|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-04-18                                    |
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[ 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: Jeff Henson, (979) 204-4767; jeff.henson@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 18, 2011
Catfish Stockings in Houston-area Lakes to Begin the Week of April 18
ATHENS--Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will begin stocking channel catfish the week of April 18 into two Houston-area lakes that are part of the Neighborhood Fishin' program.
The two sites are located at Mary Jo Peckham Park, 5597 Gardenia Lane,in Katy and Tom Bass I Park, 3452 Fellows Road,in South Houston. Stockings will take place every two weeks until the end of October, except during the month of August.
Stockings are planned for the following weeks: April 18; May 2, 16 and 30; June 13 and 27; July 11 and 25; September 5 and 19; and October 3, 17 and 21.
Exact dates for stocking may vary and are not announced in advance in order to spread fishing pressure over the entire week.
Anyone 17 years or older needs a fishing license to fish at the Neighborhood Fishin' locations, and anglers can use no more than two poles while fishing. The bag limit for channel catfish is five fish per day with no minimum length limit.
Neighborhood Fishin' is a cooperative effort between TPWD and local cities to promote fishing in community fishing lakes. Neighborhood Fishin' is supported by local government partners and the Toyota Texas Bass Classic Foundation. For more information visit http://www.neighborhoodfishin.org.

[ 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 ] [TH]
April 18, 2011
Texas Giant Salvinia Effort Reaches Boaters, Raises Awareness
TPWD Continues To Fight Invasive Plants, Gears Up for Zebra Mussels
AUSTIN - Survey results show last year's giant salvinia public awareness campaign by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reached more than half of boaters living within 60 miles of four East Texas lakes targeted in the effort and that 96 percent of those boaters said they were "more likely to clean their boat, trailer or gear as a result of seeing information or advertising."
Giant salvinia is usually spread unknowingly by people moving their boats from lake to lake. The plant "hitches a ride" on boats, motors and trailers. The invasive plant was first discovered in Texas in a small pond near Houston in 1998. It has been reported in 17 Texas lakes, including some of the state's most popular recreational water bodies: Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn, Caddo Lake, Sheldon Lake, Lake Texana and Lake Conroe.
Last spring's "Hello Giant Salvinia, Goodbye Texas Lakes" campaign media buy generated more than 28.5 million audience impressions amongst boaters, anglers and the general public. Efforts included floating messages on buoys near key boat ramps, fish measuring rulers with campaign messages, online web banner ads, social media, gasoline "pump toppers" and billboard ads near key lakes, and even an amusing TV ad featuring "salvinia monster" trying hitch a ride with a hapless boater.
Given the success of the salvinia awareness effort, the department is now considering a similar initiative for zebra mussels, another serious invasive threat that is not yet widespread in Texas. The non-native mussels multiply rapidly and attach themselves to boats, piers, cables and other objects. Zebra mussels can block water treatment plant intakes and pipes, as well as cause declines in fish populations, native mussels, and birds.
"We are actively seeking partners to help make a zebra mussel awareness campaign a reality," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. "Although currently only established in Lake Texoma in Texas, this exotic invader is on the doorstep of the Metroplex region and could eventually spread throughout the Trinity River system toward Houston."
Meanwhile there has been some good news in Texas regarding giant salvinia. Herbicide applications by TPWD and its partners, plus two cold winters that froze plants back, and a rainy high water year in 2010 that killed or flushed out invasive plants, have caused a decline in Texas lake surface acres infested by exotic plants.
On Caddo Lake, for example, giant salvinia increased from less than 100 acres in 2007 to almost 1,100 acres in 2008, reaching more than 3,000 acres by fall 2009. Fortunately, giant salvinia coverage on Caddo dropped to approximately 600 acres in spring 2010. Similarly, invasive water hyacinth on Caddo was estimated at 1,354 acres in fall 2008, was near 2,000 acres in 2009, but decreased to 720 acres by 2010.
However, experts expect that eventually the exotic plants will come back and once again pose greater threats, possibly this summer when warmer weather creates ideal growing conditions.
While TPWD and others continue public awareness efforts, mechanical or physical controls and the application of EPA-approved herbicides to control invasive plants, potentially promising bio-control efforts are also underway.
That includes plans to raise large numbers of salvinia weevils to eat the plant on Caddo Lake and other affected Texas waters. This bio-control agent from South America has helped reduce salvinia populations on several continents. Through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, salvinia weevil rearing facilities have been constructed in Karnack and Jasper to mass-produce the insects for ultimate release.
Funds made available through U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made possible the newly formed Center for Invasive Species Eradication to be managed by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The center is a partnership between AgriLife, USFWS, TPWD, the Caddo Lake Institute, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Louisiana State University, among others. The facilities managed through this partnership should help increase the numbers of insects needed to control salvinia populations in Texas and Louisiana.
On the Net:

[ 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 ] [RM]
April 18, 2011
With Help from Other Agencies, TPWD Firefighters Minimize Damages to State Parks in North and West Texas
AUSTIN - Despite the concerted efforts of dozens of state and federal firefighters, a wind-whipped wildfire that has raged for days in North Texas and grown to more than 40,000 acres roared through Possum Kingdom State Park Sunday afternoon, burning 90 percent of the 1,500-acre park. No one was injured and no structures were lost, though minor damage to one cabin and linen building was reported.
A strike team, assisted by Texas State Park firefighters, battled the inferno most of the weekend, managing to protect park facilities and two residential communities adjacent to the park, which is located about 70 miles west of Fort Worth in Palo Pinto County. Agencies fighting the fire included TPWD, Texas Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service firefighters, assisted by Smokey Bear Hotshots and National Guard Blackhawk helicopters.
As the fire raced through the park shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, non-essential personnel boarded boats at the park boat ramp and retreated to the safety of 20,000-acre Possum Kingdom Lake, according to Jeff Sparks, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's state parks wildland fire program manager. The fire front moved past the park, but Sparks says firefighters remain on the scene mopping up and monitoring the situation due to the possibility of a re-ignition in thick juniper canopies.
The PK West Fire that hit Possum Kingdom State Park at one point had threatened 200 homes and destroyed 31 residences near the lake. By Sunday afternoon, the Texas Forest Service reported the PK West Fire in Stephens County had burned into Palo Pinto County's Hohertz Fire and remained uncontained. It is one of dozens of wildfires affecting more than a million acres across Texas. As a result, Gov. Rick Perry this morning asked for a federal disaster declaration for Texas.
Last week, the Rockhouse Fire in the Davis Mountains of West Texas burned 675 acres within Davis Mountains State Park. Only minimal damage to park structures was reported. Historic Indian Lodge escaped damage. The state park remains a base of operation for hundreds of firefighters battling the Rockhouse Fire that has consumed 187,000 acres in Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties. It was reported Sunday as being 70 percent contained.
Two other Texas state parks being threatened by wildfires - San Angelo State Park and Lake Arrowhead State Park near Wichita Falls - so far, have stayed out of harm's way.
With more than 80 percent of the Wichita County Complex Fire contained as of Saturday, it appeared Lake Arrowhead State Park was safe from any fire threat, although firefighters were setting up to protect Sheppard Air Force Base.
San Angelo State Park, however, remains under threat as the Wildcat Fire had quadrupled in size over the weekend to more than 125,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained. San Angelo State Park firefighters were called to assist with the fire approximately 15 miles northwest of the state park.
Texas wildfire danger remains extreme due to persistent drought and windy conditions. On Saturday, the Texas Forest Services responded to 28 new fires burning almost 15,000 acres. Burn bans are in effect in 195 Texas counties.
TFS reminds everyone to:
-- Obey outdoor burn bans. Don't burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy.
--Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark.
--To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850.
--Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires. Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.

[ 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 ] [LH]
April 18, 2011
Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center May 7
ATHENS--The annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. May 7.
The event will feature performances of traditional Mexican dances in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center beginning at noon. Athens area elementary students will perform at noon followed by Tyler Ballet Folklorico at 1:00 p.m. and the children's Tyler Ballet Folklorico at 3:00 p.m.
Athens area restaurants will compete in a salsa contest, which will be judged at 2:00 p.m. Visitors will be able to sample the entries as well.
The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center will do walk-around displays of birds including owls and hawks throughout the day. Visitors will be able to see the birds at close range and learn about their abilities and habits.
Food vendors will include El San Luis Restaurant, Ted Kamel Foods and Crazy Crawcajun among others.
In contrast to prior years, there will be no evening activities.
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the joint heritage and history of Texas and Mexico. It honors an important victory of the Mexican army, led by Texas native Ignacio Zaragoza, over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory helped preserve Mexican independence.
More information on Zaragoza can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignacio_Zaragoza.
Sponsors of the event include Citizens National Bank, Red Hat Rentals, FutureMatrix, Inc., East Texas Medical Center, Schneider Electric, KCKL, Athens Chamber of Commerce, Aaron's Sales and Lease, First State Bank, Lilly Enterprises--McDonalds, and Texas Trust Credit Union. The Athens Key Club will decorate the Hart-Morris Conservation Center for the event.
For more information on the event contact James Booker at (903) 670-2266, james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov. Se habla espaƱol.
For information on the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, call (903) 676-2277 or visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/tffc.