Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush Recognizes Texas Game Warden with OSPRA Award

Katy Schaffer, 512-389-8046, katy.schaffer@tpwd.texas.gov

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AUSTIN – At Thursday’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting, Texas General Land Office Land Commissioner George P. Bush presented the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Award to Game Warden Sgt. Robert Waggett.

The award is presented to those who go above and beyond to help prevent oil spills and help keep Texas coasts clean.

“OSPRA Award recipients exemplify how industry and regulatory agencies can work together to protect our environment,” Bush said. “They are best in class, going above and beyond to protect and preserve the Texas coast.”

Along with Galveston County officials, Waggett developed and coordinated the state’s first ever Vessel Turn In Program, which provides a no-cost way to dispose of inoperable boats and to round up abandoned vessels. The program, which is a collaboration between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the General Land Office and Galveston County, prevents abandoned vessels from littering public waters.

The Vessel Turn In Program saves the state tens of thousands of dollars. While the program costs $6,000 to operate, it is estimated that costs to collect abandoned boats would have exceeded $95,000 without the program.

Waggett has served with TPWD for more than 20 years, working to preserve Texas’ unique environments. In 2013, Waggett was named the state’s Environmental Investigator of the Year by the Texas Environmental Law Enforcement Association for working numerous investigations of major environmental polluters.

Since 1998, the Texas General Land Office has recognized small and large organizations with the annual OSPRA Awards for their exceptional contribution to protecting and preserving Texas’ fragile coast.

For more information on the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program, visit the Texas General Land Office’s website.