|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-10-18                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five 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]
Oct. 18, 2011
TPWD Taking Action on Bobwhite Quail Decline
Agency Urges Hunters, Landowners To Consider Ways To Help This Season
AUSTIN - The drought has taken a toll on all Texas wildlife resources, but among the hardest hit is the bobwhite quail. This iconic grassland game bird already faces mounting obstacles to recovery and state wildlife officials say the drought is exacerbating the problem.
"We've been on point monitoring quail declines well before this current drought," said Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "We've been taking steps to address the problem, but the drought is raising the sense of urgency."
The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), an annual field census survey used to track quail productivity, shows a decline in Texas bobwhite quail breeding numbers at a rate of 3.9 percent per year from 1970 to 2009. Texas bobwhite harvest has declined by 80 percent during the past three decades. Although this decline is not as steep as seen in southeastern states, it is still cause for concern.
Many reasons are cited for these declines, but evidence points to changes in the quantity and quality of habitat as the leading cause. The topic has broad relevance, because grassland habitat used by quail is important for dozens of other wildlife species, and it also can affect water quantity and quality for people.
"For all of us who care about the future of this prized game bird and the habitats it occupies around the state, complacency is not an option," said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. "We need hunters, landowners, government agencies and non-profit groups all making this a priority in order to advance the recovery of this species. Rest assured, the department will do its part."
While TPWD wildlife biologists are focusing their efforts on assisting landowners develop habitat-based management strategies that can benefit quail and other grassland wildlife, the department is also taking action in other areas, including possible changes in hunting regulations.
Potential changes in season length and bag limit framework for the 2012-13 hunting season will be discussed during the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission's Nov. 2 Regulatory Committee meeting in Austin. Over the next few months, the TPWD Wildlife Division's upland game bird staff and technical committee will review season length, bag limits and the possibility of regional differences for quail season to determine if modifications to the 2012-13 seasons are warranted.
Wolf said regulation changes alone won't solve the problem. "But, we can look at a variety of approaches to address quail management, including regulations," he said.
Good news is that in one area of the state, the Gulf Prairies and Marshes region, quail numbers this year have actually risen due to proactive habitat management and adequate weather conditions.
Even in areas of the state where quail numbers have dropped considerably this year, particularly the Rolling Plains region in North Texas, there are still pockets with huntable numbers of bobwhites. But, dry conditions this year contributed to major wildfires that consumed millions of acres of vegetation. Quail production in the Rolling Plains hit an all-time low, according to this year's BBS, and biologists say every bobwhite that survives the winter will be critical to next year's production.
"Burned areas will likely provide good habitat after future rainfall events but for now they offer very little cover for quail and other wildlife," said Robert Perez, TPWD's upland game bird program leader. "We're advising landowners if you are seeing low quail numbers on your ranch, you should consider reducing quail harvest. It's okay to hunt, work your dogs, but take a conservative approach. Flush a covey only once and don't chase the singles or pairs, or limit how long you hunt."
Perez also encourages hunting early in the season, which runs Oct. 29-Feb. 26.
According to the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, a coalition of wildlife professionals across 25 states, bobwhite quail populations have plummeted nationwide by as much as 80 percent over the past half century by some estimates. In addition, entire suites of unhunted songbirds that depend on the same habitat of native grasslands and shrublands have recorded similar declines.
History has shown bobwhites can bounce back when the weather cooperates and suitable habitat is available. Ideal quail production occurs in years that remain wet and cool during the spring and early summer months because it extends the window of opportunity for reproduction, according to Perez. He noted hens typically would make as many nesting attempts as conditions allow until they pull off a successful clutch.
"We need to manage habitat in preparation for those times," Perez offered. "A majority of bobwhites don't survive the first year even during good times; that's why it takes more than one good year to bring numbers back."
Texas is taking a proactive, partnership strategy to address quail declines in Texas through a coalition of state, federal and private stakeholders -- the Texas Quail Conservation Initiative. By bringing all stakeholders to the table, the initiative can focus on landscape level conservation.
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[ Note: This item is more than five 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]
Oct. 18, 2011
New Texas State Park Guide Adds Digital and Spanish Versions
AUSTIN - The latest edition of the 112-page Texas State Park Guide is now available in a variety of formats just in time for outdoor lovers to find that perfect spot to enjoy greater solitude and cooler fall weather as the summer crowds and swelter fade.
The digest-size booklet puts at your fingertips everything you and your family need to know about more than 90 state parks and special park programs, such as the Geocache Challenge, free fishing and the Texas Outdoor Family camping program.
Texas State Parks director Brent Leisure encourages Texans to take advantage of the cooler weather to visit a state park or historic site. He notes that entrance and camping fees, State Park Pass purchases and patronizing state park stores all help fund state park operations.
"We understand that many Texans continue to experience difficult economic times," says Leisure, "but our state parks continue to offer an affordable, safe and family-friendly alternative to many other forms of entertainment and recreation. We, too, have had to tighten our belts due to shrinking budgets, but by modifying days and hours of operations at some parks, we have kept the lights burning at all of our state parks."
The Texas State Park Guide is once again a free publication, thanks to the sponsorship of Toyota.
And, for the first time, REI support has made it possible to offer a Spanish-language version of the park guide.
"REI is proud to partner with TPWD in promoting increased outdoor participation among diverse communities in our great state parks," says John Simmons, manager of REI's Austin Gateway store.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also has created an online digital page-turner replica of the Texas State Park Guide. This will make it easier than ever to discover the amazing variety of state park destinations and special park interpretive programs that await today's adventurers.
The new edition highlights dozens of park sites located near Texas' major metropolitan areas that are perfect for a relaxing day trip or an economical weekend getaway. Did you know, for instance, that you could leave the Houston's hustle and bustle by mid-morning and be paddling Village Creek through the Big Thicket shortly after lunch?
The park guide also includes information for those who prefer not to rough it in the great outdoors. State parks offer a diverse mix of "soft" accommodations, ranging from modified screened shelters, rustic bunkhouses and cabins to a sprawling, historic ranch house and full-service lodges. Lovers of the esoteric might want to try out one of the unusual canvas yurts found at Abilene State Park. Each yurt comes with a double/single bunk bed with mattresses, fold-out sofa, night stand and microwave.
For convenience, the park guide is broken down into the state's seven tourism regions that are easily located by flipping to the color-coded, centerfold Texas State Parks map. A brief snapshot of the outstanding features found at each park within each region provides photos and pertinent information about each site, including its GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates for the tech-savvy adventurer.
The Facilities & Activities Index at the back of the book provides a greater breakdown of what each site offers, including the types of campsites and trails to be found there. Book a campsite online at www.texasstateparks.org or make a camping reservation by calling (512) 389-8900.
Free copies of the Texas State Park Guide, sponsored by Toyota, can be picked up at any state park, TPWD law enforcement offices, Sea Center Texas, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, most Texas Department of Transportation travel information centers, and select chambers of commerce and convention and visitors bureaus throughout Texas.
Toyota recently renewed its sponsorship with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, for 2012, for continued sponsorship of next year's Texas State Park Guide, state park facility maps and the Texas Outdoor Family program.
REI, a national outdoor retail co-op founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Contacto: Eddie McKenna, TPWD, (512) 389-8696, eddie.mckenna@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Oct. 18, 2011
Guía De Parques Estatales Añade Nueva Versión En Español
AUSTIN - Ahora disponible en varios formatos, la última edición de la Guía de Parques Estatales llega justo a tiempo para los amantes del aire libre que quieren encontrar un lugar solitario y de clima fresco para disfrutar del otoño después de un caluroso verano.
Esta guía de mano te entrega toda la información necesaria para que usted junto a su familia sepan todo sobre lo que ocurre en más de 90 parques estatales, como el Geocache Challenge, el programa de pesca gratuita en los parques, y por último el programa de camping familiar.
El director de los parques estatales de Texas Brent Leisure incentiva y promueve a que los texanos aprovechen el clima más fresco para visitar un parque estatal o un sitio histórico. El se da cuenta que la tarifa de entrada y camping, el pase anual a los parques y las tiendas ubicadas en los parques colaboran con los fondos de mantención y operaciones.
"Nosotros entendemos que muchos texanos siguen viviendo momentos económicos difíciles," dijo el director de parques Brent Leisure, ''pero nuestros parques continúan ofreciendo una segura, familiar, y asequible alternativa de recreación y entretención. Nosotros también hemos tenido que ajustar nuestros cinturones debido a los bajos presupuestos, pero modificando días y horas de operaciones en algunos parques, hemos dejado las luces encendidas en todos nuestros parques."
La guía de parques estatales una vez más es publicada gratuitamente, gracias al auspicio de Toyota.
Y por primera vez, REI apoyó para poder ofrecer y desarrollar una versión de la guía de parques en español.
''REI está orgulloso de estar asociado con TPWD en promocionar incrementando la participación de la gente y comunidades en actividades al aire libre en nuestros parques," dice John Simmons, gerente de REI Austin Gateway.
El departamento de parques y vida Silvestre de Texas también ha creado una versión digital en inglés y español de la Guía de Parques Estatales. Esto va a facilitar mucho la búsqueda para descubrir la variedad impresionante de parques en el estado y en especial distintos programas en los parques que esperan a todo tipo de aventureros.
La nueva edición trae docenas de sitios en parques que se ubican cerca de los centros urbanos más grandes de Texas, perfecto y económico para realizar un paseo por el día. Este tipo de excursiones están a una o dos horas manejando de Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston y San Antonio. ¿Sabías que, por ejemplo podrías salir del ruidoso centro de Houston a mediados de la mañana y estar remando en Village Creek por el Big Thicket más o menos justo después de almuerzo?
La guía de parques también incluye información para aquellos que no están demasiado involucrados en la vida al aire libre. La guía incluye muchas opciones de acomodación, desde cabañas, casas rusticas, refugios, casas de campo antiguas, hasta albergues con servicio completo. Para los que les gusta algo más exótico pueden probar las yurtas de lienzo encontradas en el parque estatal Abilene. Cada yurta incluye un camarote con una cama simple/doble, un sofá cama, velador y microondas.
Por comodidad, la guía de parques está dividida en las siete regiones de turismo en Texas, de esta manera es más fácil de localizar lugares buscando el color indicado en el mapa plegado en el centro de la guía. También trae una breve demostración de las distintas atracciones y cosas pertenecientes a cada lugar encontradas muchos años atrás, también las regiones vienen con sus respectivas fotografías e información incluyendo las coordenadas por Sistema de Posicionamiento Global (SPG).
El índice de las actividades e instalaciones en la parte posterior del libro entrega un mayor detalle de lo que cada lugar ofrece, incluyendo los tipos de sitios para acampar y senderos que puedes encontrar. Reserva tu sitio de camping por internet en www.texasstateparks.org o llamando al (512) 389-8900 para hablar con un representante bilingüe.
Copias gratuitas de la guía pueden ser recogidas en cualquiera de los parques estatales, oficinas de las autoridades de TPWD, Sea Center Texas, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, y en ciertos centros de viaje e información, oficinas de convenciones y visitantes, y cámaras de comercio.
Toyota recientemente renovó su auspicio con la fundación de parques y vida silvestre de Texas, el socio oficial sin fines de lucro del departamento de parques y vida silvestre de Texas, para continuar en 2012 con el auspicio de la guía de parques, mapas y el programa familiar de actividades al aire libre.
REI, una cooperativa nacional que vende equipos para actividades al aire libre, fue fundada en el año 1938 por un grupo de montañistas en la búsqueda de equipos de calidad. REI se compromete en promover el cuidado del medio ambiente e incrementar el acceso de actividades al aire libre.
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