|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-06-13                                    |
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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]
June 13, 2005
New Report Details Water Needs of Sabine Lake Estuary
PORT ARTHUR, Texas -- A new report by state scientists documents the amount of freshwater inflows from the Sabine River watershed needed to sustain the Sabine Lake ecosystem, a vital resource that supports dozens of fish and wildlife species and is worth millions of dollars per year to the regional economy.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Water Development Board recently completed the report "Freshwater Inflow Recommendation for the Sabine Lake Estuary of Texas and Louisiana."
The report recommends 9.6 million acre-feet as the amount of flow for the Sabine Lake system. (An acre-foot is the amount of water it takes to flood an acre a foot deep.) This recommended flow is actually far less than the average flow that the system receives every year based on historical records. Sabine Lake receives by far the largest inflows of any bay system in the state because of the relatively high rainfall throughout the eastern parts of Texas which flows into its drainage basin.
"Factors such as drought or flood constantly change the rules in natural systems such as these, and are actually a key part of their proper functioning," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D., and TPWD coastal fisheries director.
"Thus, the recommendation is provided only as a target rather than as a strict requirement which must be met every year. TPWD's main goal is for water to be managed so that recommended inflows are provided frequently enough to maintain the system's productivity while also providing for other human needs."
Located on the coastal border between Texas and Louisiana, Sabine Lake is actually a coastal bay which hosts a multitude of recreationally popular fish and wildlife species such as speckled trout, redfish, canvasback ducks and Canada geese.
In 2001, saltwater recreational anglers statewide spent approximately $600 million in Texas, generating a total economic impact of about $1.3 billion, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The bay also supports a healthy commercial fishery for shrimp, menhaden and other species. In 2001, 4,180 pounds of finfish worth $57,059 and 1,420,147 pounds of shellfish worth $1,175,874 were landed in Sabine Lake.
Besides the lake itself, the expansive wetlands along the edges of much of it also rely on freshwater inflows and provide key habitat for many other species, such as crabs, muskrats, river otters, ibises and great blue herons.
In 1985 the Texas Legislature directed TPWD and TWDB to determine the beneficial freshwater inflow needs for major Texas estuaries. To that end, state scientists consider historical river flows, local rainfall, salinity (salt content in sea water), nutrients, and fisheries needs as well as other components in calculating the freshwater inflows that will sustain a healthy bay.
To request a copy of the report, contact Nathan Kuhn, a TPWD biologist and primary author of the report, at nathan.kuhn@tpwd.texas.gov or (512) 912-7016.

[ 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]
[ Additional Contacts: Chris Richards, Science Spectrum, (806) 745-2525, ext. 243, chris@sciencespectrum.org ]
June 13, 2005
Texas Parks and Wildlife Supports Brazos River Exhibit
LUBBOCK, Texas -- A permanent, original exhibit called "The Brazos River Journey: Texas Alive!" at the Science Spectrum is made possible in part by a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The 6,000-square foot exhibit takes museum visitors on a virtual tour of the Brazos River from its headwaters northwest of Lubbock to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. With 19 aquatic tanks and 12 wildlife enclosures, the Brazos exhibit is the largest aquarium-centered facility between Fort Worth and Albuquerque. Science Spectrum employees report the exhibit attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually.
A partnership between TPWD, the City of Lubbock and the Science Spectrum made the exhibit possible. TPWD awarded a $750,000 local park indoor recreation grant in 2002 through a partnership with the City of Lubbock Parks and Recreation Department. The total project cost, including other grant sources, was near $2 million. The initial exhibit construction phase was finished in June 2003.
The exhibit includes a 12-foot wave tank, pictorial introductions to the river's four main sections, an overview of a playa (shallow plains wetland/lake), reservoir and Gulf life, and tours with a video ranger.
TPWD local, regional, and statewide biologists consulted about exhibit content since 2000 during the design phases of the exhibition, including providing information for video ranger stations throughout exhibit. TPWD biologists and fish hatcheries and fisheries centers across the state have been involved in the collections and donations process of many of the wild fish and animals on display. The exhibit will eventually feature cultural kiosks that will include oral histories, music samples, and regional artwork, and a discovery dock and seating area for live animal demonstrations by the Science Spectrum staff. Contributions from local and state scientists, photographers and artists will give the exhibit a local flair.
The goal of the Brazos River Journey exhibit and the Science Spectrum is to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the subtle magnificence of the Brazos River, the important ecosystem it supports, and the complexity of the relationships woven between the river and the diverse people of the state.
The Science Spectrum OMNI Theatre is located at 2579 S. Loop 289 in Lubbock,
TX. For more information call (806) 745-2525 or visit the museum Web site.
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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 ] [KE]
June 13, 2005
Don't Be Left High and Dry on 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 put in.
--Make sure you have fresh gas in your 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 as soon as possible.)
--Have a float plan, let someone know where you are going on the water and when you intend to be back. Also let someone know where you intend to launch, what kind of boat you have and what vehicle to look for at the ramp. This helps Game Wardens find you if you need rescuing.
--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.
On the Net: