|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-06-15                                    |
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: James Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 15, 2010
Artist Exhibitors Sought for "Art's Better Outside" Expo in Athens
ATHENS--The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and Wildlife Forever invite artists to show, sell and demonstrate their art on Saturday, July 17, 2010, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, 75 miles southeast of Dallas.
The art show and sale will be in conjunction with the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest national expo, which will be attended by student artists from around the nation.
Artists are encouraged to actively demonstrate their craft or offer a hands-on art-related activity for the visiting public.
To learn more about becoming involved in the event, please contact Jim Booker at (903) 670-2266, or e-mail james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov.
For information on the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, visit http://www.statefishart.com/.

[ 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: Charlene Hons, (281) 534-0149, charlene.hons@tpwd.texas.gov; or Lance Robinson, (281) 534-0101; lance.robinson@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 15, 2010
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Commercial Fishermen Aid in Restoring Galveston Bay Oyster Reefs
HOUSTON - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Coastal Fisheries Division and commercial oyster fishermen are working together to restore about 2,000 acres of oyster reefs damaged by Hurricane Ike. More than half the bays reefs, about 8,000 acres, were smothered by sediment deposits when Hurricane Ike made landfall in September 2008.
About 180 fishermen have signed on to assist in restoration efforts taking place during the next couple of months. Fishermen are being hired to use their boats and fishing gear to pull dead shell out of the sediment, thereby providing a surface for oyster larvae to attach and grow. Re-exposing the buried shell will provide the hard substrate oyster larvae require. It will take 18 to 24 months for newly settled oysters to reach a legal size of three inches.
Besides the valuable commercial fishery a healthy oyster population supports, restoring oyster reefs to Galveston Bay is critical to the overall health of the ecosystem. Oysters feed by filtering tiny plants known as phytoplankton from the water. This filter feeding also removes silt and contaminants from the water, making oysters nature's bio-filters. Oyster reefs also provide habitat for numerous bottom dwelling fish and invertebrates that are in turn food for larger game fish. Scientists refer to these various functions of oyster reefs, including providing product for the commercial fishing industry, as "ecosystem services."
Funding for this project comes from a federal fisheries disaster grant to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through the National Marine Fisheries Service. This project will provide benefits to the ecosystem and to both the recreational and commercial fisheries in Galveston Bay.

[ 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 ]
June 15, 2010
Emergency Pumping Prevents Sinking of Battleship Texas
A rag and a backup pump kept the storied battleship Texas from sinking in its mooring at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site over the weekend, according to state park officials.
"This worrisome incident, which we fortunately succeeded in bringing under control, underscores the importance of moving forward rapidly with plans to place the Texas in a dry-berth," said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. "I'm just glad our folks at the park showed a lot of resourcefulness in preventing the situation from getting out of hand."
The 1914-vintage battleship, a veteran of both world wars, is the last of its kind. She's been moored at the San Jacinto Battleground since 1948. Her hull was last repaired in the late 1980s and has since become dangerously weakened from years of exposure to the brackish water of the Houston Ship Channel.
Last Thursday, according to park manager Andy Smith, a park employee leaving for the day noticed that the ship appeared to be sitting a bit lower in the water than normal. When he returned to work the next morning, the ship was noticeably lower. In fact, the lower portion of the collar of one of the monopiles attached to the vessel was about a foot under water, meaning the ship had sunk some two to three feet overnight.
When park staff checked below deck, they discovered a previously unknown leak on the starboard side of the ship, near the waterline in the vicinity of frame 80. Water also was found building up in the aft steering compartment of the ship.
A pump in that compartment had burned out, according to the park manager, causing the ship to take on more water than normal. That, in turn, pulled a seam separation below the water line, in effect causing another leak. The broken pump was replaced with a backup, and other pumps were employed.
By the end of the day Saturday, some 105,000 gallons of water had been pumped from the ship, which rose to its normal level. As a temporary fix, a rag was stuffed in the starboard leak, which is now above the waterline.
"Currently, a rag and pumps are keeping her afloat," said Justin Rhodes, regional director of the area that includes the San Jacinto site. "The sooner we get her out of the water, the better."
In 2007, as part of Proposition 4, voters approved a bond package that included $25 million to dry-berth the battleship. The Battleship Texas Foundation will be providing another $4 million. And last March, the Legislative Budget Board approved the sale of bonds "contingent on the ship being dry berthed in its current location."
Plans are in progress to dry-berth the ship. TPWD recently selected an engineering firm to design the dry berth and is currently negotiating design fees. After that, the team will develop a project plan and construction schedule. Current plans are to complete the dry-berth by 2014, the centennial of the ship's commissioning.
"Given what happened recently, we are eager to proceed with this project," Carter Smith said. "We're not going to let the passage of time do what two world wars could not do, which is scuttle the Battleship Texas."