|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2013-04-18                                    |
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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 ] [LH]
April 18, 2013
Naconiche Record Fish Is ShareLunker Descendant
Falcon fish was mother of new Lake Naconiche record largemouth bass
ATHENS--On December 4, 2004, Jerry Campos was fishing for largemouth bass on Falcon International Reservoir when he caught a 14.28-pound fish that became ShareLunker 370.
On April 13, 2013, Allen Lane Kruse of Nacogdoches caught a 12.54-pound bass from Lake Naconiche that has been submitted as a water-body and catch-and-release record for the new impoundment near Nacogdoches.
The connection? DNA testing revealed that ShareLunker 370, which spawned at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens, is the mother of the Lake Naconiche fish. If Campos had not entered his fish into the ShareLunker program, Kruse would not have had the opportunity to catch his fish, because it would not have existed.
"This is the perfect example of why the ShareLunker program was established," said Allen Forshage, director of TFFC. "It's called ShareLunker because the program gives anglers the opportunity to share their catch with others. Fingerlings from ShareLunkers that spawned have been stocked into more than 60 reservoirs across Texas."
The father of the Lake Naconiche fish has deep roots in the ShareLunker program as well. Genetic data showed its mother is ShareLunker 305 (caught by Nathan Strickland from Lake Fork in 2000), and pedigree data showed its grandmother is ShareLunker 184 (caught by Richard Crow from Lake Fork in 1994), and its great-grandmother is ShareLunker 9 (caught by Troy Johnson from Gibbons Creek in 1988).
ShareLunker 370 produced 12,699 fingerlings, some of which were held at TFFC as possible future broodfish. The Kruse fish was one of 173 adult ShareLunker offspring that were released into Lake Naconiche in 2009 along with 95,389 ShareLunker fingerlings. The adult fish are now eight years old and are on the threshold of being old enough to attain the 13-pound size necessary to be entered into the Toyota ShareLunker program.
While the paternal lineage leading to the Kruse fish was composed solely of non-introgressed Florida largemouth bass, the maternal lineage was introgressed with northern largemouth bass alleles. Typically, ShareLunkers that are pure Florida largemouth bass are preferentially spawned in the ShareLunker program given their greater likelihood of reaching large sizes (more than 15 times as likely as a hybrid to reach 13 pounds); however, exceptions are made and this was the offspring of one of those exceptions.
"The reason the offspring of a non-introgressed ShareLunker are more likely to reach 13 pounds is because of the way genetic variation underlying quantitative phenotypes like size is transmitted to the offspring. The genetic components of size can be broken down into additive, epistatic and dominance effects. Hybrids are more likely to have unique epistatic and dominance configurations that contribute to their large size, but only the additive component is passed on to the offspring," said Dijar Lutz-Carrillo, the TPWD geneticist who performed the DNA analysis. "You can see the results of this in our reservoirs. For instance, in Lake Fork less than 1 percent of the general population is made up of Florida largemouth bass, but that 1 percent of the population contributes 30 to 40 percent of the ShareLunkers that are caught there. The remaining 99 percent of the population (the hybrids) produce the rest."
"Given that a certain portion of the population is much more likely to reach ShareLunker status, it makes sense to focus limited resources on those fish. Plus, wild populations will (and do) produce plenty of hybrids without our help," noted Forshage.
"Fisheries are stochastic (random) systems; you can't always predict the outcomes based on the inputs," said Lutz-Carrillo. "But we use the best science available to make management decisions, and we are starting to see returns on those investments. We've greatly expanded our genetics database and increased the power of our molecular marker panels over the last few years, so I expect we will see more of this in the future."
The catch is an indicator of something else as well: Lake Naconiche is poised to produce big bass for years to come.
On the Net:

[ 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 ]
April 18, 2013
Regional Lone Star Land Steward Awards Honor Texas Conservationists
AUSTIN - At a time when punishing drought underscores the importance of managing our land and water to help Texas weather the worst, two land owners, two organizations and a mining company are being recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Lone Star Land Steward program for their efforts in rejuvenating native habitat and wildlife across the state.
From the oldest continuously operated family cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle to a landowner coalition along the South Llano River working to protect the entire watershed, this year's five regional land stewards show a striking diversity of activity across the state. In almost every case, their work on the land connects with water, such as planting native bunch grasses that catch and hold rain, restoring wetlands or controlling erosion, and sharing with others what they have learned and are doing to help people, fish and wildlife.
The awards will be presented May 21 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. In addition, the winner of the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award for Texas - to be presented by the Sand County Foundation -- will be announced that night. Featured speaker will be Mrs. Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States and founder, Taking Care of Texas.
Begun in 1996 by the TPWD Private Lands Advisory Committee, the Lone Star Land Steward Awards program objectives are to recognize private landowners for excellence in habitat management and wildlife conservation on their lands, publicize the best examples of sound natural resource management practices, encourage youth education and participation in promoting responsible habitat management and improved ecosystem health, promote long-term conservation of unique natural and cultural resources, promote ecosystem awareness and acknowledge the best conservation practices in the state's ecological regions, enhance relationships between private landowners and Texas natural resource agencies, and illustrate the important role of private landowners in the future of Texas natural resources.
TPWD is partnering with the Sand County Foundation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and Taking Care of Texas. Presenting sponsor is Toyota. Additional sponsors include Karen and Tim Hixon, Plains Capital Bank, Cammack & Strong, P.C., Capital Farm Credit, Dorothy Drummer and Associates, Frost, Gardner Appraisal Group, Inc., Llano Springs Ranch, Ltd., Lower Colorado River Authority, Nature Blinds, Nueces River Authority, Oncor, San Antonio River Authority, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Wildlife Association, and USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Following are summaries of stewardship highlights for each recipient.
Blackland Prairies - Daphne Prairie, Franklin County
Supporting a remnant of the globally rare Silveanus dropseed prairie, Daphne Prairie is one of the most valuable ecological treasures in the state. Owned and operated by B.F. Hicks, the property has been in the Hicks family since 1839 and is one of the last unplowed prairies in northeast Texas.
Ongoing land management goals are continuing with conservation and restoration of 840 acres of native grasslands, including the 120-acre virgin prairie, using prescribed fire and rotational grazing.
A model citizen-scientist and conservationist, Hicks has hosted numerous groups for over 20 years, including researchers and plant ecology experts, university students, birding groups, Audubon and Master Naturalist chapters, as well as state and federal agencies including TPWD, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. As a community leader, Hicks is past president of the Franklin County Historical Association. He also helped nominate more than 10 sites for inclusion in the Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail.
Cross Timbers and Prairies - Thomsen Foundation, Montague County
Established in 1982 by Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Thomsen of Dallas and operated by Dr. Lisa Bellows, the foundation's mission is to provide research and education programs, with a focus on place-based environmental education for students as well as educators. College students use the 600-acre property as an outdoor laboratory for classes in botany, zoology, wildlife conservation, environmental science and agriculture.
As a managed land deer permits (MLDP) cooperator, the Thomsen Foundation uses the program to teach students about controlling deer numbers, conducting surveys, and collecting harvest data.
In addition, prescribed burning, selective mowing, and restoration seeding have resulted in high plant diversity on the property, with more than 400 plant species recorded.
Adults visit the Thomsen property for programs on sustainable agriculture, habitat management and plant identification, and even star parties, taking advantage of the dark night sky. With a passion for the education of children, Dr. Bellows holds workshops to introduce place-based teaching concepts to educators. The ranch hosts about 1,200 visitors yearly.
Rolling Plains - JA Ranch, Armstrong and Donley Counties
Established in 1876, the 158,500-acre JA Ranch is the oldest continuously operated family cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle. From the fading days of the Red River War to 21st century digital mapping of ranch features, wildlife and cattle movements, and management treatments, the JA has seen many changes during its 130 years.
Ranch operations emphasize ecosystem management focusing on the entire plant community. The goal is to benefit both cattle and wildlife by creating healthier habitats ranch-wide.
Owner Andrew Bivins understands the ecological processes that formed the habitat and strives to sustain those processes through rotational grazing, conservative stocking rates, prescribed burning, and brush management.
Because of these practices, the ranch has seen a tremendous increase in plant diversity with plant communities shifting to sideoats and blue gramas, little and big bluestems, and higher forb abundance.
Wildlife Management or Landowner Association - South Llano River Watershed Alliance, Edwards and Kimble Counties
Formed in 2009, the South Llano River Watershed Alliance is an organization of landowners and interested stakeholders whose mission is to preserve and enhance the South Llano River and adjoining watersheds. Current president is Znobia Wooten; Dr. Tom Arsuffi serves as vice president.
By encouraging land and water stewardship through collaboration, education and community participation, the alliance serves as an excellent model of how landowners and stakeholders can work together voluntarily to achieve mutual benefits. The alliance has worked closely with TPWD on restoration of the Guadalupe bass, an effort aimed at ensuring a pure population of the state fish. In addition, the alliance has assisted TPWD with five watershed-based restoration projects through the Landowner Incentive Program.
To address the concerns of landowners facing challenges related to increasing public use along the river, the alliance organized workshops to educate both users and landowners about river rights and ethics. This began the process of bringing partners together to establish the South Llano River Paddling Trail.
In 2011, following the devastating Oasis Pipeline fire that affected more than 8,000 acres of both upland and riparian habitat along the river, the alliance coordinated a workshop involving many partners to provide information and resources to landowners impacted by the wildfire.
Corporate/Non-Government Organization - Jewett Mine, Texas Westmoreland Coal Co.
Westmoreland Coal and its consultants have played a key role in developing revisions to the TPWD Quail and Grassland Bird Land Use reclamation guidelines. Through the work of Darrell Ezell, the company's environmental superintendent, Westmoreland also has led the mining industry in developing improved reclamation practices for upland game birds.
The company provided leadership and coordination with the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) to gain support for the modification of the quail land use guidelines. This corporate input was critical in developing land use practices that are practical, realistic and appealing to mining companies across Texas, with a potential to restore thousands of acres for grassland birds.
Jewett was one of the first mines to voluntarily implement the quail land use practices even before these were adopted by the Railroad Commission.
Reclamation accomplishments at the mine include planting 3,500 acres of native bunchgrasses and constructing 700 acres of wetlands. Use of new technologies, software and specialized equipment is helping with stream reclamation that mimics natural processes.
Site-specific seed mixes of both early and late successional native grasses are used at the Jewett mine to provide better establishment and habitat value. Native bottomland grasses such as eastern gamagrass, switchgrass, and bushy bluestem are planted using hydomulching. Bottomland hardwood trees are carefully selected for establishment based on flooding tolerance and mast production.
New erosion control products have been used at the mine to stabilize steep slopes while allowing vegetation establishment within the grid.
Wildlife monitoring at Jewett includes spring call counts for bobwhite quail and annual surveys and protection measures for the Interior Least Tern, an endangered species that nests in the actively mined areas and reclaimed wetlands.
On the Net:
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7ZG8MkruQh1RKlJJbVpvGP3VdOcl1CVK