|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-05-11                                    |
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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: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Tim Roberts, cultural resources coordinator, (432) 426-3897 or tim.roberts@tpwd.texas.gov ]
May 11, 2011
Lasers to be Used to Help Document, Preserve Ancient Rock Art
Project Beginning Soon at Seminole Canyon State Historic Site
COMSTOCK - Fragile and fading rock art painted thousands of years ago in rock shelters and caves by indigenous peoples at Seminole Canyon State Historic Site will soon benefit from the latest in laser technology.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, working in partnership with the National Park Service and SHUMLA Archeological Research and Education Center, has embarked on a technologically advanced program of documenting, monitoring, and preserving the rapidly deteriorating prehistoric rock art at Panther Cave.
Beginning on May 19 contractors at Seminole Canyon west of Comstock will employ LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) mapping techniques to create a 3-D map of Panther Cave, a large rock shelter just above the point where the canyon intersects the Rio Grande River along the banks of Lake Amistad. Panther Cave in Val Verde County is well-known for its dramatic Pecos River Style pictographs, including a large leaping cat and a number of anthropomorphic, or human-like, figures. The site is jointly managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and National Park Service.
Tim Roberts, TPWD's cultural resources coordinator for the region, says extremely detailed digital photos of the site's rock art will be overlaid onto a 3-D model of Panther Cave. The rock art site can be accessed by boat, but a chain link fence across the mouth of the shelter protects the fragile paintings within.
"The model will be used to help monitor the deterioration of the rock art and be available to visitors who are otherwise unable to access the site, initially at computer stations, at Seminole Canyon State Park and Amistad National Recreation Area," Roberts explains. "It also will be available to researchers at SHUMLA in Comstock and the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory."
The Panther Cave pictographs, which date as early as 4,300 years old based on available radiocarbon dates, have faced increased deterioration in recent years due to apparent increased wasp nesting activities and possibly higher humidity levels within the shelter since the impoundment of Lake Amistad in the late 1960s.
Each year thousands of visitors from all over the world find their way to the limestone canyons of the Lower Pecos River country. The main reason most visit is to see the large, vibrant, multicolored paintings of pictographs of shamans, animals and other fantastical figures decorating the walls and ceilings of rock shelters in the area. Guided tours are available to some of these sites, including one to the Fate Bell Shelter in Seminole Canyon State Historic Site, that requires a short hike down from the park's visitor center on the canyon rim.
"Scientists will be able to compare the imagery resulting from this project with previous photographs to monitor weathering and other damage to the pictographs," Roberts says. "LiDAR's accuracy will allow us over time to not only see differences in the rock art, but also to better quantify the damage."

[ 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]
May 11, 2011
Biologists Complete First Guadalupe Bass Stocking on South Llano River
Coalition to protect water quality for people and wildlife along entire watershed
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department inland fisheries biologists today completed the first stocking of Guadalupe bass in the South Llano River. The release of fish here marks a new chapter in a decades-long effort to save the state fish of Texas. It's also the first, prototype effort of a new watershed scale approach to water resource conservation in Texas.
Since 1992, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been stocking Guadalupe bass in the Guadalupe River system, trying to restore a balance that was upset when native Guadalupes started interbreeding with imported smallmouth bass. Interbreeding creates a hybridization problem where the native fish lose their genetic identity. In the South Llano, biologists have a chance to make a big difference.
"When we started in the Guadalupe River system almost 20 years ago, Guadalupe Bass hybridization there was already at 30 percent and worsening," said Gary Garrett, PhD, TPWD inland fisheries biologist and a leader of the agency's new watershed program. "But in the South Llano, samples show only 3 percent hybridization. We're starting this one early, and that's why we have such a great chance to nip the problem in the bud."
Today was the last of four fish releases done in recent weeks, totaling about 175,000 Guadalupe bass fingerlings going into the South Llano River this year. These are juvenile fish about 1.5 to 2 inches long.
But the restoration effort is broader. Led by TPWD, a diverse coalition is also planning to fight erosion and protect river water quality through tactics like riverbank stabilization with native plants, mimicking natural conditions by creating log complexes and tree root wads, and installing boulder complexes. An important goal is to re-do poorly designed road crossings that alter the riverscape and are often barriers to fish passage.
The restoration coalition will empower landowners by assembling and communicating Best Management Practices showcasing river protection tactics. The TPWD Landowner Incentive Program is offering grants to landowners to manage not only the river corridor but also uplands that drain into the river and affect water quality. A key partner is the South Llano Watershed Alliance, composed of riverside landowners and other stakeholders.
TPWD is even working with locals and applying for grants to create a new Texas Paddling Trail for kayakers and canoeists along the South Llano.
To help pay for all this, the agency has assembled close to $1.4 million in funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in-kind contributions from landowners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program, Texas State University, Texas Tech University at Junction, a federal State Wildlife Grant, a federal Sport Fish Restoration Grant, Anheuser-Busch, and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership.
The new South Llano River project fits under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, an effort to address an unseen crisis for fish nationwide: loss and degradation of their watery homes. It's also part of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, a multi-state regional collaboration whose work includes restoring native black bass like the Guadalupe bass across the southeastern U.S.A.
Natural history background information about the Guadalupe bass is in a .pdf brochure available on the TPWD website called "Guadalupe Bass: the State Fish of Texas."
NEWS PHOTOS showing the first Guadalupe bass stocking on the South Llano River are available as downloadable high resolution .jpg files in the news images area of the TPWD website. The news images group South Llano River Guadalupe Bass Stocking also contains a map showing the entire project area involving multiple Central Texas rivers.
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