|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-04-15                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three 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]
April 15, 2014
Regional Lone Star Land Stewards for 2014 Announced
AUSTIN - The ability to manage land in good times as well as bad is the mark of a good land steward. This year's recipients of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Lone Star Land Steward Awards are prime examples.
On Wednesday, May 21 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, TPWD will recognize land stewards representing private ranches in various ecological regions, plus awards recognizing achievements of a landowner cooperative, and an educator.
Also, the Leopold Conservation Award for Texas will be presented to the 2014 statewide land steward, yet to be announced, by the Sand County Foundation.
The annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards recognize and honor private landowners for their accomplishments in land, water and wildlife stewardship. The program is designed to educate landowners and the public and to encourage participation in habitat conservation. TPWD is partnering with the Sand County Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation with Toyota as Presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors include: Luther King Capital Management, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado River Land Trust | Lower Colorado River Authority, Capital Farm Credit, Dorothy Drummer & Associates, East Wildlife Foundation, Llano Springs Ranch, Ltd., 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 Westmoreland Coal Co., Texas Wildlife Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Initiated 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.
This year's recipients characterize the unique cultural and natural heritage of Texas. Landowners restoring degraded habitats while conserving flora and fauna are a common thread. Following are summaries of stewardship highlights for each of the ecoregion and category recipients.
Cross Timbers and Prairies - Dixon Water Foundation, Bear Creek Ranch, Parker County
Clint Josey, Board Chairman; Robbie Tuggle and Danny Parker, managers
Progressive, innovative grazing management and livestock production are skillfully employed on Bear Creek Ranch to create and maintain an ecologically stable, diverse, and functional landscape and to generate income. Bear Creek Ranch is divided into 32 grazing units to allow for abbreviated grazing periods and long recovery periods. Each unit is grazed for only 5 to 15 days each year and is rested from grazing for the remainder. A combination of cattle and sheep are used to mimic the historic grazing patterns and grazing habits of bison and pronghorn. Education and outreach is a primary function and purpose of the Dixon Water Foundation. Using their ranches as practical real-world laboratories, the Foundation hosts and sponsors numerous field days, training sessions, tours, seminars and conferences each year.
Edwards Plateau - Sycamore Canyon Ranch, Val Verde County
Ruth B. Russell and sons Mclean and William Russell, owners/operators
As a third-generation cattle woman, Ruth Russell understands the needs of the range as well as those of livestock. Her goal is to protect, share and communicate the public benefits, such as the beautiful vistas, native wildlife habitats, clean air and water, provided by private lands stewardship. Located 60 miles north of Del Rio on the beautiful Devils River, the ranch supports the diverse vegetation and wildlife of three distinct biotic regions. Range management strategies such as deferred grazing, aggressive whitetail and Aoudad population control, prescribed burning, and riparian area protection and management provide habitat that supports a diversity of native wildlife. Nature tourism is a primary source of income for the ranch, providing outstanding opportunities for birding, fishing and kayaking. In 2011, Mrs. Russell protected the property with a perpetual conservation easement with the Texas Agricultural Land Trust.
South Texas Plains - Laborcitas Creek Ranch, Brooks County
Berdon Lawrence, owner; David Kelly, operator
Land management goals on the Laborcitas Creek Ranch include use of wildlife management techniques required for each species to improve and sustain a healthy wildlife habitat and populations. To create waterfowl habitat, the ranch has developed 15 wetland ponds and converted bermudagrass pastures into wetlands, creating lush green areas that attract insects, invertebrates, and a diversity of waterfowl. Ranch water is provided by windmills and solar and electric wells, which feed ponds, wetlands, and reservoirs. Deferred grazing is used when needed to allow native grasses to flourish, providing critical nesting habitat for the bobwhite quail and Rio Grande turkey. Pastures where native bunchgrasses have grown too dense for quail are treated with the "Quailerator", a modified pasture aerator designed to simulate grazing and the hoof action of cattle. Winter prescribed burning is conducted in strips; 100-300 yards wide and up to a mile long, to create areas of lush green growth and insect habitat, while brush control is a key tool for managing quail, deer, and dove habitat. Bulldozers and roller choppers are used to sculpt dense brush to enhance wildlife habitat.
Trans Pecos - Tanksley Land Company, Brewster County
Betty Tanksley and her late husband Ben, owners/operators
A family ranch since the 1920's, the Tanksley Land Company's goals are to leave the land in better shape than they found it, bring flowing water back to Musquiz Creek, restore historical springs on the ranch, sustain healthy wildlife, and grow grass while holding water. When the Tanksleys took over the ranch in 1989 it was dominated by creosote and tarbush. Under their management, the ranch has slowly recovered back to grassland with a good mix of native forbs and grasses. Pronghorn, scaled quail, and mule deer have benefitted from the return of diverse grasslands. During the last few years, pronghorn fawn crops have been good on the ranch, even though in other parts of the Trans-Pecos the fawn crops have been low - an indicator of good healthy grassland with plenty of fawning cover. To hold soil and increase infiltration, the ranch has employed divots and spreader dams to capture runoff, creating numerous small oases of green grass and forbs for scaled quail, small mammals, insects and birds.
Landowner Cooperative - Hillingdon, Laurels and Leslie Ranches, Kendall County
Robin, Carol, Grant and Misty Giles, David and Myrna Langford, Roy and Jessica Leslie, Patty Leslie Pasztor and Greg Pasztor; owners/operators
These landowners practice both excellent land stewardship and "stewardship outside the gates" through extensive outreach and volunteer service. Each family reaches a different audience and acts in a different "theatre" according to their own interests. The Gileses work tirelessly to help fellow landowners, agricultural producers, FFA and 4H groups to manage the land both sustainably and profitably in the production of food and fiber. The Langfords work to spread the message in their community and in the capital that private lands are critical for wildlife and to our state's water infrastructure. The Leslies and Pasztors outreach in San Antonio help urban residents understand the importance of rare plant conservation, wildlife habitat, and the dangers of non-native plants and animals. Each of these landowners are recognized experts in their fields, including ranching, rare plant propagation, Ethnobotany, and cultivating statewide conservation partnerships.
Education and Outreach - Sky Lewey, Nueces River Authority and the Open V Ranch, Uvalde County
Sky Lewey is a conservation educator with extraordinary leadership and dedication. A key figure in the efforts to restore healthy riparian function to the Nueces River Basin and beyond, Sky is the Resource Protection and Education Director for the Nueces River Authority. In that role she has established many highly successful programs including the Remarkable Riparian Workshops and the Pull Kill Plant Campaign targeting giant river cane removal in the Nueces River basin. Lewey is always sharing her river protection experience with others. She has provided guidance and hands-on learning opportunities for landowners and organizations from across the Nueces basin. Lewey is at the forefront of research and efforts to develop the best practice for treating, restoring and preventing giant river cane infestations. Through her hands-on involvement and direction, the current method for treatment has evolved and developed into a protocol specific to the Nueces River Basin. Sky practices what she preaches, undertaking many of these treatments on her personal ranch, the Open V. She has hosted researchers studying everything from turtles and springs to invasive species and hydrology. With the NRA, Sky has created a powerful river and water stewardship education program centered around hands on classroom demonstrations, reaching over 72,000 young people in 13 counties within the Nueces River Basin.

[ Note: This item is more than three 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: Stevie Patnode, Marketing and Communications, (971) 246-2235 or stevie.patnode@octagon.com; Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director, (479) 715-6103 or lenny@toyotatexasbassclassic.com ]
April 15, 2014
Toyota Texas Bass Classic Qualifiers Announced for 2014
Fifty of the World's Best Anglers are Coming to Lake Fork
ATHENS--The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), the World Championship of Professional Bass Fishing, brings the best set of qualified anglers to Lake Fork, May 9-11. The three-day tournament combines the Top 15 in Angler of the Year (AOY) points from all three major tournaments including the Walmart FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series and the PAA Tournament Series. Daily tournament weigh-ins, outdoor expos and country music concerts will add to the daily excitement of this event.
"We're extremely excited to have the most outstanding anglers in the world competing in the 2014 Toyota Texas Bass Classic. This tournament can truly say that we have the best of the best competing on the most historical bass fishing lake in Texas. From legendary anglers to Lake Fork rookies, the competition will be fierce, the bass will be enormous and I can't wait to see who will take home the trophy and title of World Champion," said Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur.
TTBC's record for partnering with anglers, the fishing industry and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in support of fishing, education and conservation is unmatched.
--Since its inception, the TTBC has raised $1.75 million to support fishing and outdoor education programs of TPWD.
--Through its support of TPWD's Neighborhood Fishin' Program, the TTBC has made 300,000 catfish available in metropolitan areas throughout Texas, enabling more than 80,000 people annually to fish close to where they live. About half those people are first-time anglers.
--TTBC funds have provided a Take-Me-Fishing trailer and nine "how-to-fish" videos that have been featured at 74 events and reached more than 40,000 people. The videos have been viewed online by more than 200,000 people.
--Funds from the TTBC support the Texas division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, making the Texas contest one of the largest in the country. Some 5,000 young Texas artists have entered the contest, which uses science, art and fishing to interest youth in the outdoors.
--A top concern among bass anglers is survival of the fish they catch. The TTBC pioneered and each year showcases a tournament format that ensures a near-100 percent survival of fish caught in the tournament. TPWD hopes the TTBC tournament format will become the model for bass tournaments across the country.
Final field qualification for both last year and this year's TTBC events are based on 2013-2014 Angler of the Year points races. The 2014 TTBC field is one of the strongest to date; field accomplishments include a combined $64 million in career earnings, 234 tournament victories, 21 AOY titles and 18 major championship wins.
Keith Combs, the only two-time champion in the history of TTBC (2011, 2013), will defend his title in his home state of Texas. Former champions Brian Thrift (2012), Brian Snowden (2010), Kelly Jordon (2008) and Terry Scroggins (2007) will also compete. Both Jordon and Scroggins qualified as sponsor exemptions in addition to fan favorites Mike Iaconelli and Gerald Swindle.
"TTBC is my favorite event of the season! Considering how an angler has to qualify for this event it is the strongest field that we compete against all year," Combs said. "I spent some time this past winter familiarizing myself with Lake Fork. It will be a late spring/early summer tournament which means a lot of movement, and it will take big weights to win."
Due to the 16-inch to 24-inch slot limit on Lake Fork, there are no professional competitions held there, so this will be the first time, since the 2008 TTBC, that professional anglers will take to the water for a pro competition. They will compete on Lake Fork for three days, May 9-11, 2014, with the field being reduced to the top 10 for the final round on Sunday, May 11. The tournament will remain a non-entry fee event and all 50 competing anglers will receive guaranteed prize money.
Through a continued partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), TTBC will continue its focus on conservation efforts and adhere to a strict catch, weigh and immediate release format.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic will be located on the grounds of the Sabine River Authority (SRA) just east of the Lake Fork dam. The Outdoor Expos, TPWD Adventures Area, Bass Pro Shops Kid Zone, and the live concerts will all take place at SRA.
The TTBC tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division. Toyota is the title sponsor for the event. Official sponsors of TTBC are ATX Wheels, Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Geico, Leer Truck Caps, Republic Services, HOLT CAT, Shakespeare Ugly Stik, Tellespen, Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire's, TLC Radio, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch, KMOO 99.9 and the Coca-Cola Company. Tickets are currently on sale. For more information visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than three 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: Jeanne Albrecht, SELLMARK public relations (210) 392-9047; jca@satx.rr.com or Rob McCorkle, TPWD (830) 866-3533; Robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 15, 2014
San Jacinto Day Festival, Battle Re-enactment Set for April 26
Battle re-enactment the largest in the state
HOUSTON -- Hundreds of history re-enactors -- complete with cannons, horses, dogs, women, children and pyrotechnics -- will recreate the events leading up to Texas winning its independence 178 years ago at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. The largest battle re-enactment in the state is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 26 on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument.
Sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum of History, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the San Jacinto Volunteers, the festival is a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.
The battle re-enactment, which begins at 3 p.m., serves as the marquee event of the day and is presented by hundreds of members of the San Jacinto Volunteers and other living history organizations from across the state. The re-enactment dramatizes the cannon duel and decisive battle in which Gen. Sam Houston led his much smaller Texian army to victory over the Mexican army.
"For the Texans, their victory at San Jacinto led to Texas' annexation into the United States," says Robert B. Hixon, board chairman of the San Jacinto Museum. "In the end, the United States would gain not only Texas but also New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. Most Texans, and dare I say most Houstonians, don't realize that the Battle of San Jacinto is recognized as one of the top ten battles of the world to change history."
All festival activities are updated continually on the San Jacinto Museum of History website at www.sanjacinto-museum.org. Entertaining and educational activities scheduled include:
--Dan Barth will use his Medicine Show Wagon to tell the tales of special 19th century cure-all elixirs, and entertain with a little magic.
--Nonstop entertainment on the main stage with Galveston's Brandon McDermott playing his brand of lively Texas/Red Dirt Music; Last Chance Forever, The Birds of Prey Conservancy and its magnificent birds including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures; Mariachis Los Galleros who first appeared in 2012 and were a big crowd pleaser; and K.R. Wood.
--Abigail Taylor, musician/singer/songwriter from Houston, will showcase her country music on the children's stage.
--Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus and Wahoo Medicine Show will captivate the audience offering cures for all maladies at his Wahoo Medicine Show, and as Flea Meister for Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus, putting his (invisible) fleas through their paces.
--K.R. Wood (Camp Cookie) will bring history to life through songs and tales with Chuck Wagon of Texas History, complete with Dutch oven demonstrations, samples, roping steer head demonstrations, stick horse relay races, and historical stories about the Texas Revolutions and the cattle drives
--Texas Snakes - a fun and hands-on educational show for all ages of many different species of non-venomous indigenous snakes of Texas for the children to view and touch. Emphasis is teaching about the environment and how snakes/reptiles provide their part for the balance of nature.
--Blacksmiths, weavers, spinners and other demonstrators will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s. Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares.
--Visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian camps of the re-enactors to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle in 1836. In the military camps, a few lucky children will be chosen to stand with the cannon crew and pretend to load the cannons.
--Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will offer archery classes for young people
--Visitors can also visit the restored marshlands and look for otters, great blue herons, osprey, mottled ducks and American avocets. The marsh is historically important because it barred the escape of many of Gen. Santa Anna's troops.
--Members of the San Jacinto Descendants, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Sons of the Republic of Texas, as well as representatives from the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Independence Trail Region, will be on hand to share their history.
--Texas Independence Square Dancers--square dancers from various groups throughout Texas--will demonstrate square dancing and give lessons.
--Visitors can browse through the vendor area to admire unique hand-crafted items, Texas products and history-related items.
--Music from the North Harris County Dulcimer Society will entertain folks as they walk along the reflection pool.
The Children's Area--sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company and Deer Park ISD--includes:
--A 55-foot train complete with train whistle and Texan and American flags.
--Make-and-take history activities and crafts created by Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD; overseen by volunteer teachers from DPISD and student volunteers from San Jacinto College.
--Marsha's Petting Zoo with sheep, goats and other friendly small animals.
--Sandbox Dig created by the San Jacinto College.
Festival goers can also enjoy the attractions that are open year-round in the San Jacinto Monument or on the grounds of the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, including:
--A free lobby exhibit in the Monument now featuring artifacts from The Carabajal Collection: A Glimpse of Goliad - an exhibit that features 400+ archeological artifacts dug up by several generations of the Carabajal family.
--The famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the Monument; the digital presentation Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto; and the museum's exhibit Making a Mark, Leaving a Legacy which looks at the tools that have traditionally been used to make a mark, the people that have left a mark on our region, and the symbols that our predecessors used to convey important ideas and concepts. Combo tickets for the elevator ride, the exhibit and movie can be purchased for $12 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, and $8 for children.
--Battleship TEXAS, the first battleship memorial museum in the U.S.; fees for the Battleship TEXAS are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for school and youth groups with a reservation, and free for children 12 and younger.
Sponsors for San Jacinto Day Festival include H-E-B, The Dow Chemical Company, Vopak, Pasadena Strawberry Festival, CenterPoint Energy, KHOU, LyondellBasell, San Jacinto Museum of History Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, San Jacinto College, Deer Park ISD, Hampton Inn & Suites Deer Park, San Jacinto Volunteers, Clean Harbors, Brand Extract, Office Systems of Texas and La Porte EMS.
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located just 22 miles east of downtown Houston. Take Highway 225 east to Independence Parkway north and continue for three miles.
Tips to further enjoy the 2014 festival:
--Do not take the ferry on I-10; because there is only one ferry working right now, the wait is long.
--Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for comfortable viewing of the battle re-enactment.
--Visitors should park at the first parking lot they come to and take the shuttle to the festival grounds; buses will stop at the farthest parking lots first, so those visitors will be first to board.
DISCOUNTED LODGING: Discounted room rates of $109 per night are available during the festival for the nights of April 25 and/or 26 at Hampton Inn Deer Park or (281) 930-9091.
For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History or the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment, please call 281.479.2421 or visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org. For more information on the Battleship TEXAS, please contact the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department at 281.479.2431.
NOTE: Media should contact Jeanne Albrecht at (210) 392-9047 or jca@satx.rr.com for photos, advance interviews, and media parking passes