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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-06-20                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [RM]
June 20, 2005
Volunteers Sought This Summer at Texas State Parks, Historic Sites
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas state parks and historic sites are seeking retirees, vacationing educators and any others looking for something interesting to do this summer.
With more than 100 state parks and historic sites, volunteer opportunities abound throughout the state. Parks seeking volunteers include such popular Texas Hill Country in parks as Blanco and Garner, as well as Mustang Island State Park along the Gulf of Mexico and Panhandle jewel Palo Duro Canyon.
The Texas State Park System's volunteer program provides park lovers an opportunity to give something back to their favorite state park and also provides parks with much-needed manpower, saving the state millions of dollars in labor costs. In fact, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimates conservatively that state park volunteers save the agency roughly $7 million a year in labor costs.
"Without our dedicated group of volunteers across the state, we couldn't operate many of our parks," said Walt Dabney, director of Texas State Parks.
State park volunteer opportunities run the gamut -- from park hosts and office assistants to park maintenance workers and tour guides, according to Carolyn Gonzales, TPWD's state parks volunteer coordinator.
"There are numerous opportunities for park hosts around the state from now through September," said Gonzales. "Snowbirds tend to flock to Texas during the winter to help out at our state parks, but that makes volunteers scarce during the warmer summer months. Even some of our most visited state parks right now are experiencing a need for summertime volunteers."
Busy Blanco State Park, about an hour's drive west of Austin, is one such park seeking more volunteer help. The scenic, 104-acre park, which straddles the spring-fed Blanco River, currently needs three park hosts to fill its four summer slots.
Campground hosts typically set up their RV or trailer at a park host site for a month, receiving free camping in exchange for doing campground counts, answering campers' questions and picking up trash, said Jim Cook, Blanco State Park's office manager. He said the park has a San Antonio school principal who works on many weekends, mowing grass and trimming trees as a break from his usual office routine.
Martha Stafford, a middle school teacher in Terlingua in the Big Bend Country, is volunteering her services at a Texas state park for the second time in three summers. A recent weekday morning found her applying a reflective sealant on the roof of the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center in Lajitas.
"I believe very strongly in volunteerism, giving something back," Stafford explained. "I know schools couldn't exist without volunteers. So in the summer when I'm off, I try to spread the wealth."
Volunteers like Stafford are as precious as rainfall in the Chihuahuan Desert park during the hot summer months. Volunteer coordinator David Long tries to keep four park host sites staffed best he can. In exchange for their services, which might be for a period as short as a week or as long as a month, park hosts receive a free campsite and utilities at Barton Warnock, as well as access to Big Bend Ranch State Park and Fort Leaton State Historic Site.
"The only requirement for volunteers is that they be in good physical condition," Long said. "There's not a lot of indoor work since it's our slow season. Most work is outdoors, but we never work you harder than you want to work."
In the face of limited funding for hiring seasonal help, Mustang Island State Park volunteer coordinator Cathy Flores depends on civic-minded and adventurous people to augment a small park staff.
"Volunteers work at the park entry, collecting fees and help out in the office," she said. "Other volunteers perform maintenance tasks, such as emptying trash drums along the beach and cleaning restrooms."
Like Mustang Island State Park, Davis Mountains State Park near Fort Davis counts on the same volunteers to return year after year. Jack and Marie Griffin will be serving as camp hosts again at Davis Mountains this July and August. The Whitney retirees will park their recreational vehicle next to one of the park's wildlife-viewing stations and tend to a number of chores.
"We love it out here and look forward to it every year," Jack Griffin said as he showed visitors around the park's Interpretive Center. "It's quiet, cool and we just love the mountains."
For more information about Texas state park volunteer opportunities, call (512) 389-4893 or e-mail Carolyn.Gonzales@tpwd.texas.gov.
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[ Note: This item is more than eight 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 20, 2005
Texas Springs Focus of Special Magazine Issue
AUSTIN, Texas -- Clean, clear, cool water bubbling up from the ground into the Texas heat-this iconic image conveys the historic power and pull of springs, the visible manifestation of groundwater. But all across Texas, springs are threatened, as the latest special issue about water resources from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine shows.
The July issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife, titled "The State of Springs," showcases dozens of places and reasons to celebrate springs and also reveals threats to them across the state. The issue hits newsstands statewide June 28.
Springs have been drying up across Texas for decades, partly because more people are pumping more water out of the ground. The July issue lead story by Larry McKinney, Ph.D., and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department coastal fisheries director, cites the seminal work of Gunnar Brune, author of the 1981 book "Springs of Texas."
"Of the 31 large springs once known," McKinney writes, "only 17 remain, and 63 historically significant springs have altogether failed. Many other springs, perhaps less well-known but no less valuable, have dried up over the last 20 years."
One of the most celebrated cases of Texas springs gone dry is profiled in the feature article "Who Owns The Water?" by Ronald Kaiser, professor of law and water policy at Texas A&M University. One account measured spring flow at Comanche Springs in Fort Stockton at 500 gallons per second in 1899, but by 1950 alarmed locals noticed the springs were no longer bubbling up. Kaiser writes that the lawsuit "Pecos County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 v. Clayton Williams, et. al" " -- defined Texas groundwater law and the protection, or the lack of protection, of springs." Kaiser's article goes on to detail how groundwater supplies 60 percent of Texas' needs, explaining aquifers, the hydrologic cycle and the legal Rule of Capture.
Writer Wendee Holtcamp's article "Aquatic Islands in a Sea of Land" celebrates some of the best of what's left in Texas springs and reports how Brune's study of springs is today continued by a new generation of scientists.
The cautionary tale of El Paso is examined in detail by writer Rod Davis in the article "Water Pressure," which describes how aggressive conservation programs and careful planning have averted a water crisis-for now.
"Mean Green Aliens" by John Ostdick shows how, in the battle against water-sucking invasive plants, scientists are trying everything from airborne herbicides to ravenous bugs to sterile fish that eat plants.
In "Water Wars," writer Joe Nick Patoski looks at how growing demand for water and evolving groundwater policy have turned Kinney County near Del Rio into a hotbed of water politics. "The Kinney County Conservation District is either the poster child for how not to manage groundwater," writes Patoski, "or the last best defense for rural areas fighting big cities that covet their water."
The magazine issue profiles ranchers in Burnet, Kent, Pecos, Tom Green, and Victoria counties who are managing their land in ways that benefit water resources, explaining how this is important for people living in cities and towns downstream.
"Springs and the River" by E. Dan Klepper reviews decades of history, geology and recreation along the Rio Grande, imparting the troubled river's relationship with springs and groundwater.
The issue concludes with "Top 10 Swimming Holes," profiling Balmorhea State Park in West Texas, Barton Springs in Austin, Landa Park in New Braunfels, Krause Springs west of Austin, public parks on the San Marcos River, Schumachers's Crossing on the Guadalupe River near Hunt, sites along the Frio River near Leakey, Hamilton Pool near Austin, Blanco River State Park and Devil's Water Hole at Ink's Lake State Park (tied for 9th place), and San Felipe Springs in Del Rio.
The July issue will be delivered to subscribers and newsstands by June 28. For subscriptions, subscribe online or by phone at (800) 937-9393.
The special magazine issue is part of a broader public information initiative called "Texas: the State of Water" from TPWD about the crucial role of water resources for the state's economic and environmental future. More information, including what people can do to help, is on the TPWD Web site.
---
On the Net:
http://www.tpwmagazine.com/
http://www.texasthestateofwater.org/
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
June 20, 2005
10 Separate Operation Game Thief Displays Focus on Regional Violations
UNDATED -- Building on the widely acclaimed reception of the 25-foot 'Operation Game Thief' Wall of Shame Exhibit, the OGT Committee recently decided to make smaller versions available to each of the 10 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement regions in the state.
OGT is the state's wildlife crime stoppers program where callers help solve crimes, get rewards and can remain anonymous.
The new ten 16-foot trailers, recently delivered, are each decaled to match the larger version, and each region has been awarded a grant from OGT to complete the interiors to represent illegal activity in the respective regions. The use of these additional trailers will provide Game Wardens across the state a professional exhibit with which to enhance public awareness regarding anti-poaching efforts.
"We are proud of the money that has been raised in the OGT fundraisers that has allowed us to put the smaller wall of shame trailers around the state for game warden use. These trailers provide a great tool to get the word out to the public about poaching, and how the public can be a part of recognizing and stopping this," said L.D. "Buddy" Turner, OGT Program Administrator at TPWD.
The following are the status reports of trailers in each area:
Austin, Temple, Bryan and the Metroplex: This trailer will be completed by the end of June. TPWD will be adding to it as items are completed by the taxidermists. In this trailer, there are seizures from many types of violations. There are several mounts of deer that were illegally taken. There are examples of fishing equipment violations such as a hoop net, gigging pole, several fish zappers, and telephones (fish shocking devices). There are examples of non-game violations that include illegal traps and wildlife or their parts that cannot be lawfully possessed. This trailer also includes several examples of violations of the threatened and endangered species act. These items include zebra skins, salt water crocodile skin, various belts, shoes, and purses made from assorted reptiles, hippo teeth, a jaguar hat, an ocelot skin, and turtle shells.
Caldwell County: Game Warden Joann Garza hit the ground running with her region's trailer participating with the new OGT Trailer recently at the Luling Safety Fair. More than 300 people attended the event and the trailer won for best exhibit.
Lower-Coastal Region: This trailer will be ready in August. Wardens already have an exhibit commitment in mid-September. Plans are to display the usual deer and fish mounts incorporating illegal items associated with the commercial fishing industry as well. The trailer will be kept in Corpus and anyone interested in requesting the trailer for an event can contact (361) 289-5566.
East Texas: The wardens there just picked theirs up two weeks ago and are collecting species to have mounted to put in the trailer. There are a group of wardens who will be starting work on the trailer as soon as the bulk of water safety enforcement season is over. Public viewing of the new trailer will start in early fall.
Central/Southeast Texas: TPWD expects to begin development in September with an expected completion date of January.
Upper Coastal Region: Work is pending at area taxidermists to provide mounts for this trailer, and it is expected to be ready for display by the fall.
Northeast Texas: This trailer will be filled with items relating to types of cases filed in this region and it will be operational by the fall.
West Texas: This one will also be ready for display this fall and will feature common regional seizures and violations.
More specific information about each trailer will be available as the trailers develop.
For more information, call Turner at (512) 389-4846.
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
June 20, 2005
Boating Safety Tips
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
--Always wear a life jacket.
--Avoid alcohol.
--Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.
--Children younger than age 13 must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway.
--Enroll in a boater education class.
--Don't overload your boat.
--Operate at a safe speed.
--Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
--Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
Always Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or Life Jacket
--Most boating fatality victims were found (recovered) NOT wearing a PFD.
--Always carry extra PFD's in both adult and child sizes.
--Children younger than 13 years old must wear a PFD while underway.
Avoid Alcohol
--The probability of being killed in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
--Operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after you have been drinking.
--Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is strictly enforced and carries penalties similar to driving while intoxicated penalties, including possible Driver's License suspension.
Enroll in a Boater Education Course - Regardless of Age
--It's a good idea for the whole family to enroll in a boater education course.
--A majority (52 percent) vessels involved in boating accidents are operated by persons 26-50 years of age.
--For information about classroom, home video and on-line course options, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/ or call (800) 792-1112.
Be Especially Careful On Personal Watercrafts (PWC)
--PWC operators and passengers must wear a life jacket.
--Before you borrow or rent a PWC, take the time to learn how to operate the vessel and the rules of the waterway.
--Obey the 50-foot rule! Maintain a 50-foot distance from other PWC's, vessels, persons, shore, stationary platform or other object unless operating at headway (idle) speed.
Operate at a Safe Speed
--Although there are no numerical speed limits on the water, citations may be issued for excessive speed or reckless operation. Use common sense, and operate at a safe speed at all times - especially in crowded areas.
--Excessive speed is a rate of speed greater than is reasonable or prudent without regard for conditions and hazards or greater than will permit a person to bring the boat to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
Any other questions can be directed to (512) 389-4627.
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov ] [KE]
June 20, 2005
Military Personnel Get Hunting Benefits
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 79th Texas Legislature passed HB 1076, which directs the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to waive the all fees for hunting and fishing licenses for Texas residents currently on active duty as a member of the military.
The new Texas Resident Active Duty Military "Super Combo" Hunting and All-Water Fishing Package (Type 510), which is free, will be available to any Texas resident who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the Reserves or National Guard on active duty. The package includes all five state stamp endorsements (archery, freshwater fishing, and migratory game bird, saltwater fishing with a red drum tag and upland game bird). The Federal Waterfowl (duck) Stamp is not included. For a member of the military to qualify for a free "Super Combo," he or she must have continuously resided in Texas for more than six months before obtaining the license. See the Outdoor Annual on page 21 for more specifics.
A member of the military who does not qualify as a Texas resident for the purpose of obtaining a military "Super Combo" Texas may purchase any resident hunting and fishing license. For more information, call (512) 389-4846.
The free military license can be obtained after 2005-2006 hunting and fishing licenses go on sale Aug. 15, 2005 at any location where Texas licenses are sold. Active duty service members must show a current military identification card. The free military license may not be obtained over the telephone or Internet.*
* Correction, Aug. 5, 2005: This paragraph was added for clarification. (Return to corrected item.)
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[ Note: This item is more than eight years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ] [KE]
June 20, 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 June 20-24, one of the state's largest state parks is getting even bigger. We'll chat with Jack Bauer about the additional real estate at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Plus when you search the Internet it's called surfing, but when you search a net that has been in a surf, that's called seining. Galveston Island State Park's own Hans Haglund explains how it's not all a drag.
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. Airing Jun 19-26, with more work to do than staff to do it, state park managers look for some innovative ways to get the job done. At Fort Boggy State Park, Construction Engineer David Morris got some help from an unlikely source; inmates from the nearby state prison. A summer float is just one of the activities you can enjoy at Guadalupe River State Park. Joan Nitschke and Rex Shaddox have a few more suggestions for enjoying this Hill Country get away. Aquatic Education Specialist Brenda Justice of Dickinson has some tips on keeping your tackle box organized and ready. Canyons, rolling plains and thick grasslands blanket much of the Texas Panhandle. Ride along with Texas game wardens Mark Collins, Win Bishop, Matt Marshall, Frank Ricketson and Ewel McCrary as they patrol this diverse landscape. And finally, explore the 'Lost Pines' of Bastrop State Park.
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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