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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-02-28                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than a year 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]
Feb. 28, 2013
Meadows Foundation Awards $150,000 Grant to Restore Fire-Ravaged Bastrop State Park
DALLAS -- Almost two years after a devastating wildfire, signs of new life and activity are springing up once again at Bastrop State Park, thanks in part to the generosity of donors like The Meadows Foundation, which recently awarded the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation a $150,000 grant to help restore the fire-ravaged park.
The September 2011 wildfires caused widespread destruction and consumed 34,000 acres, including 96 percent (6,381 acres) of Bastrop State Park. The park, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most popular state parks in Texas with an estimated 150,000 visitors annually, suffered catastrophic damage.
The Meadows Foundation grant is part of a total $2 million in federal and private funds raised to restore Bastrop State Park. The grant will be used to control erosion, reconstruct historic structures, and rehabilitate campgrounds and hiking trails. This new grant follows an initial $100,000 gift provided by The Meadows Foundation immediately after the fire.
"We are truly fortunate to have partners like The Meadows Foundation who care deeply about natural treasures like Bastrop State Park," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. "Our agency couldn't have undertaken a task like this alone, and we applaud their continued commitment to rejuvenating Bastrop State Park so that future generations can enjoy the unique habitats, biological diversity, and visitor amenities of this beloved park."
Grant funding provided by the Meadows Foundation will support the following projects and activities:
--Reconstruction of two historic Civilian Conservation Corps bridges lost in the fire.
--Rerouting a four mile stretch of the popular Lost Pines Hiking Trail and mitigating erosion through construction of check steps and water bars.
--Reconstruction of 10 primitive campsites destroyed by the fire.
--Supporting American YouthWorks conservation teams who are playing an essential role in reconstruction efforts and volunteer management at the park. American YouthWorks is an Austin-based organization dedicated to empowering at-risk youth through education, service and green jobs training.
--Promoting volunteer efforts for installation of straw logs for erosion control on steep hillsides.
The Meadows Foundation is a private philanthropic institution based in Dallas and established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows to benefit the people of Texas. The Foundation has enriched the lives of countless Texas in the areas of arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health, and human services and has also developed current grant making initiatives in support of public education, mental health and the natural environment. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed in excess of $760 million in grants and direct charitable expenditures to over 3,000 Texas institutions and agencies. For additional information, visit http://www.mfi.org
Founded in 1991, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is the non-profit funding partner of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Foundation's mission is to provide private support to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and help fulfil the department mission to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Foundation also plays an essential role in conservation education, with scholarship opportunities, internships, and family outdoor activities. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $80 million for Texas conservation and education projects. For additional information, visit http://www.tpwf.org/.
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[ Note: This item is more than a year 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; Bryan Frazier, TPWD (512) 826-8703, or bryan.frazier@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 28, 2013
Photography Takes Center Stage at Texas State Parks This March
AUSTIN - Channel your inner Ansel Adams or Wyman Meinzer this spring by heading to one of more than 90 Texas state parks and historic sites to photograph your friends and loved ones, wildflowers, wildlife and revered state landmarks. Snap away just for fun or record your best images to enter in the Texas State Parks Photo Contest.
Whether you capture the look on your child's face after she catches her first fish, a mountain-top sunset, a roadrunner, the majesty of such historic icons as the San Jacinto Monument or a 19th century frontier fort, you'll be creating life-long memories of the fun you had exploring Texas' natural and cultural treasures.
Adams was a renowned 20th century environmentalist and photographer best known for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West. Meinzer is the official State Photographer of Texas whose images capture the essence of the Lone Star State.
The Texas State Parks Photo Contest on Flickr will run between March 1 and April 30. Photographers could win any number of prizes, including a video camera courtesy of Whole Earth Provision Company, a weekend excursion in the Texas state park of your choice or a campout for up to six people in one of the many Texas Outdoor Family workshops.
To enter, go to www.texasstateparks.org/photography and follow the links to the contest. Sign into Flickr (Yahoo), or for entrants who prefer to sign in with an existing Google account or Facebook account, there's a way to do that, too. Select "Join This Group" to be added to "Texas State Parks Photo 2013 Contest," then upload your entries. Be sure to tag the state park where the photo was taken.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo contest is open to all photographers 18 years of age and older, except TPWD employees and their immediate family. Winners will be contacted on or about May 15 through their Flickr accounts. For complete contest rules, visit: http://www.flickr.com/groups/2194533@N22/.
Whether you plan to enter the contest or not, Texas' state parks represent ideal locations for viewing and photographing some of the state's most remarkable scenery, flowers, wildlife and landmarks. For tips on where to find the best photo opportunities in state parks and more, visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/photography. And to find out "where the wild things are," such as foxes, woodpeckers, prairie dogs and dolphins, visit: www.texasstateparks.org/wildlifeviewing .
For a complete park list, visit: www.texasstateparks.org.
Some Texas state parks have scheduled photography events this spring and summer, including Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, which will host workshops on April 14 and May 12.
For state park wildlife images, please visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/?g=oam_nature_photography
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On the Net:
http://www.texasstateparks.org/photography
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/parks/things-to-do/wildlife-watching
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[ Note: This item is more than a year 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]
Feb. 28, 2013
Texas White Bass, Other Fisheries Threatened by Drought
ATHENS--Puxatawney Phil may herald the onset of spring for folks in the Northeast, but for Texans there is another signal: The beginning of the annual white bass run upstream from reservoirs into rivers.
You'll know when the white bass run is on by the pink blooms on redbud trees and the cars and trucks lining the roadsides at river crossings. When the redbuds bloom the white bass run, and anglers flock to rivers above reservoirs to harvest their share of the bounty. At Lake Buchanan, for example, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) surveys show that the white bass run accounted for about half the lake's total directed fishing effort in spring 2011, and almost all of that was in the river upstream of the reservoir.
The generous 25-fish per day limit on white bass makes them an important food item for many anglers, but there's an economic impact on the community as well. At Lake Buchanan, anglers spent about $2.5 million on white bass fishing trips between March and May 2011, and nearly $1 million of that came from anglers from outside the area.
What draws people to riverbanks on chilly spring days is more than the chance to catch fish. The white bass run is an annual tradition for many Texans. It's a sign of renewal and hope, an opportunity for an outing with family or friends, a source of treasured memories about the big one that didn't get away. It's a perfect example of the adage that when we go fishing, it's not just fish we seek.
Drought conditions threaten the Texas white bass fishery in a number of ways. If a reservoir drops so low that connection to the river is lost, the fish won't be able to swim upstream where they are more vulnerable to angling. Water access for both boaters and bank anglers may be reduced or lost. More importantly, the fish may not be able to spawn, reducing the numbers of fish available. If drought conditions continue for years, the white bass fishery may decline to the point anglers lose interest. This can result in a significant loss to local economies.
"Many Texas reservoirs, including several in Central Texas, currently provide excellent white bass runs," said Dave Terre, chief of management and research for TPWD's Inland Fisheries Division. "Changing climate and increased water demands increase the chance that we will lose the connection between rivers and reservoirs necessary to sustain white bass populations unless we take this important fishery into account when making decisions about water management and reservoir operations."
Terre also pointed out that the connections between rivers and reservoirs are important not just for white bass but also for a number of other species, including catfish and non-game species.
"We stand to lose these important fisheries if connectivity is not maintained," he said. "As our reservoirs get older and suffer from siltation and degradation of fish habitat, drought conditions will exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately there is no easy or quick fix. Solving these problems will take cooperation between the agencies managing the reservoirs and the fisheries with support from the public. Water could be managed in such a way as to maintain connectivity. Physical improvements could be made in river-to-reservoir transition zones. Watershed management practices could be used to decrease siltation rates. And water conservation measures are always helpful in maintaining reservoir levels."
Texas is part of a national movement to address the multiple problems facing reservoirs. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and the Friends of Reservoirs Foundation were established to coordinate efforts, generate public support and facilitate funding.
"TPWD has launched studies to demonstrate the importance of maintaining river-to-reservoir transition zones from biological, recreational and economic standpoints, "Terre said. "We are working with the public, other agencies and grass-roots partners who support fish habitat improvements in our reservoir systems."
For more information on the issues facing reservoirs and how you can help, visit http://www.waterhabitatlife.org.
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On the Net:
http://www.waterhabitatlife.org
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