|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-06-21                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
June 21, 2004
50th Game Warden Cadet Class Graduates
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 50th Game Warden Cadet class graduated at the State Capitol June 17 and is now fanning out to their new duty stations across Texas.
Of the 36 cadets who graduated, 12 have conservation degrees, 13 have criminal justice degrees, two have conservation science degrees, and nine have other degrees. One is an entomologist, one worked Internet crimes in Texas and one was a Nevada Game Warden.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Robert L. Cook gave the keynote address.
"One of your most important goals should not be how many violators you apprehend and file on but how many folks learn from you the reason, the value, and the importance of conservation of our natural resources in Texas, so they become teachers and leaders in conservation," Cook said.
Randy Odom, chief of training at the academy, said "There is a need to fill the slots left by those who have retired (as a result of a statewide retirement incentive last August)."
The six-month academy brought the cadets from throughout the state to Austin where they lived until graduation. The academy included 1,200 hours of instruction -- including the 576-hour basic peace officer course. Game warden cadet training also includes hunting, fishing, and boating safety regulations, fish and wildlife identification, search and rescue and public speaking. The academy included field trips to ranches for training using mock scenarios and to lakes for instructions in boat operations.
The wardens also took 16 hours of Spanish as required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, which is the licensing agency for peace officers in the state.
Lt. Col. Pete Flores of the TPWD law enforcement division, who is bilingual, said, "The ability to speak a second language is a great tool in a profession that requires the warden to communicate with people of all cultures as they hunt and fish in our state. Spanish is our predominant second language in Texas and an officer that understands the language and the culture is more effective and safe due to the increased ability to communicate. The knowledge of the culture allows the warden to avoid confrontation by recognizing cultural issues that, left ignored, might lead to a potential misunderstanding."
For more information about becoming a game warden cadet, call (877) 229-2733 or visit the Web at (http://tpwd.texas.gov/involved/jobvac/gwcadet/).
Following is a list of the new wardens and the counties where they are assigned:
County, Name
--Brazos, Chad Jones
--Caldwell, Joann Garza
--Callahan, James Brown
--Comal, Billy Lucio
--Dallas, Gary Miller Jr.
--Denton, Christopher Daigle
--Ector/Crane, Justin Jackson
--Fayette, Erik Nygren
--Gaines, Stephen Urben
--Grimes, Jonathan Heaton
--Hardin, Timothy Elmore
--Harris, Kevin Mitchell
--Harrison, Jarrod Bryant
--Houston, Eric McCarstle
--Jasper, Phillip Wood
--Jeff Davis, James Porter
--Jefferson, Kirk Jenkins
--La Salle, Ryan Johnson
--Lampasas, Jeffery Hill
--Marion, Timothy Willeford
--Matagorda, Aaron Koenig
--Maverick, Oscar Jaimez
--Milam, Michael Mitchell
--Montague, Trent Herchman
--Newton, Michael O'Dwyer
--Newton, William Powell
--Panola, Jon Kassaw
--Pecos, Christopher Amthor
--Presidio, Anthony Todd
--Randall, Frank Niemiec
--San Patricio, Martin Garcia
--San Saba, Christopher Wilson
--Stonewall/Fisher, Justin Valchar
--Tyler, Bryan Baronet
--Wise, Curtis Sadler
--Zavala, Chris Stautzenberger

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
June 21, 2004
Buffalo Soldiers Share African-American Heritage
AUSTIN, Texas -- A unique and, until recently, seldom told part of Texas' frontier heritage will come to life this summer through living history encampments, African-American rodeos and other events staged by the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Program.
The Texas Buffalo Soldiers Summer Celebration kicked off Memorial Day weekend and will continue with annual Juneteenth programs and July "Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month" programs, including the "Buffalo Soldiers Capitol Salute" at Fort Lancaster State Historical Site and at Hemisfair Park in San Antonio.
The kickoff of the summer celebration also includes scholarship awards by Texas Buffalo Soldier units across the State. In Austin, the Co A-Camp Mabry Buffalo Soldiers Don Nesby/Talferd G. Collins Scholarship recipient is Ms. Christi Woolridge, of Taylor. The Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers makes annual financial donations to San Antonio's St Phillips Community College Deserving Student assistance scholarship fund, San Antonio's Ella Austin Community Center (Senior & Youth programs) and to the Eastside Boys & Girls club. Other units with scholarship programs include Vernon Buffalo Soldiers Trail riders of Vernon, Bear Creek Buffalo Soldiers Youth Organization of Irving.
Two new programs have been added to this summer's celebration. The Lone Star Leadership Academy summer youth educational series will be conducted bi-weekly from June to August. The Cochran County "Last Frontier Heritage Celebration" in Morton, is a Buffalo Soldier heritage tourism project that focuses on the 10th Cavalry, "Nolan's Lost Expedition." This three-day event includes a trip into New Mexico to tour Buffalo Soldier Hill.
In 1999, the Texas Legislature proclaimed July "Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month," making this the only state in the Union that recognizes the Buffalo Soldiers with a month-long celebration.
American Indians dubbed the African-American regiments "buffalo soldiers." Some say the Indians thought the soldiers' curly hair resembled the buffalo's sacred mane, while others believe the Indians were referring to the soldiers' fighting spirit.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department project, started by a former state parks regional maintenance specialist nine years ago, has blossomed into a statewide youth education and historical interpretation network involving non-department volunteers and partners in various cities. It grew from the idea of sharing pride around the story of African-American soldiers who helped tame the Texas frontier.
"I walked into Fort Griffin State Park and asked the park manager 'Why do you have all of these black folks' pictures on the wall?'" said Ken Pollard, who now heads the TPWD Community Services, Education and Outreach Program. He then met A.C. Jackson with the Soldiers in Blue Committee out of Abilene and the rest, as they say, is history.
The program's youth outreach focus has expanded to encompass Buffalo Soldiers, Hispanic Vaqueros, American Indians, Frontier Women and other cultural groups around during the 1800's. Pollard's program conducts ongoing cultural research, coordinates dozens of living history events for schools and youth groups across Texas each year and promotes the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Trail, which follows routes taken across Texas in the 1800's by military personnel and civilians. A network of local Buffalo Soldiers groups and community partners plays a key role in staging and producing living history encampments, trail rides and other events.
Buffalo Soldiers events are scheduled as follows:
--June 19: Juneteenth Parade & Buffalo Soldier Camp at Austin Juneteenth Celebration Co. Camp Mabry
--June 21, July 5, 19, Aug. 2: Lone Star Leadership Academy Youth Program at Mc Kinney Roughs Park, Bastrop
--July 10: Cowboys of Color Rodeo at Travis County Expo Center, Austin, 8 p.m.
San Antonio
--Events for Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month Celebration at Hemisfair Park, San Antonio:
--July 3: Buffalo Soldiers Living History & Heritage Organization celebrating "Frontier Women's Heritage"
--July 10: Buffalo Soldiers Living History & Heritage Organization celebrating "Tejano Heritage"
--July 17: Buffalo Soldiers Living History & Heritage Organization celebrating "Native American Heritage"
--July 24: Buffalo Soldiers Living History & Heritage Organization celebrating Texas' Buffalo Soldiers "Capitol Salute"
--July 31: Buffalo Soldiers Living History & Heritage Organization celebrating "Texas Heritage"
Other Events:
--July 30-31: "First Sgt Carl Durrah Memorial Youth Camp" Bexar County
--August 7: Cowboys of Color Rodeo at San Antonio
Lubbock/Western Panhandle
--June 25-27: Cochran County "Last Frontier Heritage Celebration" and "Buffalo Soldier Encampment" in Morton, Texas, at Cochran County Park, Morton Memorial Cemetery, Cochran County Activity Bldg., and Cochran County Park Pavilion
--July 24: Texas Buffalo Soldiers "Capitol Salute" at Fort Lancaster State Historical Site
Fort Worth
--Sept. 4: Cowboys of Color Rodeo at Will Rogers Coliseum, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
--Sept. 17-19: Wild West town, Native American villages, Western Cattle Trail and stagecoach lines come to life at Fort Griffin State Historical Site
For general information about Texas Buffalo Soldiers, go to (http://tpwd.texas.gov/learning/community_outreach_programs/buffalo_soldiers/).
To view the online version of the summer celebration schedule, go to (http://tpwd.texas.gov/learning/community_outreach_programs/buffalo_soldiers/calendar.phtml).
For more details about the summer schedule, the public may also phone Pollard at (512) 389-8569.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
June 21, 2004
Outbreak of Exotic Virus Hits South Texas Shrimp Farms
AUSTIN, Texas -- Four South Texas shrimp mariculture farms have been quarantined and are now prevented from discharging wastewater after tests confirmed that the exotic shrimp illness Taura Syndrome Virus killed shrimp at the facilities last week.
While the virus is not a threat to human health, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other authorities are concerned about what might happen to wild, native shrimp stocks if the illness broke out in public waters.
The Taura syndrome was first detected in Texas shrimp farms in 1995. In 1998, TPWD helped lead efforts to set new regulations for shrimp farm disease monitoring and response, working with the industry and other agencies. This includes sampling and testing shrimp from every pond on all Texas facilities regularly. In addition, the industry created "Best Management Practices" in the late 1990s and began to use disease-resistant shrimp that significantly reduced the occurrence of disease.
Shrimp farm operators are cooperating fully with authorities to contain the current outbreak. TPWD is monitoring the current situation closely, working with federal authorities and the industry.
"The Department's inspection program is operating just as anticipated and the farms in question are cooperating fully with us," noted Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and coastal fisheries director at TPWD. "Our staff are monitoring the current situation closely and responding in a manner to protect the natural resources of the State of Texas."
Texas shrimp farms are some of the largest in the country, with some five times more production acres than the second ranked state, South Carolina. Shrimp farmers prefer exotic species to natives because they do better in mariculture settings.
Exotic shrimp species can bring exotic diseases with them, but to prevent that from happening Texas shrimp farmers are required to stock their ponds with certified disease-free seed shrimp. Disease outbreaks are a primary concern for farm operators because they have the potential to wipe out an entire crop of shrimp. Previous episodes have caused economic hardship for operators, but no observable impacts were detected in wild stocks.
However, because these shrimp farms are located in coastal areas and there is the potential for disease transmission by birds, escapement, and other vectors there is concern that these diseases might affect native species.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
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 susanne.harm@tpwd.texas.gov or (512) 912-7006. Learn more about the magazine or subscribe via the Internet (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [NT]
June 21, 2004
TPWD and Brenham ISD "Parkner" Up For Camp Yes
AUSTIN, Texas-- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Brenham Independent School District have teamed up to give local children the opportunity get off the couch this summer and learn about nature in the great outdoors. This partnership has been made possible through a grant from TPWD Community Outdoor Outreach Program, administered by the State Parks Recreation Grants program.
Camp YES (Youth Exploring Stewardship) will consist of more than 120 Brenham Day Campers ages 8-12. The campers are from both Brenham Community Education's Kids Kountry and the Washington County Boys and Girls Club. These students will visit five state parks in two one-week programs that explore site-specific resource stewardship.
Camp YES will take place at state parks Monday through Thursday June 28 -- July 1 and July 9 -- 22. State Parks to be visited include Lake Somerville-Birch Creek State Park, Lake Somerville-Nails Creek State Park, Bastrop State Park, Barrington Living History Farm, at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, and Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site. Daily activities include fishing, canoeing, hiking and learning about ecology, wildlife management, and stewardship.
The state park visits are more than recreational outings. TPWD has worked with curriculum specialists from Brenham ISD to make sure that programs like Camp YES will help students fulfill Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) criteria. TEKS requires that students demonstrate an understanding of the nature of science by conducting field and laboratory investigations with environmentally appropriate and ethical practices. Since there is currently no outdoor laboratory available to fulfill this requirement, the Texas state parks have established "parknerships" to serve as outdoor classrooms. All of the planned activities in the state parks are based on TEKS components tested in science courses.
An awards ceremony at the conclusion of each of the camps will be held at Lake Somerville-Nails Creek State Park at 12:30 p.m. on July 1 and July 22.
During the visits to the state parks, each student will keep a journal for recording field observations and taking notes. On Friday at the end of each camp week, the students will head to Brenham to review their journals and discuss stewardship.
In addition to participating in Camp YES, Lake Somerville-Birch Creek State Park and Lake Somerville-Nails Creek State Park units will also serve as an outdoor laboratory for all 5th-grade and 6th-grade students in Brenham ISD throughout the 2004-05 school year.
Other partners for these programs include Texas Forest Service, Blinn College, Texas Master Naturalists and REI.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
June 21, 2004
Don't Be Left High and Dry on Your First Boat Trip of the Season
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens have seen a lot of boaters try and go out for their first run of the season and for one reason or another, fail to make a successful trip.
Either they back their truck right into the water, they forget to put fresh gasoline in the boat, forget to put the plug in the boat or a whole host of other 'slip'-ups. Some say boat docks at the end of May and beginning of June bring a whole new meaning to the phrase, "comedy of errors."
But the ramifications of taking out a non-seaworthy boat are no laughing matter. Wardens say there are steps each boater should go through before taking their craft out for the first time this year.
Before You Go
--Find out if you can get emergency assistance by calling 911. In some areas in Texas, you cannot and must call the local sheriff. You can find this out by stopping at a gas station or bait shop before you take off.
--Make sure you have fresh gas in your boat's tank. Gas that has been sitting in boat tanks all year is probably congealed and will clog up your engine, causing it to stall.
--Have enough life jackets on board for all passengers and ensure all passengers younger than 13 years old are wearing them while underway.
--Check the steering cable. Do this by making sure the steering wheel moves the motor from side to side.
--Check the kill switch. Make sure the engine turns off when it's pulled. Then use it.
--Check the bearings on the trailer to make sure they're greased up enough.
--Make sure the lights work on the boat and the trailer.
--Make sure the fire extinguisher is fully charged and that all passengers know where it is.
--Check the weather. Plan to be back in before a storm hits. (If caught on the water during a storm, get to the nearest bank.)
--Make sure to put the plug in the boat.
--Set the parking brake on the vehicle towing the boat.
--Unhook trailer lights from the truck.
--Take the strap off the boat so the trailer doesn't float up.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
June 21, 2004
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on about 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of June 21-25, Bass fishermen can now proclaim their love of the sport...on their boat trailers. Plus, we'll introduce you to a man who really likes to hike, and we're not just talking a walk in the park.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. The episode that airs the week of June 20-27, Sport fishing on the Texas coast; the spirit of Hueco Tanks; boating safety checks; preserving the hardwoods of East Texas; and panhandle prairie dogs.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv).
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online (http://www.tpwmagazine.com).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
June 21, 2004
Seven Sites in Running for New Texas Fish Hatchery
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has received proposals from seven entities vying to be the site of a new freshwater fish hatchery for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Proposals were received from San Augustine County, Jasper County, the South Sulphur River Development Association, the Newton First Committee, Tyler County and the City of Woodville, the Sabine River Authority and Dow Chemical Company.
"We are extremely pleased with the level of interest shown by these communities and organizations in having the new hatchery located in their area," said Rob Alberts, Foundation executive director.
"Freshwater fish hatcheries help maintain the quality of fishing that anglers expect and fisheries managers need in Texas," said Phil Durocher, TPWD inland fisheries director.
Durocher noted that fishing is a vital part of the Texas economy. Freshwater anglers in Texas generated $1.49 billion in retail sales in 2001 based on data collected by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. This angling activity generated $733 million in wages and salaries annually.
The hatchery proposals will be evaluated on technical merit and value-added criteria to provide anglers with the most value for the monies spent. Independent consultants will be utilized to fairly evaluate the proposals.
"We hope to provide the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission with a site recommendation by late summer or early fall," said Alberts. A final decision is likely by the end of the year.
The new hatchery will replace the present Jasper Fish Hatchery, which was opened in 1932 and has had no major renovation or modernization since. Funds for the new hatchery and for improvements at other hatcheries in the TPWD system will come from a new $5 freshwater fishing stamp that will be required beginning Sept.1, and from local support.
Information on sponsorship opportunities may be obtained from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (formerly the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas) at (214) 720-1478.