|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-01-18                                    |
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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 ] [SL]
Jan. 18, 2005
Fourth Crab Trap Cleanup Coming Up; Louisiana Joins Effort
AUSTIN, Texas - Since 2002, scores of volunteers have gathered along the Texas coast on a Saturday morning in mid-February to remove 15,499 abandoned crab traps from Texas bays. Hoping to add to that pile, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are gearing up for another round of cleanups Feb. 18-27.
And volunteers are needed to assist in a coast-wide effort to remove the many thousands of wire mesh cages used to catch crabs that have been lost or abandoned since last year's cleanup.
State game wardens pick up more than 2,500 traps annually, yet there are many more still in the water to foul shrimpers' nets, snag fishermen's lines and create an unsightly view of Texas shores. During the past efforts, Galveston Bay and San Antonio Bay accounted for almost 11,000 traps collected coastwide.
Prior to the 77th Legislature of Texas authorizing an abandoned crab trap removal program, only the trap's owner or a TPWD game warden could legally remove a crab trap. To address this problem annually, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted in 2003 to close crabbing with traps in Texas waters for 10 days beginning on the third Friday of February each year, which this year will be from Feb. 18-27, to remove abandoned crab traps. On the first day of the closure, any crab trap left in the water will be defined as litter and can be removed by anyone. All traps picked up as litter must be disposed of properly and cannot be reused.
"Ghost fishing of these derelict traps is a real problem. We have documented 26 species of marine organisms found in these traps - many commercially or recreationally important. To illustrate this problem, last year a volunteer working in Corpus Christi Bay found nine sheepshead, seven toadfish, six gray snapper, four black drum and three spadefish in a single abandoned trap. These traps can also cause a host of problems from tangling shrimp trawls and propellers to creating simple marine debris," explained Art Morris, TPWD trap cleanup coordinator. "Not to mention the deleterious smothering effects these traps have on sensitive habitats, like seagrasses."
New this year, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is closing their waters in Sabine Lake to coincide with the Texas closure. This will allow both states to cleanup the entire system at the same time.
TPWD will be facilitating volunteer trap removal efforts on Saturday, Feb. 19 at several locations coast-wide, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed until the next available weekend day, but can not occur after Feb.27. Last year, 3,571 traps were removed by 311 volunteers with the help of more than 50 sponsors.
"This program has been recognized by the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation, EPA Gulf of Mexico Program and is currently nominated for a Texas Environmental Excellence Award. Without the wonderful resource conservation ethics that the public has about protecting Texas' bays and estuaries," said Morris, "this program would not be nearly as successful. This year's program is shaping up to be just as big as years past and we should have a great cleanup and a good time doing it. But we still need all the help we can get, especially in Galveston, Matagorda and San Antonio Bays."
This year, the Cecil M. Hopper Museum, Coastal Conservation Association Texas, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program and Anheuser-Busch are providing major funding to ensure the success of the crab trap removal program. Additional assistance is coming from the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Texas General Land Office, Gulf Coast Connections and many other businesses and organizations volunteering their services.
Morris noted that individuals who conduct cleanups on days other than TPWD-facilitated cleanup dates will have to make their own arrangements for trap disposal but can contact a local coordinator for assistance. For those who choose to work on their own, TPWD requests information about the number of traps that they collect.
To volunteer or for more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or one of the regional coordinators Art Morris in Corpus Christi at (361) 825-3356 art.morris@tpwd.texas.gov or Bobby Miller in Dickinson at (281) 534-0110 bobby.miller@tpwd.texas.gov.
Contacts for each area are as follows:
--Aransas Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Karen Meador (361) 729-2328
--Corpus Christi Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Paul Choucair (361) 729-2328
--Galveston Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Rebecca Hensley (281) 534-0108
--Lower Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Randy Blankinship (956) 350-4490
--Matagorda Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (361) 972-6253
--Sabine Lake -- Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104
--San Antonio Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
--Upper Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Kyle Spiller (361) 825-3353

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Jan. 18, 2005
Northeast Texas Public Meetings Set About Black Bear Plan
TYLER, Texas - More public meetings have been set for this month and next to explain the draft East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan. This follows the first meeting series held recently in southeast Texas.
"The black bear is a part of Texas' natural heritage and forest ecology, the Louisiana black bear is on the federal threatened species list and is thus the focus of an ongoing restoration effort in Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and black bears appear to be poised for a slow return in East Texas," said Nathan Garner, TPWD wildlife division regional director in Tyler. "Having a proactive plan to manage the situation is good natural resource management."
Black bears are already in East Texas to a limited extent, mainly solitary males wandering in from adjacent states. TPWD has documented 47 reliable bear sightings in East Texas since 1977, about two-thirds of those between 1991-2004.
The East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan is now in final draft form and is ready for public release. A team of private landowners, government agencies, timber companies, university researchers, conservation groups and others have been working on the plan since 2002. The plan is supported by more than 30 diverse groups from the public and private sector.
Two sub-species of black bear are found in Texas. The American black bear (Ursus americanus americanus), is found mainly in the western and central parts of the state. The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus), is the sub-species found historically in East Texas. The distinction is significant because the Louisiana black bear is on the federal threatened species list, while the American black bear in Texas is not. A casual observer would not be able to tell the two apart. Scientific analysis such as DNA testing is needed for sub-species verification. The Louisiana sub-species is the focus of the East Texas bear plan.
The draft management plan includes educating the public about black bears to minimize bear-people conflict potentials and allow reasonable human control of nuisance bears, and encouraging farm and forest management that provides bear habitat as part of a naturally diverse habitat system.
One suggestion in the plan is to conduct research to determine the survivability and reproductive capacity of re-introduced black bears in East Texas. The plan recommends first determining if there is public support for this research. If support exists, the plan recommends relocating several adult females with cubs in winter from out-of-state to a large, controlled forest acreage in deep East Texas. Bears in the study group would be fitted with radio transmitters to monitor their movements.
The public may also request a hard copy of the plan or send comments by e-mail to nathan.garner@tpwd.texas.gov or by regular mail to Nathan Garner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 11942 FM 848, Tyler, TX 75707. Anyone may view the draft plan on the TPWD Web site.
The public is invited to the following public meetings to learn more about the draft East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan and to have the opportunity to ask questions and comment about the draft plan.
All meetings start at 7 p.m.
--Jan. 24 - Mount Pleasant, Titus County, Texas Cooperative Extension Building, 1708 Industrial Road.
--Jan. 31 - Marshall, Harrison County, Harrison County Courthouse, 200 W. Houston, 71st. District Courtroom, 2nd Floor.
--Feb. 1 - Texarkana, Bowie County, Texarkana City Hall Council Room, 220 Texas Blvd.
--Feb. 2 - Clarksville, Red River County, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Service Center, 900 East Main St.
--Feb. 3 - Paris, Lamar County, Lamar County Courthouse Annex, 231 Lamar Avenue, County Court Room.
On the Net:
See the East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan: http://tpwd.texas.gov/nature/wild/vertebrate/mammals/bears/plan/

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
Jan. 18, 2005
'Most Diverse Game Warden Class Ever' Starts
AUSTIN, Texas - The 51st Game Warden Cadet Class, which reported for duty Jan. 2, is the most diverse group of game warden cadets the state has ever had.
"We are pleased and proud to present a class that best represents the overall population of Texas," said Col. James Stinebaugh, director of law enforcement at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The class consists of one Asian, three African Americans, 10 Hispanics, 12 females, and 14 white males. The educational background for these individuals is as follows: 16 received degrees in Biology/Science; 14 in Criminal Justice or a related field; six in the Human Sciences; two in Finance/Economics; one in English and one in Interdisciplinary Studies. The diverse class can be attributed to an increase in TPWD's overall recruitment efforts this past year.
Lt. Col. Pete Flores of the TPWD law enforcement division, who is bilingual, says, "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," he said.
This class includes an Iraq war veteran, a former NFL player, a housewife, a former member of the Department of Public Safety's narcotics task force and a woman who worked on a Wildlife Management area in South Africa. It also includes a surfer and a stock broker, to name a few of their backgrounds.
The six-month academy brings the cadets from throughout the state to Austin where they will live until graduation on July 1. The academy includes 1,200 hours of instruction -- including the 618-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 includes field trips to ranches and lakes for training using mock scenarios.
The wardens must also take 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. The first full week of training included the U.S./Texas Constitutions, Code of Criminal Procedures, swimming, public speaking, and the history of policing/game wardens.
For more information about becoming a cadet, call (877) 229-2733
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
Jan. 18, 2005
Free Celebration of Texas Independence Is March 5-6
WASHINGTON, Texas - An expanded number of historic re-enactors, period crafts demonstrators, toe-tappin' Texas musical performers and a black-powder salute by the Texas Army awaits visitors to this year's annual celebration of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 5-6.
This year marks the 169th anniversary of the signing of the declaration of Texas' independence from Mexico by 59 people representing the various municipalities who convened here March 2, 1836, in a drafty, unfinished building atop a Brazos River bluff to give birth to the Republic of Texas.
One of the rare copies of the printed broadside, "Texas Declaration of Independence," as well as other documents authored by many of the declaration's signers, will be on exhibit at the Star of the Republic Museum.
Visitors to this free, two-day event at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site can play a part in a play titled "The Convention of 1836" by interacting with the characters during performances presented throughout the weekend. Other dramatic performances by the Texas Heroes, a renowned dramatic group, will bring to life notable Republic of Texas characters such as Stephen F. Austin and Mary Austin Holley, who were among the historic document's signatories.
On Sunday March 6, television personality Ron Stone will emcee a special program honoring the heroic early Texas patriots who drafted and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. A special performance of "The Convention of 1836," an audience participatory play and foot-stomping musical will be featured. The cutting of a Texas-sized birthday cake will highlight the day's activities.
During the Texas Independence Day celebration, visitors to the historic site will be immersed in the sights and sounds of the Republic of Texas period from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Throughout the park grounds, re-enactors in period clothing will be demonstrating 19th century folkways such as blacksmithing and quilting, playing old-fashioned music and performing military drills. Authentic 19th century dance music will be performed by the 'No Foolin' String Band,' while 'Back at the Ranch' will entertain with upbeat Texas swing music. The award-winning Blinn College band also will perform. Food vendors will be on site both days.
"Gone to Texas," a lively musical, will be performed in the Star of the Republic Museum's theater throughout the celebration. The museum, operated by Blinn College, tells the story of the Republic of Texas through dioramas, artifacts and historical exhibits.
Park admission and tour fees will be waived during the celebration. In addition to the museum, the historic complex includes the Visitors Center, nature trails, Barrington Living History Farm and a replica of Texas Independence Hall located in the old Washington town site.
The Texas Independence Day celebration is being presented by the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association and is sponsored by ExxonMobil, Bluebonnet Electric and the First National Bank of Bryan.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located half way between Brenham and Navasota off state Highway 105 on FM 1155, approximately an hour northwest of Houston. For directions and more information, call (936) 878-2214, extension 237.
On the Net:

[ 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 ] [RM]
Jan. 18, 2005
Museum To Celebrate Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas -- The Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site - National Museum of the Pacific War and the Admiral Nimitz Foundation are inviting veterans from all branches of the service who fought at the Battle of Iwo Jima to a public commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the battle Feb. 17-21 in Fredericksburg.
Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander-in-chief of the Pacific fleet, gave his own personal tribute to those who fought there when he said, "Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
Highlights of "A Public Tribute to the Heroes of Iwo Jima" include a memorial service with remarks by Gen. Michael W. Hagee, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and the nation's highest ranking Marine, and Oliver North, combat-decorated Marine, author and host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News. The commemoration also includes a large-scale living history re-enactment of the capture of Mt. Suribachi and the two flag raisings and a heroes' parade down Main Street. The event is free to all Iwo Jima veterans. Registration deadline is Jan. 31.
"We are extending an invitation to all veterans of Iwo Jima to join us for this special weekend," said Rear Adm. C. D. Grojean, USN (Ret.), executive director of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. "Our commemoration falls during Presidents' Day weekend. We also encourage the sons and daughters of these veterans and the public to take advantage of the holiday to join us in Fredericksburg to honor these heroes of World War II."
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Marines raising the American flag on the summit of Mt. Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima has become an enduring image of bravery and heroism that is recognized around the world. The invasion of Iwo Jima, a small island located 660 miles south of Tokyo, occurred from Feb. 19 through most of March 1945. Iwo Jima was strategically important as an air base for fighter escorts supporting long-range bombing missions against mainland Japan. More than 250,000 men and 900 ships were involved in the amphibious operation. So fierce was the battle that more U.S. Marines earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service there than in any other battle in American history.
Major events begin Feb. 19, with the heroes' parade down Main Street. The event will feature Iwo Jima heroes as well as World War II vehicles and equipment and a flyover by World War II aircraft. Special seating is available for registered Iwo Jima veterans who will not be in the parade and their registered guests. The public is invited to view the parade from Main Street.
Also that day, several hundred volunteers led by museum staff, will stage two large-scale reenactments, recreating the fighting around the base of Mt. Suribachi and the two flag raisings. Central Texas terrain in Doss, just 30 minutes from Fredericksburg, will become the famous battlefield complete with Japanese pillboxes and defenses and WWII aircraft and vehicles, including tanks, halftracks, trucks, jeeps and the museum's working WWII flamethrower. Participants include reenactors from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Korea and Taiwan.
The demonstration, which is open to the public for a nominal entrance fee, will be staged from 2-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 and repeated at the same time Feb. 20. Community groups will operate a variety of food and drink booths on-site. On Feb. 19, the living-history demonstration will be dedicated to the heroes of Iwo Jima and special transportation and seating will be provided for Iwo Jima veterans and their registered guests.
On Feb. 20, the public will honor the brave men and women from all branches of the armed forces who fought at Iwo Jima at a special memorial service. Gen. Hagee, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, will be the keynote speaker. The program also will include North and special guest Hershel Williams, one of only three living Medal of Honor recipients from Iwo Jima. The event, which begins at 11 a.m. at Fredericksburg High School, is open to the public for free, with special seating for registered Iwo Jima veterans.
Also included in "A Public Tribute to the Heroes of Iwo Jima" are tours of select attractions in the Texas Hill Country and performances of a USO-type show by the Fredericksburg Theater Company.
The registration fee to attend the commemoration is free for all Iwo Jima veterans and $25 per person for family members and guests. The registration fee includes shuttle service in Fredericksburg to commemoration events, special seating at commemoration events, admission to the living history demonstration, and complimentary admission to the National Museum of the Pacific War throughout the weekend. Major events also are open to the public.
Iwo Jima veterans and their families may register using registration materials available on our Nimitz Museum Web site. Persons wishing to receive a registration packet by mail should phone (800) 210-9440.
Co-sponsors of the event are the City of Fredericksburg, The Houston Endowment, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; and T.R.U.E Research Foundation.
This is the only museum in the world dedicated to telling the entire story of the war in the Pacific during World War II. It is a state historic site managed by TPWD and supported in part by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation.
On the Net:

[ 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]
Jan. 18, 2005
Meeting Set About Managing Private Impoundments for Better Fishing
CONROE, Texas -- Managing Private Impoundments for Better Fishing will be the goal of 'Bass 102' scheduled for March 19 at the Lone Star Convention Center.
"Private pond owners who attend will benefit from learning complete management techniques for how to improve their ponds and lakes for better fishing. Participants will also benefit from speakers with over 100 years of combined experience and nationally known for their expertise in fish pond management," said Michael Masser, Extension Fisheries Specialist at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at TAMU.
The statewide workshop will be co-hosted by Texas A&M University's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas Cooperative Extension and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Pre-registration by March 4 is $50 per person or $75 after that date and at the door. Complete program proceedings of pond management information will be provided for each participant.
The program starts with talks about pond ecology and pond-renovation techniques. Experts about other aspects of managing private waters for better fishing will speak about topics including water quality, stocking and management strategies, improving existing ponds, aquatic vegetation management, troubleshooting problems, and the seminar will conclude with an ask-the-experts panel.
Also, three continuing education units for private, commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators recertification will be offered to participants. A trade show will run concurrently throughout the event and exhibitors are invited to set up booths for $200 per booth.
On the Net:
Registration: http://www.peopleware.net/1542

[ 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]
Jan. 18, 2005
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 Jan. 17-21, it's a WHOPPER of a record for whoopers. Plus, if you are bored with burgers and fed up with fried chicken, we might have some supper options for you that you may not have considered. And we'll tell you about the two things no good campfire should be without.
For more information, visit the Web.
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.
For more information, go to the Web.
"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.
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.
On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD Video News: http://tpwd.texas.gov/news/tv/vnr/thismonth/
TPWD on PBS: http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/