|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-07-17                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
July 17, 2006
Kite Tube Manufacturer Issues Recall
AUSTIN, Texas -- In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Sportsstuff, Inc., of Omaha, Nebraska, voluntarily recalled about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes July 13.
More than three dozen injury accidents involving the use of kite tubes have been reported nationwide. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries.
In Texas, four tube kiting accidents have been reported this year. Three users were injured and one died. In all of the reported accidents, the injuries occurred when users were violently slammed into the water.
The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes.
The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement "Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall." The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005, to July 11, 2006, for about $500 to $600.
"The kite tubes appear to be designed only for professionals," said Game Warden Maj. Alfonso Campos, chief of marine safety enforcement at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Even experienced water skiers and boaters have expressed how dangerous they can be, and they are definitely not for novice skiers or boaters."
Campos urged boaters to comply with the Wego Kite Tube recall and to use extreme caution when using any similar products.
Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff at (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
July 17, 2006
Changes in Mine Land Reclamation Guidelines Benefit Quail
AUSTIN, Texas -- New alternatives for reclaiming mined lands in Texas means thousands of acres of new quail habitat could be realized each year, according to wildlife biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
A cooperative effort between TPWD and the Railroad Commission of Texas has paved the way for mined lands to be reclaimed into habitat that would support quail and other upland grassland bird species. Texas currently has 13 operating mines and 6 mines going through the reclamation process. There are about 55,000 acres of mine land reclaimed annually in Texas.
"We see this as an opportunity to meet some of the objectives of the Texas Quail Conservation Initiatives on reclaimed mine lands," said Robert L. Cook, TPWD Executive Director. "We applaud the Railroad Commission for working with TPWD staff in getting changes to federal revegetation regulations in support of this conservation effort. This is being viewed by others in the conservation community as a model that offers great potential in other parts of the country."
Quail are considered by wildlife officials to be a keystone indicator species of the health of grassland ecosystems. When their numbers fall, other species that inhabit those ecosystems follow in a domino effect. A diverse cooperative, working under the umbrella of the TQCI, is making landscape level conservation progress to help ensure the dominos won't topple.
Throughout their range, bobwhite quail populations nationwide have declined from an estimated 59 million birds in 1980 to about 20 million in 1999.
Changes to the landscape during the last two decades -- primarily urban growth, conversion of native grasslands to exotic grasses like coastal Bermuda and monoculture pine plantations -- have robbed quail and other species of usable space, according to wildlife biologists.
During the past few years, TPWD has developed a proactive strategy to address quail declines in Texas. The agency's approach has been one of partnership. Among the stakeholders involved include the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) and the Railroad Commission (RRC).
"Reclaimed mined lands can serve as repositories of locally adapted quail. These reclaimed areas can be used as focus areas for the TQCI. Adding additional acres of quail habitat near these focus areas will ensure quail persist in those locals," said Steve DeMaso, upland game bird program leader for TPWD. "Mined lands in other states may also be able to use this model to create habitat."
Clearing the way for creating quail habitat on reclaimed mine lands was no small task and required federal approval. As part of the regulatory process, TPWD reviews and approves mine permits and reclamation plans.
Kathy Boydston, program coordinator for the Wildlife Habitat Assessment Program, which reviews those permits, said that members of TMRA invited her and DeMaso to a meeting to discuss a potential regulation change that would allow the mining companies to have more habitat structure in reclaimed areas to support quail and other species.
Realizing that this would require a regulation change and require industry support, TPWD and other agencies met with representatives of TMRA. TPWD then approached the RRC on what the process would be to change regulations.
After consultation with RRC and TMRA, TPWD realized that our best approach was to require a sub-category for quail (and other grassland bird species) in the regulations. TPWD negotiated with TMRA and RRC on what would be acceptable limits. All partners agreed upon a range of 57-77 percent ground cover and that was approved by the OSM as a change to the Texas Mining Reclamation Standard.
The Railroad Commission must adhere to strict federal guidelines that require mined land to be returned exactly to its original pre-mine state. The Commission's Surface Mining regulatory program required amendments to specify the inclusion of specific bird habitats, which required approval from the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM). Working through the regulatory process took about 18 months and final approval was granted in June.
"I am thrilled that the Commission was able to work with Parks and Wildlife to develop guidelines which will do more to encourage wildlife, particularly the bobwhite quail population," said Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams. "The addition of this element allows the unique opportunity for Texas mining companies to create habitats for bird species. My gratitude goes to all of the agencies and individuals, especially Dr. Wallace Klussman of Fredericksburg, who worked so diligently to see this effort through."
The new reclamation options will enable mining companies that own the reclaimed areas to increase wildlife habitat on their lands, and create additional benefits for private landowners who lease their lands for mining.
Because landowners typically require their lands be returned to a condition where they can realize an economic benefit, such as cattle grazing or timber operations, the new wildlife habitat option could provide a new revenue source from quail hunting, while allowing conversion of an agriculture tax exemption to a wildlife tax exemption.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
July 17, 2006
Satellite Tracking Study To Shed Light on Tarpon Migration
AUSTIN, Texas -- For many a veteran angler, the pinnacle of a fishing career comes with the explosion of chromed muscle that signals his first tarpon hook-up. That experience was once common on the Texas Gulf coast; so common, in fact, that through the 1950s, tarpon tournaments were commonplace and presidents and potentates made the journey to the third coast to catch a "silver king."
Then, the tarpon seemed to just disappear. By the early 1970s, the sought-after sportfish were rarely seen off Texas, and even more rarely landed. And no one really knows why.
The construction of reservoirs and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway diminished and altered freshwater inflows; coastal development filled-in critical habitat and water quality declined as population and industry expanded. Biologists say all are factors that likely contributed to the species' decline. In addition to those perturbations, commercial fishing pressure in Mexico increased over the years and often targeted tarpon.
"It is difficult to put your finger on the one reason for the decline in tarpon along the Texas coast," said Larry McKinney, Ph.D., director of Coastal Fisheries for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. "It is likely a combination of many things. One of the confounding factors is that we actually know very little about the biology of the species."
Researchers hope to change that beginning with the Tarpon Tomorrow Pro-Am Tournament Aug. 4-5. At the event, headquartered at Laguna Harbor in Bolivar, Texas, scientists will attempt to place as many as one dozen pop-up archival transmitting tags on tarpon.
The tags, known by the acronym "PAT," are embedded in the muscular backs of the fish for up to two years. While being towed by the tarpon, the tags record the fish's movement, water depth and water temperature at regular intervals. At a preset time, the tag pops off the fish and floats to the surface where it transmits the recorded information to an orbiting satellite.
"It's going to tell us, we hope, information concerning Texas tarpon migration as well as their behavior in entering and leaving Texas estuaries," said Scott Alford, tournament committee chairman for Tarpon Tomorrow, a non-profit foundation dedicated to understanding and protecting tarpon stocks. "There's also going to be an effort to place some tags in tarpon off Port O'Conner and in the bay."
Alford said his goal as a lifelong tarpon angler is to see uniform management of the tarpon population across the Gulf of Mexico, and researchers say the PAT program will help do just that.
"The information collected on this research project will have a direct application to the management of this species by defining the population or "stock" shared by different States and Mexico," said Ivonne Blandon, *
a biologist and genetics expert at TPWD, who is coordinating the effort for the agency. "It is truly an international scientific effort as we are working with experts from all around the world but especially Mexico."
Already, PAT deployments from taggings in Mexico, Louisiana, Florida and the Atlantic seaboard have yielded valuable information about the migratory patterns of the fish.
Tarpon Tomorrow is the driving force behind the ongoing project and is leading a group of like-minded sportfish conservation organizations -- Tarpon and Bonefish Unlimited and the Coastal Conservation Association -- in gathering support for the study.
Tarpon Tomorrow has secured private funding for the purchase of about half a dozen of the $3,500 tags, and TPWD purchased six of the tags for use by the program.
The study itself is a collaboration headed by Jerald Ault, Ph.D., of the Rosenstiel Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Scott Holt of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and biologists from TPWD and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
While not as abundant as in the 1950s, tarpon seem to have made something of a comeback in recent years along the Texas coast.
The numbers today are sufficient to support a small but productive recreational fishery and a number of guides specialize in catch-and-release trips for the silver king.
The tagging program is part of a larger effort by anglers and agencies to improve the fishery. TPWD has also been studying hatchery techniques, working to assure freshwater inflows in Texas bays, protecting water quality and restoring critical habitat along the Texas coast and in conjunction with counterparts in Mexico.
"It will take all of us together, scientists, fisheries managers, conservation organizations and saltwater anglers to assure the future of tarpon," said McKinney. "But for the first time in many years I see the possibility of progress towards that goal and we do not want to miss that window of opportunity."
* Correction, July 19, 2006: The original version of this news release incorrectly listed a Ph.D. for Ivonne Blandon. (Return to corrected item.)
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
July 17, 2006
Time To Apply for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands
AUSTIN, Texas -- With the fall hunting season looming on the horizon, now's the time to apply for drawn public hunts. For more than 50 years, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been offering quality, affordable hunting experiences through the special drawings for hunts offered through the department's Public Hunting Program.
During the upcoming hunting seasons, more than 5,000 hunters will be selected through random computer drawings allowing access to some of the state's high-quality managed wildlife habitat.
Wildlife management areas, state parks and leased private property will be offering quality supervised hunts for white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, javelina, alligator, exotics, feral hog and spring turkey.
Through an application process, hunters can select from among 28 different hunt categories and choose a preferred hunt date and location from 67 hunt areas stretching across the state. There's even a provision for hunting buddies to apply as a group -- in some cases four hunters can apply together on one application.
Eight free youth-only hunt categories are available to hunters who are between the ages of 8-16 at the time of application. All hunt positions are randomly selected in a computer drawing from all correctly completed entries received by the specified deadline.
A guided bighorn sheep hunt at a West Texas Wildlife Management Area will be offered this year depending on the availability of a bighorn sheep permit. There are also some unique guided hunt opportunities on Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, including hunts for antelope, waterbuck, white-tailed deer, scimitar-horned oryx and gemsbok.
Hunters who have been drawn in the special permit hunts are not required to use a tag off their hunting license on white-tailed or mule deer that are taken. The hunters will be issued the free TPWD Legal Deer Tag at the area when they bring their harvested animal to the check station. This will allow the public hunters additional opportunity to use their license tags.
The application fee for adult applicants in most of the public hunt drawings is $3 per adult person on the application. Successfully drawn hunters pay an additional Special Permit fee ($75-125 in most cases) for a one-to-four-day hunt.
Special Permit fees do not apply to drawn hunts for pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, guided hunts at Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and drawn hunts on private land. Guided hunts and private land hunts cost $10 per adult person on the application.
The application deadline for alligator hunts is Aug. 2. For pronghorn antelope hunts on the Rita Blanca National Grasslands north of Dalhart, the deadline is Aug. 17. Bowhunters also have until Aug. 17 to apply for special drawn public archery hunts. Deadline for the Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunt is August 31. Entries for the general (gun) season deer hunts must be received by Sept. 7.
Last year TPWD received 33,999 applications for the 5,737 positions offered in special drawn hunt categories.
Information and applications for Special Permit hunts are available on the Public Hunting Web site. Application booklets are currently being mailed to hunters who applied for special permit drawn hunts last year. The booklets will also be available at TPWD law enforcement offices in late July. Information about Special Permit drawn hunts can be found on-line or by calling toll free (800) 792-1112.
In addition to the drawn hunts, hunters can enter for the opportunity to win one or more of TPWD's Big Time Texas Hunts exciting hunt packages.
The BTTH program offers some of the finest guided hunts in the state. Proceeds from BTTH pay for wildlife conservation work and additional public hunting opportunities in Texas.
This year's BTTH line-up offers the following hunt packages:
--Texas Grand Slam -- one winner experiences a series of four separate hunts for desert bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.
--Texas Exotic Safari -- two winners get to hunt a choice of African big game species.
--Texas Whitetail Bonanza -- 10 winners and their hunting companions receive a high-quality 3-5 day white-tailed deer hunt.
--Texas Premium Buck Hunt -- one winner and a hunting guest get the chance to hunt mature trophy white-tailed deer.
--Texas Waterfowl Adventure -- one winner can bring up to 3 hunting guests on a coastal prairie goose hunt and East Texas and coastal duck hunts.
--Texas Big Time Bird Hunt -- one winner and guests will enjoy quality quail, pheasant, dove and turkey hunts in some of the best places Texas has to offer.
--Texas Gator Hunt -- a rare opportunity for a 3-day alligator hunt on the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area.
All Big Time Texas Hunts packages include food, lodging and a hunting guide. Some packages, such as the Texas Grand Slam and Texas Exotic Safari provide taxidermy of harvested game. For each BTTH hunt package, the winner can bring along one or more guests, and in some cases guests may also hunt or enjoy other benefits -- see the Web site or brochure for details.
Entries for the BTTH hunt packages are still only $10 and hunters can purchase them at any license vendor location or with a major credit card online or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Participants must be age 18 or older to enter and may apply as many times as they like. The deadline to apply in the BTTH drawings for 2006-07 is midnight Nov. 1.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
July 17, 2006
Master Naturalist Program Seeks Applicants
AUSTIN, Texas -- Fifteen chapters of the Texas Master Naturalist program are conducting fall training classes for volunteers wanting to help conserve our natural resources.
The Texas Master Naturalist program -- with 35 chapters -- develops a corps of well-informed citizen volunteers who educate local communities about the management of natural resources. The main qualification needed to become a Certified Texas Master Naturalist is an interest in learning and taking an active role in conservation.
Volunteers will receive a minimum of 40 hours of training from educators and specialists representing organizations such as universities, agencies, nature centers and museums. Training topics include interpretation and management of natural resources, ecological concepts, eco-regions of Texas and natural systems management.
Volunteers are expected to give 40 hours of service a year in community education, demonstration and habitat enhancement projects. They also are expected to pursue a minimum of eight hours of advanced training in areas of personal interest.
Texas Master Naturalist Chapters offering volunteer training this fall are listed with contact information. Enrollment is limited in most chapters. If a deadline has passed contact the chapter to see if seating is still available.
--Angleton -- Cradle of Texas Chapter. Training begins September 6 and applications are due August 25. For detailed information phone the Brazoria County Extension office, 979-849-1564, ext. 112 or email: r-tillman@tamu.edu
--Balmorhea -- Tierra Grande Chapter. Class begins September 8 with applications due June 30. For information contact: selfring@bigbend.net or call 432-364-2673.
--Burnet -- Highland Lakes Chapter. Classes begin September 7. For information phone 512-756-5463 or visit: http://hlmn.281.com/
--College Station -- Brazos Valley Chapter. Classes begin September 7 and registration is due August 7. More information is available by contacting jabates66@cox.net or call 979-774-6699.
--Denton -- Elm Fork Chapter. Classes begin September 5 and applications are due no later than August 25. For more information phone 940-349-2883, email: Donna.Wolfe@dentoncounty.com
--Fort Worth -- Cross Timbers Chapter. Classes begin August 29 and applications are due August 4. Phone 817-355-4832 or email: membership@ctmn.org
--Galveston -- Galveston Bay Area Chapter. Training begins August 24 and applications are due August 14. For complete details phone 281-534-3413, ext.3 or send email to: jmassey@ag.tamu.edu
--Houston -- Gulf Coast Chapter. Classes begin August 26 with applications due on August 11. Phone 281-855-5600 or email: gcmn@tamu.edu
--Junction -- Western Edwards Plateau Chapter -- Class begins in mid September with registration due September 1. For complete details contact scottr@ctesc.net or phone 325-475-2271.
--Kerrville -- Hill Country Chapter. Classes begin in August and applications are due in July. For specific information phone 830-257-2094 or email: jstmn@ktc.com
--La Grange -- A new chapter is being formed in Fayette County with plans to begin training September 18. Complete details are available by calling 979-249-6500 or email rafter_s_ranch@yahoo.com
--Navasota -- Another new chapter is developing in Grimes County and plans to offer training in the fall. Contact sarnold@ag.tamu.edu for information.
--New Braunfels -- Lindheimer Chapter. Classes begin November 7 and the application deadline is October 10. For information phone 830-620-3440 or email: nosko@gtvc.com
--Rosenberg -- Coastal Prairie Chapter. Training begins September 7 and applications are due July 31. For information phone 281-633-7042 or visit www.coastalprairie.org
--San Antonio -- Alamo Area Chapter. Classes start September 14 with applications due September 1. For information phone 210-698-2397 or email: http://www.alamomasternaturalist.org/
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Cooperative Extension co-sponsor the Texas Master Naturalist Program statewide. For more information about existing chapters or forming a new chapter contact Sonny Arnold, Assistant Program Coordinator, 111 Nagle Hall, 2258, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2258, call (979)458-1099 or Email: sarnold@ag.tamu.edu.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
July 17, 2006
West Texas Ranchers Aid in Falcon Reintroduction
VAN HORN, Texas -- On July 18, the Peregrine Fund, a non-profit organization based in Boise, Idaho, will resume its efforts to restore the endangered northern aplomado falcon to West Texas skies. With support from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Hawking Association and private ranchers, the Fund will release 28 captive-bred falcons.
The young falcons, about 35 days old, will be placed at "hack sites" on July 18 to become acclimated to their surroundings for several days before being released, a standard practice for falcon reintroduction.
At the release sites, falcons will be placed in protective boxes on top of hack towers and fed for five to seven days. The hack boxes will be opened for the birds to escape in late July or early August.
This will take place on the Moon Ranch, Miller Ranch and Rancho Del Cielo in Jeff Davis County.
"Our release efforts have been so successful in South Texas, with 46 aplomado falcon pairs now established there, that we are now concentrating all our releases in West Texas" said J. Peter Jenny, Peregrine Fund vice president. "The habitat in West Texas is excellent for this species and landowners have been extremely supportive of our reintroduction efforts. The pay off is we are now beginning to see falcon pairs establishing territories in West Texas. We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to release falcons on private ranches, made possible because of the Safe Harbor Program."
"As ranchers, we're looking forward to having aplomado falcons back in West Texas," said Jon Means, partner in the Means Ranch Company, which owns the Moon Ranch. "We've been partners in this program since 2002 and it's been a pleasure working with The Peregrine Fund folks."
The Means family has been ranching in West Texas for five generations.
The Texas Hawking Association is donating $1,000 to the Fund to support the West Texas aplomado falcon reintroduction project. The 200-member group includes people who train falcons and other birds of prey for hunting. (Falconers must have state and federal permits to practice their art.)
"To be a falconer is to be a conservationist," said Steve Oleson, Texas Hawking Association president. "As an organization, we want to do our part to help all species flourish. Our first target years ago was getting peregrine falcon numbers back up, and our members helped the Peregrine Fund with that successful effort. Now we're focusing on a Texas resident, the aplomado falcon. A few peregrines nest in Texas, but most just migrate through. The aplomado is here year-round. It's not a bird traditionally used in falconry, but we want to have them back as part of natural Texas, just to be able to see them on the wing."
"The key to this partnership is the private land stewards who are providing the habitat," said Robert L. Cook, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. "The work of the nonprofit partners and government biologists here is important, to be sure, but without ranchers willing to host falcon releases and protect habitat to support them, these beautiful birds would not be coming back in our state."
The release of aplomado falcons is being conducted under a "Safe Harbor" agreement between landowners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Peregrine Fund.
The agreement encourages private landowners to participate in the restoration of the endangered bird by exempting additional provisions or liabilities under the Endangered Species Act.
Property owners who maintain a baseline number of aplomado falcons and agree to the release of falcons would be free to use or develop other areas of their property, even if the use results in "incidental take" of a falcon. There are currently more than 2 million acres in Texas enrolled in the aplomado falcon Safe Harbor Program.
The aplomado falcon is the one remaining falcon on the endangered species list and a top priority of The Peregrine Fund.
By the 1950s, it was no longer found in the United States until 1995, when a pair of falcons raised and released by biologists from The Peregrine Fund nested. At the end of 2005, 46 pairs were known to exist in the wild, two of those on the Moon Ranch.
Since July 1, 2002, landowners in 42 western Texas counties have been eligible to sign on to the Safe Harbor Agreement. These include Andrews, Brewster, Cochran, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Dawson, Dimmit, Duval, Ector, Edwards, El Paso, Frio, Gaines, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Kinney, La Salle, Loving, Martin, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Starr, Sutton, Terrel, Terry, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, Webb, Yoakum, Winkler, Zapata, and Zavala Counties.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Brian Block, Executive Director Keep Austin Beautiful, (512) 391-0621, or brian@keepaustinbeautiful.org ]
July 17, 2006
Keep Texas Beautiful Honors TPWD Master Naturalists
AUSTIN -- Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) announced the winners of their annual awards, recognizing Texans' efforts to enhance their communities and protect the Texas environment. Winning groups are selected from throughout Texas, and three Austin groups -- including the Capital Area Master Naturalists -- were chosen for their outstanding commitment to improve the community in 2005-2006.
"The winning individuals, organizations and corporations have distinguished themselves as outstanding environmental stewards," said Lynn Lantrip, KTB President. "Through their dedication to community and environmental improvement, they have set examples for every Texan to follow to keep their community beautiful and clean."
Austin winners:
1st Place -- Business/Industry Awards
Winner: Austin City Limits Music Festival - honored for their innovative event recycling program that raises awareness about recycling through an interactive recycling sculpture, volunteer giveaways, and announcements.
Contact: Jody Goode, jgoode@planetcse.com, (512) 505-4401
1st Place (tie) -- Civic Organization Leadership Awards, Community Improvement
Winner: Capital Area Master Naturalists -- contributed more than 6,000 volunteer hours to the community in just 2005 with projects including trail maintenance, leading educational programs, conducting wildlife and plant surveys, constructing nesting boxes, and much more.
Contact: Jeri Porter, jerip@county.org, (512) 478-8753
3rd Place -- Youth Leadership Awards, Off-Campus Youth Group
Winner: American Youthworks -- Austin youth, ages 16 to 25, contributed a total of 123,500 hours to restoring and preserving public lands in 2005. Projects included constructing trails, leading corporate service days, and assisting with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Contact: Parc Smith, psmith@americanyouthworks.org, (512) 423-2887
Award winners were recognized during the 39th Annual Keep Texas Beautiful Conference, June 26-29 in Plano.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
July 17, 2006
Reward Offered in McLennan County Elk Dumping Case
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Game Wardens were asked by the McLennan County Sheriff's Office July 12, 2006, to assist in the investigation of the illegal dumping of nine elk carcasses in a field just off County Road 2311 near Tours in the northeast portion of the county.
A witness has provided a partial description of a vehicle and trailer seen at the location on Tuesday.
The eight cow elk and one young bull elk had no bullet wounds or other discernable injuries. Blood and tissue samples were collected at the scene by a veterinarian representing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). Test results have not been received.
Beyond the illegal dumping of the carcasses, of major concern is the illegal transport of the animals and the potential for introduction of disease, including Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into Texas.
CWD has not thus far been detected in Texas.
The TAHC imposes strict entry requirements for livestock and exotic hoofed stock entering the state. Since January 2006 TAHC regulations require radio frequency identification (RFID) and movement documentation on elk moved within the borders of Texas.
Additionally, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulations prohibit the transportation of white-tailed and mule deer into Texas.
Anyone with information about this case, or on the illegal movement of any elk or deer within Texas, is requested to report it via the Operation Game Thief REWARD HOTLINE - 800 792-GAME.
Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 upon conviction of the violator.
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