|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2009-04-28                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
April 28, 2009
TPWD Scoping Migratory Bird Issues at Public Hearings
AUSTIN, Texas -- In addition to public comment on proposed fee increases and dove hunting seasons, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is inviting input on a series of scoping issues related to migratory game birds during public hearings around the state.
TPWD is presenting proposals for adoption by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in late May that could increase certain license and boat registration fees. In addition, agency officials will present general waterfowl season framework options for the 2009-10 seasons and gather feedback on issues related to migratory game bird seasons in the future.
Changes proposed for the 2009-10 Texas dove season include a 70-day season and 15-bird daily bag statewide, pending adoption of federal guidelines. Additionally, the department is advancing a proposal to move the South Zone opening to the Friday nearest Sept. 20, but no earlier than Sept. 17, which means it will open on Sept. 18 this year if approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in late June.
The proposed dove season in the North and Central Dove Zones would run Sept. 1-Oct. 25 and reopen Dec. 26-Jan. 9, with a 15-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves.
Also during the public comment period, TPWD will be scoping calendar options for the additional 10 days of hunting in the North Zone for the 2010-11 seasons and beyond.
Because hunters in the North Zone have in recent years seen an uninterrupted 60-day season, the department wants public input on where to place the 10 additional days awarded under the Service's new adaptive harvest framework. Would hunters prefer a winter split and if so, when and for how long?
The proposed South Zone dove season would run Sept. 18-Nov. 3, reopening Dec. 26-Jan. 17 with a 15-bird bag and not more than two white-tipped doves. Possession limit is twice the daily bag for all migratory game birds except light geese, which currently does not have a possession limit.
The department will be scoping opinion on standardized closing dates for the South Zone, using the Sunday before the Martin Luther King Day national holiday.
TPWD is also seeking feedback on the dove bag limit increase in the Central and South Zones from 12 to 15 birds.
The Special South Texas Whitewing Area would open to white-winged dove afternoon-only (noon to sunset) hunting Sept. 5-6 and 12-13 and reopen Sept. 18-Nov. 3 and again from Dec. 26-Jan. 13. The daily bag limit is 12 birds, not more than four mourning doves during the first two weekend splits and 2 white-tipped doves. Once the general season opens, the aggregate bag limit will be 15.
TPWD wants to find out if hunters prefer a Friday or Saturday opener during the first two weekends in the special whitewing area or a combination of the two.
The Service is also reviewing a proposal to give TPWD the option to adjust a portion of the boundary of the special whitewing area. This potential change would remove portions of Jim Hogg and Starr counties. These areas are not as high a quality white-winged dove habitat as other portions of the area. If removed, these portions would fall under the South Zone dates and bag.
TPWD is proposing no changes to other early migratory game bird seasons other than to reflect calendar shifts.
If Texas gets a 16-day September teal season, the dates would be Sept. 12-27, while a nine-day season would run Sept. 19-27.
The proposed season for rail and gallinule is Sept. 12-27 and Oct. 31-Dec. 23; for snipe, Oct. 31-Feb. 14; and for woodcock, Dec. 18-Jan. 31.
Texas will likely revert this fall to the standard season and bag limit framework for the general waterfowl seasons, although there is a slim chance the Service could retain the Hunters Choice option. The department is presenting dates and bag limit possibilities based on the general framework under a liberal season package, as well as what the Hunters Choice season would resemble, however, one issue being scoped is the option for taking the duck season to the end of January or returning to the Sunday nearest Jan. 20.
The department will also scope public sentiment regarding the snow goose season structure for 2010-11 and its relation to the Light Goose Conservation Order, as well as bag limits on snow geese.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed fee changes and early migratory seasons at any TPWD public hearing, by visiting the TPWD Web site online comment section or by writing TPWD Public Comment, attn. Robert Macdonald, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or email robert.macdonald@tpwd.texas.gov.
Comments on scoping issues can be made at the public hearings, online or by contacting Dave Morrison, TPWD Waterfowl Program Leader, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744 or email dave.morrison@tpwd.texas.gov.
TPWD Public Hearing Schedule
All meetings are set for 7 p.m.
April 28
--Corpus Christi, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Natural Resource Bldg., Room 1003, 6300 Ocean Dr.
April 29
--Waco, McLennan County Courthouse, 1st Floor Commissioners Courtroom, 501 Washington St.
--Laredo, Camp Huisache, E. Hwy. 59.
April 30
--El Paso, State Bldg., Room 179, 401 E. Franklin.
May 1
--Houston, Eddie Gray Wetlands Center, 1724 Market St., Baytown.
--Kerrville, Upper Guadalupe River Authority Lecture Hall, 125 Lehman Dr.
May 4
--Midland, Martin Luther King Community Center, 2300 Butternut Ln.
--Bay City, Bay City Service Center, 2105 Avenue M.
May 5
--Ozona, Crockett County Courthouse, 909 Avenue D.
May 6
--Tyler, Smith County Courthouse, Central Jury Room, 100 N. Broadway.
--Brownsville, Cameron County Courthouse, 3rd Floor, 974 E. Harrison.
May 7
--Abilene, Abilene/Taylor County Law Enforcement Center, 450 Pecan St.
May 8
--Garland, Bass Pro Shop, (downstairs conference room) 5001 Bass Pro Drive.
May 11
--Amarillo, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd. W.
--Beaumont, Annex 1 Bldg., Ste. 200, 1225 Pearl.
May 12
--Wichita Falls, Times Record News Special Meeting Room, 1301 Lamar St.
May 13
--Lufkin, Angelina County Courthouse, District Courtroom, 215 E. Lufkin Ave.
--Hebbronville, Jim Hogg County Courthouse, District Courtroom, 2nd Floor, 102 E. Tilley.
May 14
--Alpine, Sul Ross University, Range Animal Science Bldg., Room 130, Hwy. 90 E.
May 15
--San Antonio, National Shooting Complex Clubhouse, 5931 Roft Rd.

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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: Nancy Herron, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, (512) 389-4362, nancy.herron@tpwd.texas.gov; John Spence, Texas Center for Service-Learning, (512) 420-0214, jspence@txcsl.org; Al Sommers, representing EnCana Corporation, (512) 330-0500, asommers@sommerspr.com ]
April 28, 2009
Healthy Habitat Grants Available for Texas Schools
Student Projects Will Help Implement Texas Wildlife Action Plan
AUSTIN, Texas -- The call is going out to public and private/nonprofit middle and high schools across the state: Texas Healthy Habitats Grants of up to $15,000 are now available from the Texas Center for Service-Learning, with applications due June 19. The grants will support students doing service-learning projects to benefit wildlife and the environment, made possible with a donation from EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
The grants program envisions students partnering with communities and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff and other experts to identify conservation needs and work together to come up with solutions. The students will address priorities in the Texas Wildlife Action Plan, a blueprint to "keep common species common" and avoid more species from becoming threatened and endangered.
The program builds on an existing partnership between TPWD and the Texas Center for Service-Learning (TCSL), a statewide initiative of the Texas Education Agency and the Region 14 Education Service Center. The center improves student achievement through service-learning, which integrates community service with academic success.
"Service-learning inspires students to learn," said John Spence, TCSL director. "Because the projects are designed by the students, this generates buy-in. Kids show up early and stay late to see their projects through. Teachers connect the project to their TEKS objectives, so projects help meet state education standards. Community experts are invited into the process, so the school-community relationship is strengthened."
Grant applications will be accepted through Friday, June 19. For assistance, applicants are invited to participate in Webinars hosted by TxCSL at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, April 23 and 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 22. Complete information is on the center's Web site, including grant application instructions and downloadable forms.
Through grant projects, students will draw on TPWD educational resources and use comprehensive service-learning standards to research and define a local environmental issue, investigate public and organizational policies related to the issue, design and implement a service-learning project in collaboration with at least two community partners (including TPWD staff), evaluate and publicize the results to public officials and community members, and develop Web profiles for each project that will be integrated into the TPWD and TCSL Web sites.
Grant applicants may ask for up to $15,000. The money may be used for supplies, substitutes, transportation and training. Requirements include a progress report and a final report, as well as evidence of impact, a Web profile of the work, and one day of training for grant recipients in Austin in August, before school starts. Program organizers expect students will likely plan projects in fall and do field work in spring.
Eligible schools include public (including charter) and private nonprofit schools (grades 6-12) applying to coordinate service-learning projects in a public, charter, or private institution, or nonprofit youth-serving organizations that work with public middle or high schools. Schools must have a Tax ID and be a middle or high school located in Texas. Private schools and nonprofits must have IRS 501(c)(3) status. Nonprofits applying for the grant must be working with students in middle or high school levels to qualify.
Earlier this year, EnCana Corporation donated $486,000 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. The donations supports the Healthy Habitats grants program, plus two other projects-control of giant salvinia and other invasive plants choking Toledo Bend reservoir in East Texas, and facilities for the new Texas Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County.
Since 1991, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has been the official non-profit partner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. By bringing together companies, corporations, communities and individuals, the foundation has raised more than $60 million benefiting a wide variety of projects.
EnCana is one of North America's largest independent natural gas producers. The company has a long history of supporting conservation and education causes. For the past two years EnCana has been on both the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the North American Index. Inclusion in these groups demonstrates high environmental, social, and business standards.
PHOTOS showing students doing service-learning projects similar to those they will eventually do with Healthy Habitats grants are in the EnCana Donation Projects news images group on the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
April 28, 2009
ShareLunker 471: It Ain't Over 'til It's Over
Choke Canyon Reservoir sends sixth ShareLunker of the season to Athens
ATHENS, Texas -- Don't count your chickens until they hatch, and don't close the books on the ShareLunker program until the last tick of the clock April 30.
With less than a week to go until the official close of the ShareLunker season, Sam Koebcke of Austin added another ShareLunker to Choke Canyon Reservoir's tally for the year, a 13.30-pound bass that stretched 26.75 inches long and 20.75 inches in girth.
The six ShareLunkers from Choke Canyon this season weighed a total of 85.31 pounds, an average of 14.21 pounds. The biggest fish of the year from the lake was a 15.45-pound lake record.
As a measure of Choke Canyon's performance, compare the 14.21-pound average with the average for Lake Conroe's four entries, 13.98 pounds; and the average for Lake Fork's four entries, 13.88 pounds.

[ Note: This item is more than eight 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]
April 28, 2009
Feral Hogs Not Tied to Swine Flu
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds hunters and trappers there is no indication of a human-animal disease relationship with swine flu and to continue to use common sense when handling feral hogs.
While there is no known threat of contracting swine flu from feral hogs, they do carry other potential hazards.
Due to the danger of contracting swine brucellosis, the Texas Animal Health Commission urges hunters and trappers to always wear a mask or bandana and gloves when handling feral swine during processing. Trappers or any producers who have pigs that are ill with respiratory infections should contact their veterinarian. Trappers or hunters that become ill should seek medical attention and inform their doctors they have been around pigs.
Safeguards for Hunters
--Wear gloves when dressing out hogs and dispose of gloves properly.
--No eating/drinking/smoking while doing so.
--Wear eye protection if there is risk of eye splashed with blood/other fluids.
--Wear coveralls over clothes or promptly change into fresh clothes after dressing animals.
--Wash hands and equipment thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
--Practice good handling/storage procedures with the meat.
--Properly cook the meat.
Information about Swine Flu
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
--People cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products. Most influenza viruses, including the swine flu virus, are not spread by food.
--Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
--No food safety issues have been identified, related to the flu.
--Preliminary investigations have determined that none of the people infected with the flu had contact with hogs.
--The virus is spreading by human-to-human transmission.
The CDC recommends the following measures to prevent the transmission of flu:
--Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
--Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
--Wash your hands frequently and use alcohol-based sanitizers.
--Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
--Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
--Try to stay in good general health.
--Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Detailed information and updates on the flu outbreak may be obtained at:
Texas Department of State Health Services http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/
If you own swine, consider the following practices to enhance the biosecurity on your farm to prevent the disease from being transmitted to your herd:
-- Workers should shower and change into farm-specific clothes and shoes before entering swine facilities.
-- Establish, implement and enforce strict sick leave policies for workers presenting influenza-like symptoms.
-- Recommend that workers with symptoms be seen by a medical provider immediately.
-- Restrict the entry of people into your facility to only workers and essential service personnel.
-- Prevent international visitors from entering your facilities.
-- Ensure adequate ventilation in facilities to minimize re-circulation of air inside animal housing facilities.
-- Vaccinate pigs against the influenza virus. Vaccination of pigs can reduce the levels of virus shed by infected animals
-- Contact your swine veterinarian if swine exhibit flu-like or respiratory illness, especially if the onset or presentation of the illness is unusual.
-- Notify your Texas Animal Health Commission area office or the Austin headquarters at 800-550-8242, after you have contacted your veterinarian.
The Texas Animal Health Commission is ready to assist with on-farm investigations, if pigs are present where a known human case has occurred, and to assist with epidemiological investigations with any human cases that may have links to swine in Texas.
On the Net:
National Pork Producers Council: http://www.nppc.org/
Texas Pork Producers Association: http://www.texaspork.org/