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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-04-28                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Michael S. Baird, (254) 666-5190; Michael.baird@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 28, 2011
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Partners Restore Lake Brazos Fishery
ATHENS -- A recent cooperative effort between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD Inland Fisheries management staff, the City of Waco, Cameron Park Zoo, and some local scouts from China Spring deployed new fish habitat into Lake Brazos on Wednesday.
Twenty fish attractors primarily composed of bamboo from nearby Cameron Park Zoo were sunk near newly renovated or newly constructed piers and shelters along both sides of the lake between Doris D. Miller Park and Cameron Park. The new fish habitat simulates flooded brush habitat and will draw in fish species of every kind and size. Forage species like sunfishes feed on aquatic insects that are naturally drawn to the habitat. Additionally, this somewhat complex system of stems, branches and leaves provides cover for small fishes from larger predators such as largemouth bass and catfish.
Crappies are also known for selecting these types of underwater haunts to hang-out in, hence their name, "crappie condos."
TPWD Inland Fisheries management biologists in Waco have been cooperating with the City of Waco and other partners for years to create a viable fishery on Lake Brazos. The City of Waco initiated the first step by replacing the faulty dam with a new labyrinth weir dam, which was completed in 2007. The new dam maintains a near constant-level lake year round.
Biologists have since stocked 58,000 bluegill, over 12,000 largemouth bass, 132,525 Florida largemouth bass, 126,855 channel catfish, and nearly 100,000 blue catfish for anglers to take advantage of. Recreational features including walkways, picnic shelters, boat ramps, and fishing and boating piers continue to be constructed and updated along the lower two-thirds of the reservoir adjacent to the city of Waco. The new fish attractors are all within easy casting distance of many of these facilities.
Anglers who have not fished Lake Brazos recently are in for a pleasant surprise. Lake Brazos boasts some of the highest catch rates for channel and blue catfish in Central Texas, and the majority of these are of legal size. Flathead catfish are also found in the lake. Temperate bass anglers can target low density populations of white bass and striped bass. Hybrid striped bass, emigrating from Lake Waco, may also be encountered. Black bass anglers can encounter quality largemouth and spotted bass, and smallmouth bass are not out of the question, since over 20,000 fingerlings have been stocked just 42 river miles upstream in the Lake Whitney tailrace since 2008. Good numbers of white crappie and sunfishes, including bluegill, longear and redear sunfish, have also been sampled recently.
Doris D. Miller Park off MLK Boulevard houses a tackle loaner program where anglers can borrow fishing tackle at no cost. Please contact the TPWD Waco fisheries management office for more details at (254) 666-5190.
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
April 28, 2011
Eggheads to Gather at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center to Cook Hamburgers
ATHENS -- Do you like green eggs and ham….burgers? Would you like them with a fish? On a tram? On a dish? You will like them here, we wish! Would you? Could you? On a plate? Don't be late! Come and see them! Watch us cook! Give a look! Make haste to taste! You will like green eggs with ham….burgers!
So here's the deal . . .
In recent years, the Big Green Egg has revolutionized outdoor cooking. But when asked what the words green eggs bring to mind, most folks will answer "Dr. Seuss" or the name of one of his popular books, Green Eggs and Ham.
Stay with me just a little longer. This is going somewhere.
The iconic Egg is modeled on a traditional Asian ceramic cooking concept that has become one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. barbecue industry. Originally constructed with clay, the Egg is now manufactured with space-age ceramics that make the cooker virtually indestructible in normal use. Manufactured by a company headquartered near Atlanta, Georgia, The Big Green Egg is available in more than 20 countries worldwide.
For years, Athens, Texas, has been recognized as the "Home of the Original Hamburger." (Yes, there are other places that claim that distinction--more about that later.)
Put the two together and you get Green Eggs and Ham…burgers, a friendly gastric get-together known to most as an Eggfest, which will take place May 21 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens, 75 miles southeast of Dallas. (Cooks will gather for orientation and a social at TFFC the evening of May 20.)
Participants will come from across the country to showcase their personal recipes, meet with fellow Eggheads, and share some great food with the crowd. Visitors can watch cooking demonstrations throughout the day and experience the Big Green Egg firsthand with the opportunity to do their own cooking on the Eggs. (You can also go fishing, see a diver hand-feed fish, and walk our Wetlands Trail to atone for all the free goodies you scarfed up.) A variety of vendors will also be on hand with kitchen and grill-related products.
Individuals interested in owning a Big Green Egg cooker may purchase demo eggs at substantially discounted prices following the event. A listing of cooks, registration forms, vendor registration forms, special event rates for lodging in Athens and other details about the event can be found at http://www.athenseggfest.wordpress.com.
Answers to all your questions about cooking on a Big Green Egg can be found at http://www.biggreenegg.com/forums.html.
Now, about those hamburgers.
Local lore has it that the hamburger as we know it (or pretty close to it) was invented by an Athens, Texas, resident, Fletcher ("Old Dave") Davis, at his Athens café in the 1880s and introduced to the world at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. (You can read more about the fair and even listen to music of the era, much of it composed by Texas's own Scott Joplin, at http://washingtonmo.com/1904/index.htm.)
A reporter for the New York Tribune wrote from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair of a new sandwich called a hamburger, "the innovation of a food vendor on the pike." By "pike" he meant the World's Fair midway. While the food vendor was never named, enough evidence existed that the person was none other than Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, that the 80th Texas Legislature adopted a resolution naming Athens as "the Original Home of the Hamburger."
To those of us raised in the shadow of The Golden Arches with billions and billions sold, it seems incredible that Fletcher Davis never pursued a career flipping burgers after the 1904 fair ended. "When Uncle Fletch and Aunt Ciddy returned from staying the duration at the World's Fair there were several cafes making the new sandwich," nephew Kindree Miller told historian Frank X. Tolbert. "So Uncle Fletch went back to firing pots in our pottery. He would cook hamburgers at picnics but he never reopened his little hamburger joint on the north side of the courthouse square. My uncle was proud of making the first hamburger sandwich, but he never thought of commercializing on it."
I will spare you the details here, but you can read all about it at http://www.athenstx.org/live-and-work/history-of-the-hamburger.
Naturally, other towns in other states claim one of their residents originated what is certainly one of if not THE iconic American food. There's Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin; Frank and Charles Menches from Akron, Ohio; Oscar Weber Bilby of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Louis Lassen of New Haven, Connecticut; Bert W. Gary of Clarinda, Iowa. All have their supporters; you can read about all of them at http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/HamburgerHistory.htm.
Or you can just Google "history of the hamburger." You'll get 11,100,000 hits. Knock yourself out.
It would be a lot more fun to come to Athens May 21 and spend the day at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center sampling Big Green Egg cooking and not worrying about WHO invented the hamburger but just being thankful someone did.
Green Eggs and Ham…burgers is sponsored by Morrison Supply, Paragon Distributing, Brookshire Brothers Grocery and TFFC.
For information on visiting the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffcor call (903) 676-2277.
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[ Note: This item is more than three 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]
April 28, 2011
Regional Lone Star Land Stewards for 2011 Announced
AUSTIN - Native habitat restoration and enhancement for the benefit of wildlife is a common thread among the recipients of this year's Lone Star Land Steward Awards. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Sand County Foundation are recognizing these model land stewards and others, who have shown exemplary efforts to manage their property as ambassadors of conservation.
On May 25 at the Austin Airport Marriott South Hotel in Austin, TPWD will recognize land stewards representing private ranches in various ecological regions, plus three separate categories recognizing achievements for wildlife management associations, special contributions in outreach and education, and corporate efforts. Also, the Leopold Conservation Award for Texas will be presented to the 2011 statewide land steward, yet to be announced, by the Sand County Foundation.
The annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards recognize and honor private landowners for their accomplishments in habitat management and wildlife conservation. The program is designed to educate landowners and the public and to encourage participation in habitat conservation. TPWD's primary partner in the awards is the Sand County Foundation, with current sponsors that include Gulf States Toyota, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Texas Wildlife Association, Lower Colorado River Authority, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, Llano Springs Ranch, Ltd., Texas Agricultural Land Trust, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Lone Star Land Steward Awards program objectives are to recognize private landowners for excellence in habitat management and wildlife conservation on their lands, publicize the best examples of sound natural resource management practices, encourage youth education and participation in promoting responsible habitat management and improved ecosystem health, promote long-term conservation of unique natural and cultural resources, promote ecosystem awareness and acknowledge the best conservation practices in the state's 10 ecological regions, enhance relationships between private landowners and Texas natural resource agencies and illustrate the important role of private landowners in the future of Texas natural resources.
This year's recipients characterize the unique cultural and natural heritage of Texas. Landowners restoring degraded habitats while conserving flora and fauna are a common thread. Following are summaries of stewardship highlights for each of the ecoregion and category recipients.
Blackland Prairie - Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary, Guadalupe County;
Warbler Woods covers 124 acres of diverse Blackland Prairie habitat. For more than 15 years, owners/operators Susan and Don Schaezler have managed the property to provide maximum diversity of native plants and wildlife. Among their achievements include native grassland restoration, juniper control, and construction of ponds and other water features. The owners began inviting birders to the property in 1997. Interest by birders grew and today the family hosts 2,000 visitors a year who enjoy an incredible diversity of birds. Known throughout the nation, Warbler Woods became a charitable foundation in 2008. Now an oasis in the midst of development, the owners especially enjoy introducing children to nature and involving students and families in volunteer projects such as resource monitoring, habitat enhancement and bird banding.
Cross Timbers and Prairies - Lodge Creek Ranch, Jack County
Since 2003, Bryan Mitchell and his family have worked to improve the habitat diversity on their Lodge Creek Ranch primarily to benefit white-tailed deer. Prescribed burning and brush management has been used to improve plant quality and diversity, resulting not only in improved antler quality, but also helping expand turkey populations. Both winter and summer food plots provide supplemental nutrition to a variety of wildlife. Control of feral hogs is an ongoing challenge. Management includes watershed enhancement of the West Fork of the Trinity River, which runs through a portion of the ranch. Based on harvest recommendations, antlerless deer are taken by youth hunters participating in the Texas Youth Hunting Program. Active in the Cross Timbers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the ranch also helps raise money for charities such as the Union Gospel Mission by donating hunts each year.
Edwards Plateau - Blue Mountain Peak Ranch, Mason County
In 2001, with goals of increasing plant and animal diversity and putting more water in the ground for range health and groundwater recharge, Richard Taylor began restoring land heavily dominated by juniper to create a diverse landscape of oak savannah uplands with wooded slopes and drainages. Brush management, grazing deferment and prescribed burning have been used to restore range health, reduce erosion and rejuvenate dozens of springs that now run year round. The Taylors began managing their deer herd with assistance from TPWD in 2002 and became MLDP cooperators in 2004. The ranch offers commercial hunting along with guided hikes, photography, birding and mountain biking. They host the Texas Youth Hunting Program each year and invite students, landowners and natural resource professionals to use the ranch for educational programs.
Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes - A Country Life Ranch, Austin/Colorado Counties
Using the land as an active educational tool to break down barriers between traditional ag producers and new suburban landowners, the Cary Dietzmann family's vision is to improve plant and animal diversity while also enhancing recreational enjoyment. Practices such as rotational grazing, invasive species control, prescribed burning, strip disking, and wetland/riparian zone enhancement are used to accomplish these goals. Deer are managed cooperatively with neighboring landowners and bird diversity is enhanced using supplemental nest structures and water features. In an effort to reach out to neighbors, the ranch regularly conducts "Habitours" to show both traditional and new landowners management options and innovative practices that have worked well.
Pineywoods - Clear Creek Ranch, Sabine County
With assistance from TPWD Landowner Incentive Program and NRCS EQIP program, Mike Howard has restored on his Clear Creek Ranch more than 800 acres of the longleaf pine/native bunchgrass ecosystem that historically dominated much of East Texas. Prescribed fire is used to control yaupon and create an open longleaf pine forest that provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Because of their restoration efforts, the ranch is one of the few places in the Pineywoods where you can hear bobwhite quail whistle and see Bachman's sparrow, a state-listed species of concern attracted to pine savannahs with grassy understory. These grasses provide nesting habitat and stabilize the highly erosive soils, reducing sedimentation into creeks. The ranch has hosted numerous youth groups, landowners, and resource professionals interested in learning about longleaf pine restoration.
Post Oak Savannah - Trinity Bluff Wildlife Ranch, Navarro County
Since 2002, the Brian Smith family has worked to transform overgrazed uplands, post oak woodlands and bottomlands into diverse habitats of native bunchgrasses, forbs and desirable woody plants. Livestock deferment, prescribed burning and native grass seeding has been used to improve plant diversity. Working with the East Texas Wetlands Project and Ducks Unlimited, the Smith's constructed a 20 acre wetland in the Trinity River bottom that attracts a diversity of waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. A smaller wetland was constructed along a shallow draw in the uplands. White-tailed deer quality has improved as a result of population control and enhanced plant diversity. Leaders in the Trinity Basin Conservation Foundation, the ranch is active in Trinity LANDS educational program for 4th graders from Navarro and Dallas counties.
Rolling Plains - Hailey Ranch, Jones and Shackelford Counties
Described as "the hardest working man in wildlife management", Rob Hailey is considered in his own humble way an evangelist for natural resource conservation, hunting ethics, and land stewardship in the Rolling Plains. A student of plants, Rob can tell you the names, values, soil preferences, and how to manage the hundreds of native plants on the ranch. As a testament to his management, you can walk a short distance nearly anywhere on the ranch and see a hundred different plant species. Over the past 15 years, the ranch has used innovative and proven management practices, such as discing, livestock deferment, prescribed burning, food plots, and wildlife friendly water troughs to enhance wildlife habitat. Management approaches are always ecologically sound, relying on principles of plant succession. The ranch hosts numerous field days and an annual youth hunting event for over 50 kids and parents.
South Texas Plains - Halff Brothers Ranch, Frio County
For the past 109 years, the Halff family has ranched through good times and bad. Continuous learning through the decades is the hallmark of achieving their goal of passing on a self-sustaining ranch to future generations. Jim Halff and his family use prescribed burning and aerial herbicide to manage brush and enhance native grasses, resulting in a robust turkey population. Wildlife-friendly water features benefit a diversity of wildlife. The ranch is currently enrolled in the NRCS bobwhite quail EQIP priority area to maintain and enhance nesting cover. Quality deer management is also a goal as they work with TPWD through the MLDP program. Income from farming, lease hunting, stocker cattle, and birding support management goals. Riparian area protection is a high priority as the ranch works to educate neighboring landowners by hosting Nueces River Authority riparian workshops.
Trans Pecos - O2 Ranch, Brewster and Presidio Counties
Owned by the Lykes Brothers since 1941, this 275,000 acre ranch began major restoration efforts in 1998 with ranch wide deferment from grazing. Over the years, Charles P. Lykes Jr. and ranch operator Homer Mills have partnered with Sul Ross State University, NRCS, TPWD and USFWS to protect, restore and monitor riparian areas and associated uplands. Treatment of 4,000 acres of shrub encroached land provides crucial habitat for grassland species such as prairie dogs, pronghorn, and burrowing owls. With assistance from TPWD's Landowner Incentive Program, restoration efforts in the Terlingua Creek watershed have decreased invasive shrubs and bare ground, increased grass and forb cover, and reduced soil erosion. Committed to education and research, the O2 supports numerous research studies and hosts field tours for students, resource professionals, and landowners.
Wildlife Management Association - Colorado County WMA
For 15 years, the Colorado County WMA has been educating landowners on the benefits of good land management, helping agricultural producers understand how to be better wildlife managers. At each meeting, speakers are invited to address topics of interest, such as aging deer on the hoof, turkey management, wildlife census and prescribed burning. As a result of their collective efforts, members are reaping the benefits of better quality deer, improved wildlife diversity, and enhanced ranch income. Currently, members are cooperating in a breeding chronology study for the county. The WMA has provided $48,000 in scholarships to students and donates funding to assist local volunteer fire departments. Many members are MLDP cooperators who use their tags to provide hunting opportunities for youth and others in the community.
Corporation - North American Coal Corporation, Sabine Mine, Harrison County
The use of native grasses to stabilize soil has created grassland bird habitat rarely seen on other properties. According to breeding bird surveys, birds such as dickcissel, eastern meadowlark, scissor-tailed flycatcher, and bobwhite quail are abundant on the reclaimed areas compared with nearby sites. Outreach efforts include hosting teacher workshops for the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association, inviting Northeast Texas Field Ornithologist to monitor bird response, and working with UT Tyler on habitat preferences of mussels in the Sabine River. By protecting of the Pine Tree Caddo Mound, the mine has enriched our understanding of this important archeological site. Currently, they are working with TPWD to implement rotational shredding, strip disking, and woody cover establishment to enhance habitat for bobwhite quail.
Special Recognition - Education and Outreach - Cactus Creek Ranch, Cameron County
From restoring ocelot habitat or developing wetlands to organizing Ranchers for Wildlife, the Ocelot Conservation Festival, wildlife photo contests, and outdoor classrooms, Mary Jo Bogatto has done a lot for Texas wildlife. Her habitat work has been impressive - working with TNC to plant 20,000 native plants, restoring plant diversity and habitat for ocelots, Aplomado falcons, and Texas horned lizards. But her commitment as a conservation leader reaches far beyond her front gate. As president of the Laguna Atascosa NWR friends group, she played a key role in the acquisition of the 27,000 South Padre Island unit of the refuge. As a Master Naturalist, Hunter and Junior Angler Instructor, and hunting/fishing guide, Mary Jo is a model of how to motivate people of all ages for conservation of wildlife and habitats.
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