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TPWD News Release — Oct. 17, 2005

Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center To Close for Repairs

ATHENS, Texas–The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center will be closed for repairs Nov. 28, 2005, through Jan. 2, 2006.

“This will be the first time in the nine years the center has been open that we will be closed to the public for an extended period of time,” said TFFC director Allen Forshage.

The primary purpose for the closure is to allow repairs to be made to the foundation beneath the dive tank, a 26,000-gallon aquarium that houses Splash, the 121.5-pound 20-pound test line world record blue catfish, as well as several Budweiser ShareLunker largemouth bass and other fish.

The 200,000 pounds of water in the tank have caused some settling to occur, putting stress on piping, walls and possibly the 5.5-inch acrylic viewing panel that makes up the front of the aquarium. Holes will be drilled into the foundation and grout pumped in to fill any voids and stabilize the slab. The work will require that the water be drained from the dive tank and all other contents removed.

Fish in the tank will be temporarily relocated to holding tanks in other parts of the facility. Stocking of rainbow trout in the casting pond will be delayed until the center reopens to visitors. Operation of the rest of the facility, including the administrative offices, the fish hatchery and the Lunker Bunker where Budweiser ShareLunkers are housed, will not be affected.

“Because the contractor will have to use the parking lot and public walkways to move equipment and personnel, we must close the center to protect the safety of the public,” Forshage said. “While we are closed to visitation, TFFC staff will be making other needed repairs as well as doing some major cleaning. We regret the inconvenience the closing will cause, but we feel we will be better able to serve our visitors once we reopen.”

Forshage encourages anyone who has been planning to visit TFFC during the holiday season to do so before the temporary closure.

Repair work on the dive tank will be carried out under the supervision of Freese and Nichols, Inc., of Fort Worth, the consulting engineers on the construction of the center.