|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-02-17                                    |
|  This page contains only plain text, no HTML formatting codes.          |
|  It is not designed for display in a browser but for copying            |
|  and editing in whatever software you use to lay out pages.             |
|  To copy the text into an editing program:                              |
|    --Display this page in your browser.                                 |
|    --Select all.                                                        |
|    --Copy.                                                              |
|    --Paste in a document in your editing program.                       |
|  If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send            |
|  an e-mail to webtech@tpwd.state.tx.us and mention Plain Text Pages.    |

[ Note: This item is more than six 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: Robert Ramirez, Hunter Education Specialist, (972) 263-1219; robert.ramirez@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 17, 2011
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Hunter Education Instructors Needed
ATHENS -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will be conducting a free hunter education new instructor training workshop Saturday, March 12, 2011, in Waco. The workshop will be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 8451 Gholsen Road in Waco.
Instruction will be offered for new applicants and currently certified instructors in skills trail, live firing exercises and home study procedures. The training puts fun and exciting activities into the learning experience. Students will benefit by going through actual hunting simulations and by making their own decisions regarding responsible actions using "shoot-don't-shoot" scenarios.
Before attending this workshop, you must go to the following web site and prepare yourself by going over the instructor training manual. You will sign an acknowledgement and release that you have done this pre-workshop assignment as part of your training. The site is tpwd.texas.gov/learning/hunter_education/instruct.phtml.
Every Texas hunter born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education course. The hunter education program's goals are to reduce hunting-related accidents and violations; promote safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunting; and enhance hunting traditions and values.
Hunter education provides instruction in Texas hunting regulations, wildlife management and identification, conservation, ethics, firearm and hunting safety and responsibility and outdoor skills.
By understanding hunting through education, hunters and non-hunters alike will help make a bright future for the sport.
To register, contact TPWD Area Chief Brent Heath at (254) 722-5660 or heathconstruction@juno.com.

[ Note: This item is more than six 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: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Georgia Davis, Sebastopol House SHS, (830) 379-4833 or Georgia.davis@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 17, 2011
Toast to Texas at Sebastopol House to Honor Texas Founders
SEGUIN - Sebastopol House State Historic Site will host its 17th annual Toast to Texas on Wednesday, March 2, to pay tribute to the 59 men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence 175 years ago on that date in 1836 in the tiny Brazos River town of Washington.
More than 100 school children, townspeople and dignitaries are expected to attend the 1:30 p.m. toast with mineral water put on by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. There also will be a floral tribute to honor Texas heroes.
"It's a quite visually appealing event," says site Superintendent Georgia Ruiz Davis. "The local sheriff's mounted posse will deliver the official proclamation to Seguin Mayor Betty Ann Matthies and a middle school choir will be singing patriotic music to stir the soul."
The event will include a roll call of the names of delegates to the independence convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos and a reading of Texian Commander William B. Travis' letter to the delegates beseeching them to continue with their drafting of the declaration even as the Alamo was under siege from Mexican troops. The event is free and open to the public.
The 1856 Greek Revival-style home, built for Col. Joshua W. Young, is included in the National Register of Historic Places due to its unusual "limecrete" construction and architectural significance. Limecrete was an innovative form of 19th century concrete patented a Georgia physician who mixed gravel, water and lime to create an early type of concrete. The Sebastopol House is one of several Seguin landmark structures featuring limecrete construction.
Sebastopol House State Historic Site is located one mile south of Interstate 10 on Zorn Street off Alternate Route 90 (Court Street) in Seguin. It is one of 93 state parks and historic sites that make up the Texas State Park system. For more information about Sebastopol House, call (830) 379-4833. For general Texas State Park information, call 1-800-792-1112 or visit tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/.

[ Note: This item is more than six 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]
Feb. 17, 2011
Freeze Impacts hit Fish, Turtles along Entire Texas Coast
AUSTIN - Preliminary assessments by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department coastal fisheries biologists suggest the damage from back-to-back freeze events that impacted marine life from Galveston to Brownsville could have been much worse.
Forecasts of prolonged sub-freezing temperatures along the Texas coast during the first week in February had biologists bracing for major fish kills the likes of which had not been seen in more than two decades. A second, less severe freeze wave hit the Texas coast less than a week later.
Coastal fisheries populations suffered devastating losses during three freeze events in the 1980s, with combined estimates of more than 30 million dead fish. In the aftermath of the freezes of 2011, TPWD officials are breathing collective sighs of relief. Based on early findings, the total numbers of fish impacted will be above that seen during 2010 (51,000 fish killed along the mid and lower coast), 2004 (35,000 fish killed in the lower Laguna Madre) and 1997 (200,000-300,000 fish killed in the upper and lower Laguna Madre) freezes, but lower than the three freezes in the 80s (1983 and two in 1989).
Biologists suggest the total impacts from this year's fish kill in terms of numbers appear similar to the freeze of 1997, but the species makeup is drastically different. During 1997, spotted seatrout, black drum and red drum comprised roughly 75 percent of the impact. During this year's freeze, it appears more than 85 percent of the impacted fish are non-recreational species, like silver perch, hardhead catfish, and mullet. Of the recreational species impacted this year, black drum appear to make up a larger component with spotted seatrout, red drum, sand seatrout, sheepshead, whiting, snook, gray snapper, Atlantic croaker and gag grouper making up a much smaller percentage.
"It could be that most fish had time to escape to deeper water before the freeze hit," theorized Rebecca Hensley, TPWD coastal fisheries regional director. "We didn't see the beaches covered in ice and very large numbers of dead fish like during the '80s freezes."
Hensley also credits reduced mortality on game fish to conservation measures taken during the freeze, including a temporary fishing closure in deep water thermal refuges and voluntary stoppage of barge traffic in the lower Laguna Madre and through the land cut in the upper Laguna Madre.
"We appreciate the conservation ethic displayed by anglers during and immediately after the freeze when these fish were vulnerable," said Robin Riechers, TPWD director of coastal fisheries. "It definitely helped reduce fish mortality."
The recent freeze also saw a huge jump in the number of cold-stunned sea turtles recovered and the high survival rates. More than 1,500 sea turtles were recovered thanks to a massive network of volunteers and state and federal agency efforts.
"There were people out on the water gathering turtles immediately once the freeze hit and that made a huge difference," said Riechers. "Turtle survival has been fairly high compared to previous freezes."
In past years for similar coastal freezes, cold-stunned sea turtles in Texas have typically been held in captivity to recuperate for weeks until sea water temperatures rose. But two factors prompted Texas wildlife workers to return turtles to the wild faster this time. First, experts in Florida who've had similar recent experiences with cold-stunned turtles advised returning them to the water as soon as possible. Second, the sheer numbers of rescued turtles overwhelmed available facilities, so that many were on floors or wrapped in blankets, and experts say it's better for them to return to water as soon as possible.
Within days of rescue, sea turtles were returned en masse with volunteers forming assembly-line chains to shuttle turtles down to the water's edge on beaches near Corpus Christi and along the South Padre Island seashore.
Biologists say they won't know the full impact to coastal fisheries from the freeze until annual sampling surveys are conducted later in the spring.