|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-01-25                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than four years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 25, 2013
Multiple Indictments Returned in State Game Warden Hostage Case
AUSTIN - An Upshur County grand jury has returned multiple felony indictments, including two first degree counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, naming a father and son accused of holding a state game warden at gunpoint last October.
All the indictments stem from an Oct. 6 incident in which Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Shane Bailey was disarmed and detained by two armed men while the officer was making a routine check for hunting law violations on private property in Upshur County.
The warden used his cell phone to call for help, and soon numerous local and state officers came to his assistance and ended the situation with no shots fired.
Lloyd Allen Crabtree, 51, a former county commissioner in Upshur County, was named in five felony indictments, including three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer (first degree felony); one count of taking a weapon from a peace officer (third degree felony) and one count of unlawful restraint with a deadly weapon (third degree felony).
Crabtree's son, Todd A. Crabtree, 28, was indicted on three felony charges: One count of aggravated assault on a peace officer (first degree felony); one count of taking a weapon from a peace officer (third degree felony); and one count of unlawful restraint with a deadly weapon (third degree felony).
The attorney for the two men notified them Friday afternoon that arrests warrants had been issued and they turned themselves in at the Upshur County Jail a short time later. They remained in jail Friday night in lieu of $1.5 million bond each.
The incident last fall was investigated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Internal Affairs Unit and the Texas Rangers.
"We really appreciate the hard work on the part of our Internal Affairs officers, the Texas Rangers and Upshur County District Attorney's Office that went into this investigation," said Col. Craig Hunter, TPWD's Law Enforcement Division director. "While this case still has to make its way through the judicial process, we hope these indictments will send a strong message that incidents such as this one will not be tolerated by law-abiding Texans."

[ Note: This item is more than four years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 25, 2013
Wanted: Coastal Ghost Busters
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking for volunteers interested in helping to remove abandoned crab traps -- ghostlike killers of marine life -- from their haunts along the coast.
Starting Feb. 15 and continuing through Feb. 24, all Texas bays will be closed for crabbing. Any traps left in the water will be assumed to be abandoned and considered "litter" under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.
Since TPWD's Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program began in 2002, a total of 29,552 wire mesh traps have been removed and disposed of, mainly on the mid and upper coast. This year, the department hopes to see the count rise above 30,000.
State game wardens remove more than 2,500 illegal traps annually, but many more still lie in the water to tangle fishermen's lines, trap game fish and crabs through what biologists call "ghost fishing," snag bay shrimpers' nets and create an unsightly view of Texas shores.
"It is estimated that one ghost fishing crab trap can trap and kill 26 blue crabs per trap per year," said Art Morris, TPWD program coordinator. "So, the 29,552 traps we have removed add up to over 480,000 blue crabs alone that have been saved from ghost fishing -- if the trap was lost for only one year. Some traps had been derelict since 1998."
One study based on a biological inventory of 1,703 abandoned crab traps revealed 3,675 organisms in those traps, averaging two per trap. Some had many more.
"Naturally, we saw blue crabs and stone crabs, but we also saw just about every species of important Texan sport fish," Morris said. "In addition, we found 10 non-game fish species and 11 invertebrate species and even diamond-backed terrapins. Forty-one species in all."
To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, TPWD will provide trap drop-off sites at several locations in each major bay system along the coast starting Feb.16, from 8 a.m. to noon, depending on the weather. Additionally, at all sites, dumpsters marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure.
Volunteers can concentrate their efforts on the opening weekend or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb.15 or after Feb. 24. TPWD asks that those who work on their own report where and how many traps you collected so the department can keep track of the total number of traps removed.
"The success of this program is a reflection of the keen sense of stewardship anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts have for our marine resources," Morris said. "Volunteers have removed more traps from Texas waters than in any other state and the results show. The waning number of traps removed each year indicates that their efforts are having an impact."
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and the Galveston Bay Foundation are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Along with additional aid from numerous organizations and companies who are volunteering their services.
To participate, volunteers can arrange to pickup free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries Field Stations. TPWD requests that volunteers who remove traps record and submit information about the number of traps that they collect as well as any sightings of diamond-back terrapins.
For more information about the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program and how you can volunteer, please contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries Office or Art Morris at the Corpus Christi Field Station: (361) 825-3356 or email: crabtrap@tpwd.texas.gov.
2013 Trap Drop Off Sites
Sabine Lake -- Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 736-9035
Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp -- Trap drop-off site
Galveston Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (281) 534-0110
--Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) -- Facilitated & trap drop-off site
--Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp -- Trap drop-off site
--Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp -- Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation & trap drop-off site
--Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp- FM 2004 -- Facilitated & trap drop-off site
Matagorda Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman (361) 972-6253
--Mitchell Cut Boat (ICWW) Ramp @ Sargent --Trap drop-off site
--Matagorda Harbor @ Matagorda --Trap drop-off site
--Railroad Park @ Palacios --Trap drop-off site
San Antonio Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
--Charlie's Bait Stand -- Facilitated & trap drop-off site
--Port O'Connor TPWD Docks --Facilitated & Trap drop-off site
Aransas Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator David McKinney (361) 729-5429
--Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp -- Facilitated & trap drop-off site
--North Cove Harbor Boat Ramp -- Trap drop-off site
Corpus Christi Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328
--Ransom Channel Park Public Ram -- Trap drop-off site
Upper Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Faye Grubbs (361) 825-3353
--Bluff's Landing Marina -- Trap drop-off site
--Kaufer Park Boat Ramp -- Trap drop-off site
Lower Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Mark Lingo (956) 350-4490
--Adolfe Thomae County Park @ Arroyo City -- Trap drop-off site
--Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp @ Port Mansfield -- Trap drop-off site

[ Note: This item is more than four years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 25, 2013
TPW Commission Approves Land Transfer to Aid Construction of New Franklin Mountains State Park Entrance
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Thursday meeting passed a resolution approving the transfer eight acres of Franklin Mountains State Park property in El Paso to facilitate the construction of a new, safer park entrance off of State Loop 375.
The acreage will be transferred to the Texas Department of Transportation so the agency can build a new intersection and new park entrance designed to enhance the safety of visitors entering and exiting the park from the loop, also known as Transmountain Road. TPWD has conducted an environmental review of the entrance design and construction methodologies to ensure that they will have minimal impact on the environment and wildlife resources.
The new park entrance and divided highway design incorporates a wildlife crossing under Loop 375 that also will serve for the first time to connect the northern and southern halves of the state park for pedestrian and bike traffic. The highway design also creates independent turn lanes completely separated from the main driving lanes of Transmountain Road, which connects east and west El Paso through a mile-high mountain pass.
In addition, the new intersection will not further degrade vista views since the crossover will be constructed under Loop 375. Minimal viewshed impacts may occur from the additional roadway exit /on ramps required to access the crossover.
Commissioners also learned during a Wednesday work session that the El Paso Public Service Board has offered TPWD a bargain sale of approximately 600 acres just west of the Franklin Mountains State Park boundary for addition to the 25,809-acre park. The tract of undeveloped land would provide a buffer from pending new growth and expand public recreational opportunities.
TPWD staff was given the go-ahead by commissioners to begin negotiations with PSB for the acreage that straddles Loop 375 and to provide proper public notice and obtain public input regarding the possible land acquisition.
In other land business, the commission accepted the donation from Brazoria County of roughly 480 acres of land adjacent to the Christmas Bay Coastal Preserve. It also authorized TPWD to take all steps necessary to acquire up to 350 acres from the General Land Office to be added to the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area in Hemphill County.