|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-07-26                                    |
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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 ] [NT]
July 26, 2004
Texas Master Naturalist Program Spreads Nationwide
AUSTIN, Texas--Approximately 30 states are interested in developing citizen volunteer training projects using the Texas Master Naturalist program as a framework, according to a new coordinator hired by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help spread the movement nationwide.
Master Naturalists are volunteers who receive training in natural sciences and, in return, assist state wildlife agencies with conservation projects. Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and West Virginia already have active Master Naturalist programs. Michigan and Missouri have created a new program based on the Texas Master Naturalist program.
TPWD, in partnership with Texas Cooperative Extension, started the nation's first statewide Master Naturalist program in 1998. Today, there are 28 established chapters across the state comprising about 2,500 trained volunteers.
Since inception, Texas Master Naturalist volunteers have provided more than 164,000 hours of service valued at more than $2.7 million. Volunteer efforts have enhanced 29,450 acres of wildlife and native plant habitats.
Volunteers receive in-depth training in wildlife and natural resource management taught by recognized experts in the field and customized to focus on the native ecosystems of their home region. In return, volunteers provide volunteer community service through educational activities, projects, or demonstrations. For example, some volunteers serve on a speaker's bureau to make presentations to community organizations or introduce children to local plants, insects, and animals through after-school projects. Others serve as a guide at a local nature center, or might build trails or exhibits at a local park.
Anna Toness was hired by TPWD in October of 2003 as the national Master Naturalist program coordinator as part of a multi-state partnership. The program is being funded by federal money from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency's multi-state conservation grant program.
"The goal of this project is to involve state wildlife agencies in the creation of a national network made up of at least 20 states that have Master Naturalist volunteer and training programs, in order to produce a corps of educated volunteers who help partner state agencies accomplish more conservation and greater outreach throughout the United States," Toness said.
Texas has been leading this effort and it will benefit TPWD through improved networking, learning and sharing with other state agencies about how to improve conservation efforts through communication and outreach.
Missouri was the first state to call and express interest in moving forward in developing a program. Toness says that since then, some 30 other states have contacted her wanting to learn more about the program. Interested states were invited to attend a training workshop in February, where the Texas program was used as a framework for developing programs appropriate for other states.
Toness said nationwide expansion of the program taps into the growth in volunteerism and increased interest among citizens, including retirees, in learning about the natural environment.
"Whether it is in education, outreach, maintaining trails, or interpretation, people are interested in taking personal action to help people appreciate and protect our natural world," Toness said.
Toness added that any person who has an interest in natural resources and has the time to volunteer would be an ideal candidate for the Master Naturalist program. The curriculum covers wildlife, geology, weather, climate, soils, wetlands, woodlot management, conservation management and natural resource management.
For more information about the Texas Master Naturalist program or to find a chapter in your area, visit the Web (http://masternaturalist.tamu.edu/). To learn more about the national workshops, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/nature/volunteer/txmasnat/workshop/).

[ 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]
July 26, 2004
Dove Symposia To Be Held in Three Texas Cities
AUSTIN, Texas-Hunters and landowners can learn the best ways to set up a dove field and stay within baiting laws, plus hear the latest news about Texas dove research and management plans during a series of dove symposia scheduled in three Texas cities in August.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is co-sponsoring the two-day workshops with the Texas Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Wildlife Association, Houston Chapter of Dove Sportsmen's Society and Texas A&M University's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.
Attendees will get first-hand information from TPWD's law enforcement director, Col. James M. Stinebaugh, about staying legal with dove baiting regulations. Stinebaugh is also a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent with years of law enforcement experience working dove fields.
Also on the agenda will be presentations geared toward managing habitat for dove, understanding liability issues, effective marketing techniques and the economics of dove hunting in Texas.
Some of the state's premier biologists, academicians and researchers will provide insight into dove ecology, share findings from the latest dove research projects and discuss the future of dove hunting. Among the notable presenters will be Ron George, TPWD Wildlife Division's deputy director, and Nova Silvy, regents professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Texas A&M University. George is a leading authority on upland bird ecology with more than 30 years of experience as a wildlife researcher and biologist. Silvy is considered the nation's leading authority on the Attwater's prairie chicken and last year's recipient of The Wildlife Society's Aldo Leopold Award.
The following is a list of dates and cities in which the symposia will occur:
--Wichita Falls -- Aug. 12-13
--Coleman -- Aug. 19-20
--Uvalde -- Aug. 26-27
The cost for registration before Aug. 1 is $40, and $60 thereafter.
For more information and to register, visit the Web (http://www.peopleware.net/1542).

[ 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]
July 26, 2004
Project Creates First Artificial Reef of Concrete Poles
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Dozens of concrete power line poles were deployed July 22 in the Gulf of Mexico about 30 nautical miles east of here, marking the first time concrete poles have been used to create an artificial reef near Texas.
American Electric Power donated the 152 hollow concrete power poles to the Texas Artificial Reef Program administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. AEP and the City of Corpus Christi allowed storage of the poles on city property until TPWD was able to budget and plan the project.
The poles range in length from 10-40 feet and represent a total of 1,457 tons of concrete. They were transported by contractor Derrick Construction of Rockport and deployed at a site known as Outer Continental Shelf Block Matagorda Island 712 in 130 feet of water. This site is an existing artificial reef created several years ago using an abandoned oil platform deck. The addition of the power poles will enhance the reef habitat, providing more reef structure for fish and other creatures.
The contractor also deployed a hopper barge (194 feet long by 35 feet wide by 16 feet deep) at the MI 712 reef site on July 16. The site is also accessible from Port O'Connor, which is about 36 nautical miles north of MI 712.
"An artificial reef is like an oasis in the desert for Gulf of Mexico marine life," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D., and TPWD's coastal fisheries director. "The Gulf floor is primarily a vast expanse of mud and sand. Reefs provide hard attachment surfaces for invertebrates such as barnacles, corals, sponges, clams, bryozoans and hydroids, the beginnings of an interactive food web that supports a host of reef fish species."
"By providing food and shelter, artificial reefs can enhance overfished populations of resident reef fish like red snapper and grouper. Transient species like mackerel, shark and billfish can also benefit by feeding on the resident fish."
The Texas Artificial Reef Act of 1989 directed TPWD to promote and enhance the artificial reef potential off Texas. The department developed the Texas Artificial Reef Plan adopted by the TPW Commission in 1990. The reef program is guided by the plan and by recommendations from a citizen-based Artificial Reef Advisory Committee.
To date, the Texas Artificial Reef Program has permitted 74 former oil and gas production platforms, plus other materials, at 49 reef sites. This includes 17 near-shore reefs to enhance fishing and diving opportunities for small boat owners. Reef materials at these near-shore sites include 12 Liberty Ships; an obsolete tugboat, a Navy YR-Barge, 44 concrete culverts, a welded pipe structure, 123 natural quarry rocks, 132 concrete reef balls, and 300 coal combustion fly ash blocks. All materials used for reef enhancement are clean, stable, durable, and complex structures.
More information, including a coastline map showing the location of some of the artificial reefs along the Texas coast and a tabular listing of reefs, is on the TPWD artificial reef Web page (http://tpwd.texas.gov/fish/reef/artreef.htm).
AEP owns more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and is the nation's largest electricity generator. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers linked to AEP's 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.

[ 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]
July 26, 2004
TPWD Implements Marine Dealer, Boat Titling Changes
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
AUSTIN, Texas -- Reminder!!!! The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted rules which comply with House Bill 2926, passed during the last legislative session. Some of the new rules address the following issues:
--License regulations for Marine Dealers, Distributors, and Manufacturers.
--Registration decal placement for specific circumstances.
--Defining acceptable situations for the issuance of bonded tiles for vessels or outboard motors.
"This legislation provided administrative cleanup and expansion to laws that protect the consumer and provide for the collection of existing fees outlined by law," said Frances Stiles, manager of boat titling and registration at TPWD.
There are a variety of new rules. Following is a breakdown of the new rules by the dates they became effective.
Jan. 1, 2004:
--People must register U.S. Coast Guard-documented vessels and must display a registration decal.
--For antique boats, the registration decal may be placed on the windshield. If the boat does not have a windshield, the decal may be attached to the wallet-sized certificate of number and carried on board.
--There is a new "Bonded Title" fee of $35. This security bond allows another avenue for the consumer to follow-through on ownership when there is lack of documentation, like a non-signed title transfer.
March 1, 2004:
--There is a mandatory licensing process for all marine dealers and an increase in the license fee from $130 to $500. Game Wardens are allowed to inspect records held by anyone selling boats and motors.
"We didn't have lot of control over these dealers -- it was a voluntary system but they didn't have to buy a license if they didn't want to," said Alfonso Campos, Chief of Marine Enforcement at TPWD. "If businesses or individuals sell five or more boats or motors in a calendar year, they need to have a license."
For more information, call Frances Stiles (512) 389-4860 or Campos at (512) 389-4624.

[ 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 ] [RM]
July 26, 2004
Texas' Wild West Days To Be Recreated at Fall Event
ALBANY, Texas -- What promises to be the largest Wild West re-enactment Fort Griffin has ever staged, featuring more than 500 re-enactors, will unfold just north of Albany Sept. 17-19.
For three days this fall, buffalo hunters, gunfighters, saloon girls, drovers, gamblers, Indians, U.S. cavalry, sutlers and other frontier characters will trod the "dusty streets" of the late 19th century boomtown of Fort Griffin, which at its height boasted a population of 4,000. Hundreds of re-enactors will relive the late 1800s at Fort Griffin State Park & Historic Site and the adjacent Collins Creek Ranch during the "Fort Griffin Frontier Times" event. The private ranch occupies the site of the old frontier town.
The wild and wooly town of Fort Griffin, also known as "The Flat," enjoyed a reputation in the 1870s as having "a man for breakfast every morning." The frontier community sprang up at the crossroads of two major cattle trails that converged below a bluff, atop which the U.S. military established a frontier fort in 1867 during the Indian Wars. Frontier legends Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid, Sheriff Pat Garrett and Bat Masterson once walked its streets.
"This very special event will give visitors an opportunity to live a unique piece of our heritage on the very ground where our forefathers struggled and died to build a future for us to inherit," said Lester Galbreath, manager of Fort Griffin State Park & Historic Site. "We're going to try to replicate the feel of 1874. There'll be soldiers patrolling Main Street, drovers with longhorn herds, stagecoaches and 'soiled doves' hanging around the saloon."
Galbreath, who looks the part of an Old West character with cowboy attire and a handlebar mustache, said the public would be able to experience a variety of heritage activities during the event. Gunfights, buffalo gun and cannon demonstrations, frontier cavalry patrols and military drills, chuck wagons and a Native American village will add to the authenticity.
Visitors will "step back into" the days of the Western frontier among military and civilian re-enactments; living history presentations; displays of authentic cloths, uniforms, weapons, tents and flags; and Native American tepees, and buffalo hunter and cowboy camps. A variety of sutlers, or merchants, will be selling all kinds of authentic frontier wares in period stores located along a road running from the town to the old fort. Those attending the event will be able to walk between the two sites or ride a shuttle trailer.
Actual historical events that took place in old Fort Griffin, Galbreath noted, will be re-enacted during "Frontier Times." They will include a card game in which Doc Holliday cut a fellow poker player with a knife and fled town, under the cover of a fire set by Doc's girlfriend, Big Nose Kate. Another will feature the 1874 Bee Hive Saloon shootout, one of the biggest gunfights in the Wild West.
Fort Griffin was once home to 400 troops, but was abandoned in 1881, some six years after the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon effectively ended the Indian Wars. The state park -- home to the Official Texas Longhorn Herd -- preserves the partial rock remnants of several original 1860s-era fort buildings, as well as reconstructions of wood-framed structures such as the soldiers' barracks, bakery, officers' quarters, mess hall and hospital. Money raised from the event will help continued restoration efforts at the fort.
Fort Griffin State Park & Historic Site occupies just a little more than 500 acres split into almost equal parcels by U.S. Highway 283. The Visitors Center and remains of the historic fort occupy one part of the park, while the campground, longhorn pens and pasture and hiking trails comprise the recreational unit of the state park on the banks of the Clear Fork, a Brazos River tributary. Camping facilities range from primitive tent sites to RV sites with water, electricity and sewer hookups.
Fort Griffin is located on U.S. Highway 283, 15 miles north of Albany, about an hour's drive from Abilene and three hours' drive from Fort Worth. For more information, call (325) 762-3592.
For local accommodations, please call the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau (325) 762-2525, or access the CVB Web site (http://www.albanytexas.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]
July 26, 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 July 26-30, Eagle Scouts and state parks are becoming a partnership of merit. Plus, anglers fishing for new license options will get their wish when buying them this year.
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.
This month's stories include: Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens are out in force this summer to promote boating safety; more than 350 Largemouth bass have been loaned or donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Budweiser Sharelunker Program. Recently four of these lunkers were released back into the lake they were caught by the anglers who caught them at the same time; since most of the land in Texas is privately owned, landowners are key to conservation efforts. This year's Lone Star Land Steward transformed his "worn-out South Texas ranch" into a sight to behold; and the people who love Enchanted Rock State Park near Fredericksburg are volunteering to rebuild its trails.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. The episode that airs the week of July 25- Aug. 4 includes, learning the value of bottomland hardwoods; two sides to Galveston Island State Park; squawk of the hawk; hall of fame boats; and Caddo Lake swamps.
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/).