TPW Magazine July Issue Dives Into Gulf of Mexico

Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453,

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AUSTIN, Texas — As an ecosystem, the Gulf of Mexico functions on a global scale. At more than 579,000 square miles, it’s the ninth largest body of water in the world. The July issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine offers an in-depth exploration of the gulf from a number of angles.

With floodwaters from the Midwest rushing toward the gulf via the Mississippi River, Wendee Holtcamp’s article, "Dead Zone," is particularly timely. Every summer, an area of oxygen-starved water forms at the mouth of the Mississippi, killing much of the region’s marine life. In the special issue, readers can find out how the ethanol boom threatens to exacerbate the problem.

Also in this special issue, former TPWD Coastal Fisheries Director Larry McKinney delves into the gulf’s dual roles as both an ecological and economic powerhouse in "The State of the Gulf of Mexico." Commercial gulf fisheries annually yield over 1.5 billon pounds. Shrimp are the predominant species and can account for 68 percent of total U.S. landings. Oyster production can exceed 24 million pounds and account for 70 percent of U.S. total landings. Recreational fishing is a significant economic engine — more than 45 percent of all saltwater anglers fish in gulf waters.

Joe Nick Patoski writes about "The Big Laguna," describing how the long, shallow and pristine Laguna Madre serves as the lifeblood of the gulf. Melissa Gaskill pens "Gardens of the Gulf," which details the wonders of the annual mass coral spawing event at the Flower Garden Banks coral reef. Larry Bozka contributes "Underwater Oasis," a look at the role oil rigs and sunken ships play as artificial reefs for fish and other marine animals. In "Hidden Giants," Elaine Robbins writes about the gulf’s largest residents: sperm whales. Eileen Mattei’s "Fishing for Dollars" examines the gulf’s commercial fisheries. And in a nod to the gulf’s fun side, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers contributes "10 Best Beaches," describing the prime spots for birdwatching, fishing, camping or simply escaping from civilization.

The special issue is the seventh in an award-winning annual series of July issues covering water resource challenges facing Texas. The first special water issue, titled The State of Water, debuted in 2002. This set the stage for the series, which has covered a broad range of topics about springs, rivers, aquifers and bays. It also launched a multi-year, multi-media communication effort of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department under the name Texas: The State of Water.

Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine has a tradition of award-winning quality. The 2005 and 2006 July issues won top prizes for theme issues from the International Regional Magazine Association. The "State of Wetlands" and "State of Springs" special issues garnered a total of 11 top awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Western Publications Association.

An annual subscription to the magazine costs $19.95. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393. For information on retail magazine sales, contact Deborah Follien at or (512) 389-8702. Learn more about the magazine or subscribe online via the magazine Web site (