|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-04-28                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
April 28, 2008
Texans Encouraged to Spend May 3 with the Frogs
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is urging Texans to go out next Saturday night -- out-of-doors, that is.
May 3 has been designated as "Record the Ribbit" night by the National Wildlife Federation. Citizens across the country are being encouraged to visit a wetland site after dark and listen for the sounds of frogs and toads calling. Data can then be entered online to allow biologists to compare amphibian activity all across the country.
Spring is a prime time for observing amphibians in Texas, because most frogs and toad species come to ponds, rivers, and other wetlands to breed on spring nights. The male frogs and toads "sing" in order to attract females to the wetland and to themselves. Each of Texas' 42 species has a unique song, from the booming of the bullfrog, to the clicking sound of the cricket frog, to the trills of the toads. "Record the Ribbit" asks volunteers to listen for some more of the common species in the state and then "record" the information on a data sheet.
Interested participants can learn what species occur in their area and what they sound like by consulting a printed field guide or an online site, such as "Herps of Texas." On May 3 they can choose to visit any site, such as a backyard ornamental pond, a local fishing pond, or a nearby stream or wetland. They can listen as long as they like, from five minutes up to several hours. Participants are encouraged to remember safety -- visiting in groups if necessary -- and to respect private property.
"'Record the Ribbit' is a fun way to introduce families and just ordinary citizens to the importance of monitoring our frog and toad species," said Lee Ann Linam, a biologist with TPWD and coordinator of Texas Amphibian Watch. "Many amphibian species around the world are in trouble. We hope that simply being outside experiencing the sounds of frogs and toads helps people appreciate the value of these species. But we also hope that experience will motivate people to learn more and to join some of the long-term volunteer monitoring efforts designed to conserve amphibians in Texas, such as Texas Amphibian Watch."
For more information on Record the Ribbit, including downloadable data sheets, visit the NWF Web site. For more information on Texas Amphibian Watch, including pictures and sounds of Texas frogs and Toads and a list of Texas Amphibian Watch training workshops, visit the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:
Herps of Texas: http://www.zo.utexas.edu/research/txherps/
Record the Ribbit (NWF): http://www.nwf.org/ribbit/
Texas Amphibian Watch: http://tpwd.texas.gov/trackers/

[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Ericka McCauley, Galveston Bay Estuary Program (281) 486-1246 or emccaule@tceq.state.tx.us; Aaron Reed, (512) 389-8046, aaron.reed@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 28, 2008
Habitat for Endangered and Threatened Birds Saved by Shoreline Restoration Project
HOUSTON -- Three priority bird species-the endangered Brown Pelican and threatened Reddish Egret and White-faced Ibis -- have been conserved thanks to an erosion-protection project on North Deer Island in West Galveston Bay. Project partners protected the highly populated bird nesting habitat by armoring approximately 1.7 miles of shoreline.
The most productive bird nesting island on the Texas Gulf coast, North Deer Island has experienced up to 10 feet of erosion per year. This project protects bird nesting habitat for these three and 16 other bird species.
"This island has been extremely important to the recovery of the Brown pelican in Galveston Bay. Based on a strong and healthy population, our agency has proposed removal of the Brown pelican from the endangered species list." said Benjamin Tuggle, Ph.D., Regional Director for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The project is part of the region's habitat conservation goals established by the Galveston Bay Estuary Program partnership, whose mission is to preserve the bay's economic and ecologic health. Partners worked for eight years to restore and protect North Deer Island's rapidly eroding shoreline. Erosion destroyed highly-productive habitat for up to 30,000 nesting pairs of birds using the island as well as nursery areas for commercially and recreationally important finfish and shellfish. The young produced here are likely the birds that everyone sees wading in marshes and bayous throughout the Houston-Galveston area.
Partners barged in 24,100 tons of rock from a quarry in Missouri-using the Mississippi River and the Intracoastal Waterway as a route-to create 6,450 feet of stone breakwater and armored shoreline. The planning, engineering, and construction costs for the eight-year endeavor totaled more than $3.2 million dollars.
"These group efforts demonstrate that by working together we can turn good ideas into tangible results," said Jamie Schubert, a biologist and project manager for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "These habitats are important to our economy. Fish and wildlife resources in Texas contribute over $8 billion to the economy. These resources also are part of our natural heritage and deserve our consideration for their intrinsic value. By protecting the island, we ensure that these benefits will be there for our children."
The large and diverse partnership includes Audubon Texas, EcoNRG, Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program, Houston Audubon Society, The Kempner Foundation, Meadows Foundation, Reliant Energy, Shell Marine -- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality -- Galveston Bay Estuary Program, Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Editors: a news conference and boat tour of the completed North Deer Island project will begin at 9 a.m., Friday, May 2, at the Moody Gardens boat dock in Galveston, Texas. Reporters and photojournalists will have the opportunity to speak to representatives from partner agencies and biologists as well as see first-hand thousands of breeding birds currently using the island. To reserve a spot on one of the boats, please contact Erick McCauley at (281) 486-1246 or (713) 859-0057 (mobile) or by email: emccaule@tceq.state.tx.us.