|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-11-08                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 12 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]
Nov. 8, 2004
TPW Commission Confirms Jasper Site for New Fish Hatchery
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted Nov. 3 to approve the Jasper County bid to host a new East Texas freshwater fish hatchery for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The commission vote completes the new hatchery site selection process, confirming a recommendation made last month by the private, nonprofit Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
More than a dozen elected officials and community leaders from across the region came to the commission meeting to express their support for the hatchery, including several communities that bid for the project but were not selected.
"I'm reminded of the Caddo and Coushatta tribes that lived long ago in deep East Texas," said Jimmie Cooley, mayor of Woodville, which had teamed with Tyler County to submit a hatchery bid. "Those tribes knew no county lines, and we know no such boundaries with our neighbors in Jasper. We will share our resources to make this a successful project for all of East Texas."
"Tyler County submitted a proposal and fought hard for this project," Tyler County Judge Jerome Owens said. "We gave it a good fight, but we are here to let you know that we support the Jasper proposal and will do all we can to make it a truly regional hatchery."
Jasper County officials welcomed the participation from Tyler County and invited neighboring counties and communities to make the hatchery a regional project.
"We know that the location of this hatchery in East Texas will be a great benefit to the citizens of the entire region and to all the people of Texas," said Joe Folk, Jasper County Judge. Officials with the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and other communities expressed similar sentiments.
"We deeply appreciate the spirit of regional cooperation that is developing around the new hatchery project," said Joseph Fitzsimons, TPW Commission chairman. "There were many fine proposals by local communities, and it was a difficult decision. We fully support the concept of making this a venture that will benefit the entire region."
The Jasper County proposal was valued at approximately $28 million over 50 years, $4 million higher than the next highest bidder. It offered the largest land area at 200 acres. And it was also the only hatchery proposal that would require minimal water pumping, and with water delivered by gravity flow during parts of the year. The site is well-suited for hatchery construction, and will be cleared at no cost to TPWD.
The Jasper County proposal will locate the new hatchery near the Sam Rayburn Reservoir dam on property owned by Temple-Inland. The site is currently a managed forest logging operation.
Other partner offerings in the Jasper County proposal include water and financial support from the Lower Neches Valley Authority, a new county road to the site with possible assistance from the Texas Department of Transportation, and additional support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The new hatchery will replace the present Jasper Fish Hatchery, which was opened in 1932 and has had no major renovation or modernization since the late 1940s. The primary funding source for the new hatchery and for improvements at other hatcheries in the TPWD system will come from a new $5 freshwater fishing stamp that was required beginning Sept.1, and from community and corporate support.
Fish hatchery production, along with fisheries management, regulations and law enforcement, helps sustain the high quality of fishing in Texas, an important part of the state economy. Freshwater anglers in Texas generated $1.49 billion in retail sales in 2001 based upon data collected by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. This angling activity generated $733 million in wages and salaries annually.
There are still major sponsorship opportunities available in connection with the new hatchery. For sponsorship details, contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation at (214) 720-1478.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 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]
Nov. 8, 2004
TPWD Unveils Possible Changes to Regulations
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking to clarify the hunting regulations by standardizing seasons and simplifying rules relating to white-tailed deer and turkey.
TPWD staff briefed the Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Wednesday, Nov. 3, about a series of issues that could result in changes to hunting and fishing regulations next year. Each year, TPWD considers changes in hunting and fishing regulations to achieve resource management objectives and maximize outdoor recreation opportunities.
The regulatory review process begins each fall after resource assessments by biologists and game wardens, as well as independent recommendations received from various groups.* Additional discourse is sought during special public meetings in the spring, and the commission at its April meeting determines the final regulation changes.
Following is a summary of those potential changes.
Potential Wildlife Regulation Changes
White-tailed Deer
--Explore antler-restriction rules in selected additional counties. This proposal would look at creating rules similar to those currently in place in six counties along the coastal prairie. TPWD is researching feasibility and public attitudes in 15 additional counties, mainly in the Coastal Prairie region. According to TPWD big game program director Clayton Wolf, this change would only happen with broad public support. "If we assume the antler restrictions are an option on a regulatory basis (at a county or regional level), our next step would be looking at other parts of the state," he notes. "We have data on harvest pressure and there obviously are areas that are getting hit hard, but before we proceed with any proposals, we want to make an assessment on hunter and landowner attitudes regarding antler restrictions."
--In the six counties that have been under the experimental buck antler restrictions, continue those regulations indefinitely with some modifications. TPWD is discussing adding a second buck to the bag limit, but at least one of the two bucks must have an unbranched antler. The agency is considering dropping the restriction requiring at least six points on one antler since bucks of that size will typically surpass the 13-inch inside spread minimum anyway.
--Consolidation of doe day categories. Currently, TPWD offers seven different sets of doe day combinations, including no days, four days, nine days, 16 days, 23 days, 23-plus days and full season. Wildlife biologists are suggesting consolidating doe days in 36 counties and cutting the options back to no days, four days, 16 days, 23 plus days or full season doe hunting. They also are looking at eliminating doe day restrictions in 33 counties, mostly in the Panhandle.
--Simplifying the aggregate buck-bag restriction in one-buck and two-buck counties. This proposal would mean hunters could take a buck in three different one-buck-only counties or they could take a buck in a one-buck-only county and two bucks in counties having a two-buck limit.
--Creation of an appeals process for deer permit programs.
--Prohibition of hunting by remote control. This issue centers on the use of Internet technology as it relates to the taking of wildlife resources.
--Removal of Hunt and Washington counties from the list of counties where the use of dogs to trail wounded deer is prohibited.
Mule Deer
--Extend Managed Lands Deer Permit program to include mule deer. This potential proposal would allow landowners under an approved wildlife management plan to enter voluntarily in a habitat-based permit program, which would allow greater flexibility in managing mule deer harvest. With this program, permit holders could hunt from the first Saturday in November through the end of the current regular mule deer season. In the Panhandle, the current season runs from the Saturday before Thanksgiving for 16 days. In the Southwest Panhandle, the current season runs for nine days beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving, while in the Trans Pecos, the current season runs from the last Saturday in November for 16 days.
--Several potential proposals that would consolidate and standardize turkey hunting regulations, including: standardizing the spring season length in the eastern and western halves of the state; standardizing the season length and bag composition for fall turkey seasons; and implementing youth-only spring turkey seasons for Rio Grande turkey.
--TPWD is also looking at the possibility of opening fall and spring seasons for Rio Grande turkey in Cameron and Zapata counties.
Potential Freshwater Fishing Regulation Proposals
Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County)
--Fisheries biologists are looking into changing harvest regulations for red drum from the current 20-inch minimum length limit and daily bag limit of three fish, to no length and no bag limit to allow for maximized harvest of red drum. TPWD will not be managing red drum at Lake Nasworthy due to the shutting down of the power plant facility there, which will likely result in water temperatures too low to maintain red drum.
North and South Arms of the Concho River (Tom Green County)
--Define waters (North Concho from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam and South Concho from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam) that are covered by special regulations for blue and channel catfish (no minimum length limit and pole and line only angling) and where statewide regulations (12-inch minimum length limit and no gear restrictions) are in effect (South Concho above Lone Wolf dam)
Toledo Bend Reservoir
--Remove 12-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass. Limit will be the same as statewide limit (no minimum).
Potential Coastal Fishing Regulation Proposals
--Coastal fisheries will be scoping the issue of live mollusk and harvest of other inter-tidal species along the Texas coast. The regulatory options which will be considered include area and seasonal closures, bag limits, and additions to the list of species which require a commercial non-game permit.
When the proposed regulations are published in the Texas Register, public comment about these issues may be made to TPWD, Regulatory Proposals Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, 78744, by phoning (800) 792-1112 or by visiting the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/). **
* Correction, Nov. 10, 2004: The original version of this news release was edited to clarify the public comment period. (Return to corrected item.)
** Correction, Nov. 9, 2004: The original version of this news release was edited to clarify the public comment period. (Return to corrected item.)

[ Note: This item is more than 12 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]
Nov. 8, 2004
Proposed Regulation Would Suspend Coastal Fishing
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking TPW Commission authority to suspend fishing at designated places along the coast temporarily in the event of a freeze that could jeopardize the health of a fishery.
According to Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and coastal fisheries division director, Texas has about two million acres of bays and estuaries that are susceptible to freezes. He said that there were three major freezes during the 1980s, including one in 1989 when the temperature at Brownsville dropped to 16 degrees, for example, and an estimated 11 million fish were killed. Historically, freezes along the Texas coast have occurred about every 15 years and TPWD is taking proactive steps to try and minimize the impact to the fishery.
In order to get public comment about the freeze proposal, TPWD has scheduled a public hearing in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the Conrad Blucher Institute, Conference Room 101 from 7-9 p.m. TPWD expects to bring this item to the TPW Commission for final action at the commission meeting Jan. 26-27, 2005.
Public comment about these issues and others of interest may be made to TPWD, Regulatory Proposals Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, 78744, by phoning (800) 792-1112 or by visiting the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/)

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH]
Nov. 8, 2004
Red Drum Donated to TPWD and Are Being Stocked in Lakes
ATHENS, Texas -- Texas anglers received an early holiday gift: 50,000 red drum, donated by the largest commercial red drum farm in Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocked the 10-14-inch fish into lakes Victor Braunig, Calaveras, and Fairfield. *
"We are in the business of producing redfish for the retail market," explained John Turner, managing partner of Lonestar Aquafarms, Ltd., of Palacios. "We have to produce fish of a certain size, and sometimes we have a surplus of a particular size. If the community at large can benefit from having them, I think that's a really good deal."
In 2002, while Turner was managing another aquaculture operation, he donated about 100,000 6-inch red drum fingerlings to TPWD.
"We really appreciate Mr. Turner's continuing support of our programs to provide quality red drum fishing in several of our lakes," said Phil Durocher, director of TPWD's Inland Fisheries division. "When a commercial grower is willing to donate part of his production to the state, it is a direct benefit to the anglers who fish these lakes and a great assist to our stocking program."
Although red drum is a saltwater species, TPWD stocks them into selected lakes to provide increased angler opportunity for this popular sportfish. Lakes stocked with red drum are power plant lakes, which have the warmer water temperature the fish need to survive.
"The fish Mr. Turner donated in 2002 did really well in the lakes," said Todd Engeling, TPWD's hatchery program manager. "Lakes Braunig, Calaveras and Fairfield already have redfish, and typically we stock them every year. These freshwater red drum fisheries have become very popular, and the fish stocked this week will probably be legal to catch a year from now." All three lakes have a 20-inch minimum length requirement, no maximum size limit and a daily bag limit of three fish.
Turner said Lonestar Aquafarms sells about 25,000 pounds of fresh fish per week. "Sometimes survival is higher than expected, and we also stock our ponds to make sure we have plenty of fish. We take the risk to produce more and give them away, because that's better than not having them."
* Correction, Nov. 15, 2004: The original version of this news release incorrectly listed Lake Victor. There is no Lake Victor in Texas. (Return to corrected item.)

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [MM]
Nov. 8, 2004
TPW Commission Approves Five Trail Grants
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved funding Nov. 3 for five National Recreational Trail Grant projects totaling $402,750.
This new round of grants stems from additional federal funding that has become available since an initial $2 million in trail-building funds was awarded by TPWD in August.
Recreational Trail grants are approved based on the recommendations of the Texas Trails Advisory Board. They are funded by a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases to utilize off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers.
The purpose of the National Recreational Trails Fund is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.
The recipients are listed below:
--Anna Trails in Collin County received $100,000 for a new 1.94-mile trail, land acquisition, bridge and signs. Funds were requested by the City of Anna.
--Patterson Park Trail in Travis County received $99,250 for a new 6,000-foot granite trail in a neighborhood park. Funds were requested by the City of Austin
--Canton Recreational Trails in Van Zandt County received $63,500 for a new 1.5-mile trail and its design, and signs. Funds were requested by the City of Canton
--Pflugerville Reservoir Trail in Travis County received $100,000 for a new 15,950-foot trail, benches and parking. Funds were requested by City of Pflugerville.
--The da Vinci Bridge and Trail in Ector County received $40,000 for a new 1,000-foot trail and bridge over the drainage canal. Funds were requested by The University of Texas, Permian Basin.
For more information on TPWD grant programs see the department Web site (http://tpwd.texas.gov/grants/).

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [MM]
Nov. 8, 2004
Warden Wins Shikar-Safari's 'Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year' Honor
AUSTIN, Texas -- Game Warden Marcus Collins of Plainview was recently presented the 2004 Shikar-Safari "Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year."
For 25 years, Shikar-Safari International has annually recognized game wardens from North America as "Wildlife Conservation Officers of the Year."
Collins was chosen for his "exemplary work in the field of Conservation Law Enforcement," said Lt. Col. Peter Flores, deputy director of Law Enforcement at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "He is an outstanding investigator."
"I'm very excited about it. It's quite an honor," said Collins, who graduated from the Texas Game Warden Training Academy in 1988.
Last year, Collins secured leases, obtained funding through the Wildlife Division and executed the first trophy mule deer hunt in the Public Hunting Lands program held on private land in the Texas Panhandle. This hunt provided a quality hunting experience for eight people who were selected as winners through the TPWD Public Hunting Program.
During the last year, Collins learned of the illegal killing of trumpeter swans in Floyd County. He interviewed 51 people in 10 cities during a 9-day period that resulted in the conviction of four people for killing the protected birds. About $17,000 dollars in fines and restitution and statewide media attention resulted from this enforcement effort.
He has also won five medals in five events at the 2001 Texas and National Police Olympics. And in 2003, he shared 'Top Warden Award' honors at the Five States Game Warden Association skills competition.
Shikar-Safari works to enhance and preserve wildlife, and has placed particular emphasis on endangered and threatened species through the promotion of enforcement of conservation laws and regulations.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 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]
Nov. 8, 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 more than 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of Nov. 8-12, we'll meet an archer who aimed for Olympic gold and hit a bulls-eye. Plus, we'll tell you how Texas teachers are learning the finer points of bows and arrows in their outdoor classrooms.
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.
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/).