and loss and may worsen bottom erosion. Prop scars are more common near popular fishing areas.
"At Redfish Bay, we've tried hard for years to make a voluntary approach work to protect seagrasses," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and TPWD coastal fisheries director. "We've done extensive public outreach and education, including new maps and signs and special events. We distributed a video on how to operate boats responsibly in saltwater flats."
"I won't say the voluntary approach has been a total failure-far from it. But we have documented new propeller scarring in voluntary zones. At some point, our responsibility is to step in and act to protect the long-term health of our bays and our fisheries. This proposal will evaluate the effectiveness of mandatory zones over the same time period as the voluntary rules."
Department employees on Aug. 25 briefed the conservation committee of the TPW Commission, the nine-member board appointed by the governor to oversee the state agency, about proposed new rules for Redfish Bay.
Several areas in Redfish Bay have been designated voluntary "prop up" zones, where boaters are supposed to lift motorboat propellers up out of the water and paddle or pole through shallow water seagrass beds.
Aerial photographs and on-site inspections show new propeller scarring in the voluntary zones between December 2001 and December 2002 -- an indication that voluntary measures have not been effective. Furthermore, some propeller scars made years ago are still evident, indicating that such scars persist over time and that seagrass beds are not able to recover quickly on their own.
For these reasons, biologists are proposing that the current voluntary restrictions become mandatory for five years, beginning Sept. 1, 2005. This would include parts of Redfish Bay known as Estes Flats, Terminal Flat and Brown and Root Flat. There would still be run lanes to provide motorboat access in and out of these areas.
No changes are proposed for the Lighthouse Lakes trail system in the North Harbor Island area of Redish Bay or for the Nine Mile Hole area in the Lower Laguna Madre.
Anyone may receive a copy of the proposed new rules for Redfish Bay by sending a written request by e-mail to bill.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov or by regular mail to Bill Harvey, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744. Anyone may comment on the proposed new rules by writing to the same addresses.
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[ Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [RM]
Aug. 30, 2004
Reward Offered in Fort Griffin Burglary
ALBANY, Texas -- Out West, where frontier-era scofflaws like Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid once flaunted the law in the late 1800s, some things never change.
Modern-day outlaws broke into the headquarters of Fort Griffin State Park and Historic Site over the weekend, making off with a number of 19th century firearms. The Old Fort Griffin Memorial Regiment, a park friends' group, is offering a $300 reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen antique guns.
Sunday morning, park employees discovered the break-in that occurred Saturday night, said Lester Galbreath, manager of the historic fort established by the U.S. military in 1867 during the Indian Wars. He said it was the first burglary there where artifacts were stolen that he could recall.
According to Galbreath, the thief or thieves made off with an 1873 Winchester rifle, a Spencer rifle, 1863 Sharp's carbine, 1860 Colt Army pistol, 1851 Navy Colt revolver and handmade double-barrel shotgun.
"The items weren't found at Fort Griffin, but they were really nice artifacts and they won't be here to benefit the public. That's the real tragedy," Galbreath said.
Galbreath would love to have the stolen weapons back in his possession to display during the upcoming Fort Griffin Frontier Times, a full-scale re-enactment event scheduled Sept. 17-19 designed to recreate Texas' last frontier circa 1880.
Anyone with information about the stolen property should contact the Shackelford Sheriff's Office at (325) 762-2000.
Fort Griffin is located on U.S. Highway 283, 15 miles north of Albany about an hour's drive northeast of Abilene and two hours west of Fort Worth. For park information, call (325) 762-3592.
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[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Aug. 30, 2004
License Authorization Number Valid for Deer Hunting
AUSTIN, Texas -- Until now, sportsmen who purchased a Texas hunting license via phone or the web had to wait for deer tags in the mail before going deer hunting.
Several recent actions by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, including eliminating the practice of "double tagging" deer where a license tag and a permit tag are both used, could mean no more waiting for some hunters.
In a rule change adopted by the Commission at its Aug. 26 public meeting, hunters who buy their license online or over the phone can hunt deer on properties where permits are required, such as the Managed Lands Deer Permits, Landowner Assisted Management Permits or in the agency's special drawing hunts on public lands.
The new rule is expected to be in effect by the opening of archery deer season.
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[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [MM]
Aug. 30, 2004
Project Wild Reaches 44 Houston Schools
HOUSTON -- Houston teachers in 44 elementary schools are learning to bring nature and the outdoors into the classroom using award-winning program Project WILD "Wildlife in Learning Design." This is the largest training of its kind ever undertaken by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
While Project WILD has been taught before in various Texas schools, it hasn't yet been implemented in a school district this big, said Cappy Manly of TPWD's Urban Outdoors branch, who is coordinating the environmental education effort.
"We have never done anything on this large of a scale." said Manly. "And the word is getting out. It's starting to domino."
In other areas of Texas, such as the Magnolia district just north of Houston and a school district in Laredo, teachers have also requested Project WILD training. Project WILD/Aquatic WILD is a Kindergarten through 12th grade environmental and conservation education program emphasizing awareness, appreciation and understanding of wildlife and natural resources.
Interest in these nature-based learning programs and the need for science education has been fostered largely by the new science component of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test last year. The TAKS test is a statewide assessment program for all grade levels and was first implemented in spring 2003.
"We need to know we're addressing the needs of the teachers and at the same time meeting the mission of our agency," said Manly, adding that Project WILD facilitators must be familiar with the test before training teachers.
Houston-area 3rd and 4th grade teachers, 230 in all, gathered in the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District in northwest Houston to participate in the three-hour program on Aug. 9. Cypress Fairbanks is one of the largest districts in the state and has a reputation of high student performance. The workshop was offered as part of teacher staff development days for teachers of 44 elementary schools. Manly is also discussing training with 1st and 5th grade teachers for next year.
Participating teachers receive the Project WILD manual with 122 activities including wildlife and wildlife-issue content information. Teachers are provided background information about Texas wildlife, management of wildlife, habitat and habitat enhancements, and current wildlife issues. Participants are required to prepare for the second installment of the six-hour program, which will take place Oct. 6.
Manly trains facilitators to teach these workshops, but since they all "have day jobs," she said, expanding the program is difficult. Facilitators of Project WILD, besides providing teachers with knowledge and activities for the classroom, encourage them to nurture student interest in the outdoors by taking them on field trips to state parks. "We teach people how to think about wildlife, not what to think," said Manly.
Check out the Project WILD page at (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us).
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