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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-01-03                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Mike Cox, 512-389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 3, 2012
Feedback sought on proposed invasive species regulations
AUSTIN - Texas Parks and Wildlife will be hosting two scoping meetings in North Texas this month to get public feedback on a pair of proposed new regulations aimed at preventing the spread of exotic aquatic species in the state.
TPWD Inland Fisheries Division staff will be briefing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Jan. 25 meeting on two proposed regulations to combat zebra mussels along with silver and bighead carp. As it stands, these species are present in Texas in limited numbers or are confined to a few locations.
The meetings have been set for 7 p.m. on Monday, January 16 in the auditorium at the Denison Senior Center (531 West Chestnut) and at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17 in Jefferson at the Jefferson Visitor Center (305 E. Austin).
Zebra mussels are known to have caused alarming declines in populations of fish, birds and native mussel species and can damage boat hulls, plug water systems used in boat motors, air conditioners and heads. Millions of dollars are spent each year controlling, cleaning and monitoring zebra mussels in other states. The introduction of Asian carps, such as bighead and silver carp, have the potential to cause enormous damage to native species because these species feed on plankton required by larval fish and native mussels. They are a potential competitor with some native fishes such as gizzard and threadfin shad that also rely on plankton for food.
Although possession and transport of these species is already prohibited, TPWD biologists believe additional regulations are needed to prevent the accidental or incidental movement of these species from one waterbody to another.
The first proposed regulation would prohibit persons from leaving specified water bodies in the possession of live, nongame fish. This would prevent the accidental capture and movement of silver and bighead carp during bait-collecting activities for other nongame fish, especially gizzard or threadfin shad. These species can be easily misidentified at smaller sizes and within a large quantity of fish. Collection and use of nongame fishes for bait on those water bodies would still be legal.
The second proposal would impact water bodies where zebra mussels have been found or have a high potential of occurrence.
Zebra mussels have a free-swimming, microscopic larval stage called a veliger. Any water collected from water bodies where zebra mussels are present could contain veligers. To prevent the accidental transport of zebra mussel veligers to other water bodies, any person leaving the specified water bodies would be required to drain or empty all water from bait buckets, live wells, bilges, and any other water intake systems or containers before the use of a public roadway.
If a person follows these procedures, they would be deemed to be in compliance with the rules against possession of prohibited species that are not visible to the unaided eye. A person traveling on a public roadway via the most direct route to another access point located on the same body of water would not be required to drain or empty water. These procedures do not exempt persons from complying with prohibitions against transporting prohibited species that are visible such as adult zebra mussels or aquatic plants such as giant salvinia.
The water bodies where the prohibition against transport of live, non-game fishes would be in effect are: the Red River below Lake Texoma, Big Cypress Bayou downstream of Ferrell's Bridge Dam on Lake O' the Pines including the Texas waters of Caddo Lake, and the Sulphur River downstream of the Lake Wright Patman dam. The water bodies where restrictions on draining water would be in effect are: Lake Texoma, Red River above and below Lake Texoma, and Lake Lavon.
For additional information on the proposed regulations, please contact Ken Kurzawski at (512) 389-4591, e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov.
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, (903) 670-2238, zoeann.stinchcomb@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 3, 2012
Time to Begin Work on Texas State-Fish Art Contest Entries
Contest expands to include grades K--3, essays and invasive species
ATHENS--Student artists across Texas in grades K -- 12 take notice: It's time to start preparing your entries for the 2012 Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.
The contest is open to all students in public, private or home schools. Entry deadline is March 31 each year.
Major changes in the contest for 2012 include: change in the permissible size of artwork to include works 8.5 inches by 11 inches or 9 inches by 12 inches; creation of a K--3 grade level division for artwork only; addition of a national prize for best essays in grade level divisions 4--6, 7--9 and 10--12; and a new category with one national winner for best artwork and essay about an invasive species.
Contest rules, guidelines, entry information and details about the contest changes can be found at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishart.
Support for the Texas division of the contest is provided by the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, which makes it possible for the top three Texas entries in each grade level to win cash prizes. First place in grades 10--12 wins $1,000; second place $750; third place $500. Prizes in the 4--6 and 7--9 grade levels are $100 for first; $75 for second; $50 for third.
Additional support for the contest is provided by Strike King Lures, the William E. Armentrout Foundation and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
One outstanding piece of artwork each year is selected for the Art of Conservation Award, and a commemorative stamp featuring the artwork is produced for sale. Proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to fund conservation projects.
Educators who wish to have their students enter the contest can download the free "State-Fish Art Contest Lesson Plan" at http://www.statefishart.com. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes lessons and activities, a species identification section profiling each state fish, a glossary and student worksheets.
Located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Wildlife Forever is a non-profit multi-species conservation organization dedicated to conserving America's wildlife heritage. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to "on-the-ground" efforts. Wildlife Forever supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research and management of fish and wildlife populations.
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Larry Hodge, (903) 670-2255; larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov. Vendor Contact: Jim Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 3, 2012
Learn to Fly-fish March 10 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
Exhibitors and vendors should sign up now
ATHENS--Expert fly-fishers and those wanting to learn the sport will gather at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens March 10 for a day of teaching, learning and fishing.
Instruction in all aspects of fly-fishing from fly-tying to casting to equipment selection to choosing a destination will be provided by expert fly-fishers. All necessary equipment will be provided, and all activities are free with paid admission to TFFC.
Vendors interested in selling at the event should contact Jim Booker at (903) 670-2266, james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov.
TFFC is located 75 miles southeast of Dallas at 5550 F.M. 2495, Athens.
For more information or directions visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc or call (903) 676-2277.
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[ Note: This item is more than two years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Andrew Sipocz, TPWD, (281) 456-8266, ext. 229, or Andrew.sipocz@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Jan. 3, 2012
Native Prairie Seed Harvested from Houston Area Parks for San Jacinto Battleground
LA PORTE -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will soon be restoring 110 acres of tall-grass prairie at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site with the help of League City's Parks Department, University of Houston's Coastal Center, the Native American Seed Company, Shell Refining and the San Jacinto Battlegrounds Conservancy.
While much of the park retains the same tall grasses that helped hide the Texian army as it approached Mexican Gen. Santa Anna's encampment during the Texas Revolution, portions of the historic battleground have become overgrown with a canopy of alien Chinese tallow trees. A large area of the battleground has been cleared of this invasive tree imported from Asia and is now ready to be seeded with native grasses and wildflowers.
Since very few areas of Texas today retain native prairie consisting of a landscape rich in plant diversity because of loss of habitat caused by farming, overgrazing and development. TPWD had been having a difficult time finding the coastal region type of prairie plants that once grew across the battleground. In addition, the site's existing prairie was too small and patchy for a successful harvest.
Fortunately, League City's Benoit Prairie Park holds 44 acres of one of the highest quality remnant prairies left on the Gulf Coast. Likewise, U of H's Galveston County coastal property contains roughly 100 acres of prairie grasses. TPWD worked out an agreement that allows Junction's Native American Seed Company to harvest native grass and wildflower seed from their prairies to use to reseed 110 acres of the San Jacinto Battleground late this winter or early next spring.
The work is being accomplished with the same type of combines most farmers use, but the machines have been modified to harvest the especially diverse and fluffy native plant seeds. The combine work is similar to mowing the prairie; a practice now done annually at the prairie parks, except that the cut portion of the plants is retained and the attached seed is collected. This material is then brought back to Native American Seed's facility where it is cleaned and tested for viability.
The diverse species harvested so far include such beautiful plants as blue mist flower, purple gay feather, switchgrass, little bluestem, Indian grass and Texas coneflower. More than a hundred different types of seed will be collected in all and planted into the restored battleground by Native American Seed once the ground becomes dry enough this winter or early spring.
This project emphasizes the importance of the conservation work League City and Harris County have been doing to retain portions of Texas' native landscape. Native American Seed specializes in conducting large-scale conservancy seed harvests on Texas' last great prairie remnants. This seed is not available elsewhere and the San Jacinto Battleground restoration would not be possible without it. These preserved coastal tall-grass prairie parks not only provide beautiful and historic landscapes, but also provide a home for such prairie-dependent wildlife as marsh hawks and meadow larks.
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