|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-06-07                                    |
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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: Larry Hodge, (903) 670-2255; larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov; James Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 7, 2011
State-Fish Art Contest Show and Fair at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center June 25
ATHENS--The 13th annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Expo comes to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center June 25, and a full slate of art- and fishing-related activities is planned.
Headlining the show is the display of 2011's best student-rendered artwork of fishes. Students from across the nation will gather in Athens to compete for national honors and receive awards for winning their state contests.
In keeping with the "Art's Better Outside" theme of the event, visitors can dine on fair-type food, fish in the stocked casting pond, watch artists demonstrate their skills or shop for a piece of art to hang over the sofa.
Visitors may view all the artwork in the Hart-Morris Conference Center and then vote for their favorite as the People's Choice Award. Every piece of art on display was a winner at the state level in the annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.
Visiting artists will be displaying their art--which can be purchased--as well as demonstrating techniques. Nationally known landscape artist Bruce Piel will be a featured artist at the event. Piel maintains a studio in the Athens area.
The Henderson County Art Club is sponsor for the event, and a number of its members will be displaying their work and skills in the TFFC Visitor Center. Other artists will be offering activities and exhibiting their works of acrylic, canvas, watercolor, oils, fish prints, metal sculpture, airbrush and sculpture. The Society for Creative Anachronism will be demonstrating medieval costumes and skills.
Also sponsoring the event and hosting student artists and their families for a Friday hot dog feast and shopping trip is Wulf Outdoor Sports of Athens.
Regularly scheduled dive shows followed by a tram tour of the hatchery will take place at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Fishing and all exhibits will be available as usual from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
TFFC is headquarters for the Texas division of the contest and is hosting this year's national expo and competition where Best of Show and Art of Conservation Stamp Award winners will be announced. On-site voting for the People's Choice Award will complete on-line balloting. Visitors can choose their favorite and help pick the winner.
Art's Better Outside will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. June 25. A press release listing all the Texas winners can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20110502b. The event is free with paid admission to TFFC. For more information and directions, visit tpwd.texas.gov/tffc.
A video of some of the Texas artwork entered in the contest as well as activities at last year's Art's Better Outside event can be viewed at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Freshwater-Fisheries-Center/128462433868391.
Wildlife Forever's 13th annual State-Fish Art Contest was made possible by support from the North American Fishing Club; Rapala; Blick Art Materials; The Art Institutes International, Minnesota; the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region; and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
Texas sponsors include the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, which funds cash prizes for Texas winners and travel expenses for first-place winners and their families to attend the national event; and Strike King Lures, which provides a fishing lure to each Texas entrant.
Wildlife Forever is a conservation organization whose mission is to conserve America's wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife. Learn more at http://www.wildlifeforever.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 ] [LH]
June 7, 2011
Toyota ShareLunker Fingerling Stockings Completed
ATHENS--The Toyota ShareLunker spawning season produced a record number of fingerlings for stocking into lakes that contributed fish to the program, and those fish now swim in the lakes where they will grow up to thrill future anglers.
A total of 171,265 fingerlings were stocked into the six lakes that produced ShareLunkers (13-pound or bigger largemouth bass) during the season that ended April 30. Each lake that produced one or more ShareLunkers received fingerlings.
The number of fingerlings stocked into each lake was as follows: Lake Austin--3,913; Lake Fork--39,872; Caddo Lake--32,037; O.H. Ivie Reservoir--34,064; Lake Gilmer--30,891; and Falcon International Reservoir--30,488.
"Each lake was originally scheduled to receive about 3,500 fingerlings," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) fisheries biologist Juan Martinez. "We wound up producing many more fingerlings than expected due to very good survival in the ponds. At the time Lake Austin was stocked, we only had one pond ready for harvest. When the other ponds were harvested later, we divided those fish among the other five lakes, partly because the Lake Austin fish were much bigger. Bigger fingerlings survive better, so fewer fish were needed for Lake Austin."
Martinez added that the size difference among the fingerlings was due to differing stocking densities in the rearing ponds. The Lake Austin fish were stocked at a lower density and therefore grew bigger, faster than the fingerlings in the other ponds.
TPWD has now stocked at least 1 million ShareLunker offspring into Texas reservoirs.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year's season, see http://tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.

[ 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 ]
June 7, 2011
Low lakes increasing risk of deadly boat crashes
The worsening Texas drought is not only taking a toll on yards, crops and wildlife - it can be deadly for boaters.
Lack of rain and abnormally high, dry winds have led to significant water level drops in many Texas lakes and waterways. And shallow water can mean trouble for recreational boaters.
During the last protracted dry spell, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department records show that Texas saw a high incidence of boating-related accidents. Most of those accidents were due to boaters grounding or hitting submerged objects because of very low lake levels across the state.
"Looking at the three-year time frame (2007, 2008 and 2009) we responded to 148 boating accidents that were caused by grounding, hitting submerged objects, or hitting fixed objects," said Jeff Parrish, TPWD's Assistant Chief for Marine Law Enforcement. "Of these 148 accidents, 15 resulted in death and 123 caused injuries requiring treatment beyond first aid."
Parrish said the most common factor resulting in injury or death was the operator or passengers being ejected from the vessel upon impact.
The best precaution to take is also the most simple: pay attention to where you're going and beware that with low water, dangerous rocks, tree stumps or other normally submerged objects could be right below the surface.
"As we are rapidly entering another year of low lake levels, it is critically important for boaters to be aware of their surroundings," Parrish said. "Some river authorities will provide buoys marking underwater hazards and dangerous obstacles, but this is not always the case. Low lake levels provide many inherent dangers and boaters need to be respectful of these."
Other activities such as pulling tubers and water skiers should also be undertaken with the utmost care on lakes with low lake levels, he said."With so many of our lakes way lower than normal," Parrish continued, "this summer it's even more critical to have personal flotation devices for everyone on your boat and to make sure all children under the age of 13 are wearing one. And don't risk going to jail by operating a boat if you've been drinking."
For more boating safety tips see http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/safety/safety_tips/.

[ 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 ]
June 7, 2011
Surface Water Diversions Suspended in Brazos River Basin
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state agency responsible for enforcing water rights, earlier this spring notified water right holders statewide that diversions of surface water may be affected by the worsening drought.
With no immediate relief from the ongoing drought forecasted, TCEQ suspended certain permitted surface water diverters in the mid- and lower- Brazos River Basin. The TCEQ has also notified the remaining water right holders in the Brazos Basin about the potential for additional suspensions if the drought persists.
Diversions for municipal uses, including drinking water, and power generation are not affected at this time. The TCEQ is closely monitoring available water supplies and is working with municipalities facing potential drinking water shortages.
Additional information concerning this and other drought issues including how to conserve water can be found online at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/agency/drought.html, or accessed through TCEQ's drought hotline at 1-800-447-2827.