TPWD Print-Friendly Page:

Media Contact: TPWD News,, 512-389-8030 [TH]

TPWD Website:

TPWD News Release — June 21, 2004

Magazine July Issue Plumbs Depths of Texas Rivers

AUSTIN, Texas — A special issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine titled The State of Rivers will hit newsstands and reader mailboxes late this month, the third in an award-winning annual series of July issues covering water resource challenges facing all regions of the state.

"Water is the single most important factor for the future of people and wildlife in Texas, period," said Robert L. Cook, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. "Water is a finite resource that will only get stretched farther as our human population expands. There is still time now to plan for a future with enough water for people and wildlife."

The first special water issue, titled The State of Water, debuted in July 2002. At 116 pages, it was the largest issue in the magazine’s history. This set the stage for the series, introducing 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. This effort enlists some of the state’s finest writers, photographers and broadcast producers to inform the public about water as a defining resource for Texas’ economic and ecological future.

The State of Bays special issue came next in July 2003, covering freshwater inflows into Texas bays and profiling Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay, San Antonio Bay, Nueces Bay and Laguna Madre.

In the July 2004 issue, Gary Cartwright explores the uses and abuses of the Trinity River. Joe Nick Patoski celebrates the recreational uses of the Guadalupe and the threats to its future. Veteran environmental reporter Bill Dawson of Houston explains the threats to hardwood bottomlands that are vital to the lives of millions of migratory birds. Biologist Wendee Holtcamp writes about the specialized adaptations of river creatures. Dallas reporter John H. Ostdick explores the origins of the Brazos River in West Texas. And E. Dan Klepper of Marathon offers a personal essay on the Rio Grande. Agency experts Larry McKinney and Kevin Mays explain the latest science and policy on rivers.

"Rivers are important ecosystems in their own right and they are a vital link between the land and the sea," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D., TPWD coastal fisheries director.

"We would hope everyone understands the basic point that a river must have water to keep it flowing; magazine issues like this one help show the choices and decisions needed to make that happen. They also illustrate the less obvious concept that what happens at one end of the state affects the other end, especially how activity at the upper end of inland watersheds can affect our coastal estuaries."

Texas has 191,000 miles of rivers and streams in 15 major river systems, which serve watershed ecosystems the way veins and arteries sustain the human body. Rivers provide invaluable water supplies, energy to drive the state economy, settings for recreation, and are an age-old means of transportation.

The 15 major river basins in Texas provide crucial freshwater inflows to coastal estuaries. These rivers and their many tributaries transport life-giving nutrients to the coast. Estuaries, where river freshwater meets saltwater, are ecologically and economically important because they are the breeding grounds for shrimp, crabs, and many of the fish species that form the foundation of multi-billion dollar sport and commercial fisheries. Without adequate freshwater inflows, estuaries become too saline to support these important species.

TPWD magazine has a tradition of award-winning quality. The 2002 July issue, The State of Water, won top prizes for thematic issues from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Western Publishers Association as well as best magazine from the Press Club of Dallas. In 2003, the magazine won 23 national awards for writing, photography and design. In 2004, it won three more gold awards from the Western Publishing Association, including best consumer magazine, best black and white layout and best cover.

Texas Parks & Wildlife has a paid circulation of 107,813. An annual subscription costs $19.95. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393. For information on retail magazine sales, contact Susanne Harm at or (512) 912-7006. Learn more about the magazine or subscribe via the Internet (