|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-05-27                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
May 27, 2010
Panhandle Rancher Jim Bill Anderson Receives 2010 Leopold Conservation Award for Texas
AUSTIN -- A lifelong passion for preserving prairie land seeded by a high school summer job that didn't turn out quite like he expected has earned Panhandle rancher Jim Bill Anderson the 2010 Leopold Conservation Award for Texas, a prestigious recognition conferred by Sand County Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as part of its Lone Star Land Steward Awards program.
"As Mr. Anderson puts it, he believes in 'partnering with the prairie," says Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. "To visit his ranch is to travel back in time for a glimpse of the Canadian River country pretty much the way it was when Spanish explorers first trekked across the Panhandle. It is hard to imagine a more deserving recipient of this award than Jim Bill Anderson."
The 59-year-old Anderson received a $10,000 check along with a crystal trophy at the annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards banquet in Austin on May 26. He said he plans to use the money toward developing an interpretive center on his ranch so everyone from school children to fellow ranchers can learn about voluntary conservation techniques and the ecosystem of his part of Texas.
The TPWD Land Steward program is partnered with Sand County Foundation, an international non-profit organization devoted to private land conservation. The Leopold Conservation Award in Texas is sponsored by the Bradley Fund for the Environment and Silver Eagle Distributors.
Located on the Canadian River in Hemphill County, the 5,000-plus acre Anderson Ranch has been in Anderson's family since 1946, when his grandfather J.O. Wells bought it. Though his forebears also had a high regard for the land, since Anderson assumed full control of the ranch in 1981, he has restored its native grasses, eradicated water-sucking invasive plant species, managed its quail, Rio Grande turkey, white-tail deer and the rare lesser prairie chicken while operating a working cattle ranch.
Anderson won his first conservation-related recognition in 1965, when as a Boy Scout he earned a merit badge in soil conservation and nature. But it was an experience two years later that really proved transformative.
"When I was a sophomore at Canadian High School, I got hired for the summer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southern Plains Research Station in Woodward, OK.," Anderson recalls. "I loaded up two young horses thinking I would be spending the summer working as a cowboy, but I spent most of my time crawling on my hands and knees collecting native grass clippings for analysis. That probably woke me up as much as anything to the importance of land stewardship, a term I like better than conservation."
After graduating from high school, Anderson left the high plains for the piney woods of East Texas, studying business at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. But after the death of his father in 1974, he returned to Canadian and began managing the family ranch.
In 1981, he built a house on the ranch and devoted his full attention to running the ranch and 38,000 leased acreage. Slowly he began buying out the various family members who owned parts of the ranch, finally completing its reunification two years ago.
The Leopold Conservation Award honors the legacy of Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), considered the father of wildlife ecology. His collection of essays, "A Sand County Almanac," remains one of the world's best-selling natural history books. Leopold's godson, Reed Coleman, formed Sand County Foundation in 1965 to protect the Leopold farm from encroaching lot development along the Wisconsin River.
"Jim Bill Anderson has transformed an average Texas Panhandle ranch into a world-class ranch that earns his family a living while allowing wildlife and native grasses to flourish. Anderson's tireless efforts to sustain and improve his part of Texas makes him more than worthy of being honored with an award named for Aldo Leopold," said Brent Haglund, Ph.D., Sand County Foundation president.
In nominating Anderson for the award, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist John Hughes (formerly based in Canadian but now assigned to the Denver area), cited several factors in demonstrating the rancher's achievements as a steward of the land:
--Use of adaptive management principles, including wildlife survey-based decisions in livestock rotation. He also uses hunting and prescribed burning to assure the health of his land.
--Through his stewardship, he provides healthy habitat for the endangered least tern, the threatened Arkansas River shiner and the lesser prairie chicken. Populations of these species has either increased or been stabilized on Anderson's ranch as a result of his management.
--A willingness to be innovative, one example being grazing criollo cattle along his ranch's river bottom land during the dormant season. That helped rejuvenate stagnated grasslands and encouraged new growth of cottonwood trees, a native species along the Canadian River.
--In addition to his land management work, he has reached out to neighbors and various conservation groups, government agencies and economic development organizations to promote land stewardship and ecotourism.
--Finally, Anderson worked with the Texas Agricultural Land Trust to place a perpetual conservation easement on his property.
"There shouldn't be a wall between running livestock and promoting wildlife," Anderson says. "Good land management benefits both."
Sponsors for the 15th annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Partners in Fish and Wildlife Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, H. Yturria Land and Cattle Company, Texas Wildlife Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Lower Colorado River Authority, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, and Llano Springs Ranch, Ltd.
More information about the award, including how to nominate property owners, is on the TPWD Web site. Nominations are accepted June 1 through Nov. 30 each year for the following year's awards program.
On the Net:
Video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htPsmSLeQuw

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
May 27, 2010
TPWD Extends Redfish Bay Seagrass Protection
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) extended indefinitely the protection of seagrass within the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area (RBSSA) by a vote taken during Thursday's Commission meeting. This ruling removes the termination date of the state scientific area designation and thus extends the "no uprooting seagrass with a boat propeller" law in the area.
Shallow-water seagrass meadows are among the most productive marine habitat types on earth, next to coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves. They provide many ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling which can prevent large-scale algal blooms, sediment stabilization promoting water clarity and preventing erosion, and oxygenation of the water column and sediment. Seagrasses form the foundation of the food web as well as protection and shelter for larvae, juvenile and adult finfish and shellfish, and thus, help sustain multi-million dollar fisheries in Texas.
Extensive field studies were conducted by Coastal Fisheries staff that demonstrated the current rule has been effective. The research biologists counted propeller scars along transects located in the north and south ends of Redfish Bay during the summers of 2005-2009. The number of scars counted in the transect study decreased 45 percent during that period. Coastal Fisheries also used aerial photography to monitor propeller scarring at the north end of Redfish Bay. High resolution imagery was acquired in 2007, 2008, and 2009 and the analysis confirmed a reduction in scarring of seagrass habitat in the area.
Redfish Bay was designated a state scientific area in 2000 for the purpose of education, scientific research, and preservation of flora and fauna of scientific or education value. When the state scientific area came up for its five-year renewal in 2005, TPWD changed the rule to prohibit the uprooting of seagrass in the area. At that time Coastal Fisheries launched a comprehensive outreach and education campaign regarding the change in regulation and the importance of seagrass. Efforts included presentations to constituency groups, local elected officials, media personnel and scientific organizations; publishing of magazine and newspaper articles; radio and television spots including "Lift, Drift, Pole, Troll" public service announcements; and installation of informational signs around the perimeter, within the local area, and at the nine boat ramp entry points of RBSSA. In addition, a curriculum about boating in seagrass meadows was inserted into Boater Education courses taught throughout the state. A webpage was developed for the TPWD website providing the public with information regarding seagrasses, the current regulation as well as downloadable files of signage and maps detailing RBSSA.
In order to assess the effectiveness of the combined education and outreach efforts to date in RBSSA a survey of the boaters using the area was conducted. One survey took place in 2006 before the regulation went into effect and the other occurred this past winter. Results of the 2010 survey showed that 86 percent of respondents were aware of the regulation, while 85 percent of those respondents reported that their boating behavior had changed in RBSSA due to the regulation. The most common way they changed their boating behavior was by avoiding known shallow areas.
Comments received at the two public hearings held in April were in favor of continuing these conservation efforts in Redfish Bay. In addition, constituents showed interest in possible expansion of seagrass protection to other areas of the Texas coast.
Coastal Fisheries Division Director Robin Riechers assured the commissioners that the regulation will be reviewed periodically like all regulations to determine how well it is working or to determine if any changes are needed.
For more information on seagrass and boating in the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, see the Seagrasses pages on the TPWD Web site.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: James Booker, (903) 670-2266 ]
May 27, 2010
National Fishing Day June 5 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS, Texas -- The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens will kick off National Fishing and Boating Week by making a family fishing trip affordable with free admission for kids 12 and under plus free fishing for the whole family and free hot dogs and drinks from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 5.
Each child will receive a free raffle ticket good for prize drawings at 3 p.m. in the Anglers Pavilion; those drawn must be present to win.
In addition to fishing, visitors can walk the wetlands trail; see a diver hand feed fish; learn about the history of fishing in the freshwater fishing museum; shop for a Father's Day gift in the Flat Creek Bait 'n Goods Gift Shop and watch the alligator feeding at 3:30 p.m.
The TFFC Fishing Festival is sponsored by Athens Wal-Mart Supercenter, Ernie Yarborough, Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and Cole's Air-Conditioning and Appliance.
National Fishing and Boating Week comes at the start of the summer vacation season and is designed to encourage families to spend time together on and around water. No fishing license is required anywhere in the state on the first Saturday in June, which is designated Free Sportfishing Day.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is an aquatic nature center and hatchery complex operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It is located 75 miles southeast of Dallas and four miles east of Athens on F.M. 2495. Dive shows take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Hours are 9 to 4 Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 4 Sunday. Usual admission is adults, $5.50; seniors, $4.50; children 4-12, $3.50. For information go to tpwd.texas.gov/tffc/ or call (903) 676-2277.

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Texas--Larry Hodge, (903) 670-2255, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov; Oklahoma--Micah Holmes, (405) 522-4872; mholmes@odwc.state.ok.us ]
May 27, 2010
Boaters and Anglers Urged to Help Curb Spread of Zebra Mussels from Lake Texoma
Invasive species can damage fisheries, boats, water treatment plants and pipelines
ATHENS--Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) officials are asking all users of Lake Texoma to assist in stopping the spread of invasive zebra mussels to other water bodies in Texas and Oklahoma.
"Zebra mussels have become well established in Lake Texoma after having been introduced into the lake by boats trailered in from other states," said Brian Van Zee, regional director for TPWD's Inland Fisheries Division.
In addition to being found in Lake Texoma, zebra mussels have been introduced into lakes in the Arkansas River drainage in Oklahoma.
"Zebra mussels have the ability to attach to any hard surface left in the water--boat motors, docks, pipes and even cans and bottles," Van Zee continued. "The larval stage of zebra mussels can also be carried in water left in livewells or bait buckets."
Boats being transported from Lake Texoma to other water bodies pose the greatest threat of spreading zebra mussels to other water bodies. At present the only way to deal with that is for boat owners to be responsible and to inspect, clean, drain and dry their boats before moving them from Lake Texoma to another lake.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking anyone transporting a vessel that has been used on Lake Texoma to another water body to take the following precautions. (1) Clean all vegetation, mud, algae and other debris from the boat and trailer. (2) Drain all water from the motor as well as the livewell, bilge, bait buckets and any other compartments or systems that hold water. (3) Dry the vessel and associated equipment for a minimum of 7 to 10 days during the months of May through October or for 15 to 20 days from November through April. These drying times are approximations, and conditions such as cooler air temperatures, higher humidity and whether or not the vessel is kept in dry storage should be considered. These are the easiest preventive measures that boat owners can do to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels.
However, boats and other vessels that have been kept on Lake Texoma for an extended period of time and are infested with zebra mussels may require additional cleaning procedures. Power-washing with water at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit and flushing the motor, bilges, live-wells and other water intake systems with 140-degree water will kill zebra mussels. To be effective the water coming out of the flushed systems needs to reach 140 degrees to ensure the entire system was exposed to water hot enough to kill the mussels.
If it is not possible to clean the internal systems or compartments using 140-degree water, the use of either straight vinegar or a chlorine bleach and water solution (one-half ounce bleach to one gallon water) can be effective at killing zebra mussels as long as the mixture is kept in contact with the mussels for 20 to 30 minutes. Clean water should be used to flush the chemicals and dead mussels from the boat following treatment. Boat owners should check with their manufacturer to be sure using these chemicals will not void their warranty.
Large vessels with complex water intake systems such as those used for cooling the engine, air conditioning or personal sanitation may require decontamination by a boat mechanic or marina.
A video showing how to decontaminate a boat can be viewed at http://100thmeridian.org/Video/Clean.asp. Additional information on zebra mussels and other invasive aquatic species in Texas is at www.texasinvasives.org.
Information and videos on the Lake Texoma zebra mussel infestation can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Parks-and-Wildlife-Inland-Fisheries-District-2A/127480703935872?v=wall&ref=ts. This Facebook page will be updated with additional information on Lake Texoma as it becomes available.
Since zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Texoma, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) has suspended pumping water from Lake Texoma to Lake Lavon, which supplies their water treatment plant in Wylie, said Denise Hickey, public relations coordinator for NTMWD. "While zebra mussels do not have a negative impact on the quality of water supplied to our customers, they can clog pipelines and equipment, greatly increasing maintenance costs," Hickey said.
"Zebra mussels are very good at filtering out the zooplankton and phytoplankton that are the basis of the aquatic food chain for fish and other aquatic organisms," Van Zee said. "Zebra mussels have the potential to impact the valuable fisheries in Lake Texoma and other lakes. Because of the damage they can do to water pipelines, water treatment plants and anything left in the water, they are a potential problem for everyone in Texas, not just anglers and boaters."
Under the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Penal Codes, possession or transporting of zebra mussels in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, jail time up to 180 days, or both.
On the Net: