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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2018-03-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than a month old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
March 30, 2018
April is State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.
AUSTIN -- For the seventh year in a row, Whole Earth Provision Co. will support Texas State Parks throughout the month of April during their "April is Texas State Parks Month" fund drive at all eight locations across the state. The Texas-based travel, adventure and nature store will give all funds gathered during the effort to help fund state parks' day-to-day operational expenses, including enhanced visitor programs, park trail maps and facilities maintenance.
"We are blessed in Texas with an excellent state park system that provides an unrivaled range of outdoor adventures," says Jack Jones, Whole Earth Provision Co. founder and lifelong Texas state park advocate. "These magical places belong to the citizens of Texas and are available for all of us to visit and enjoy."
Throughout April, customers at the eight Whole Earth Provision Co. locations in Austin, Dallas, Southlake, Houston and San Antonio will have the option to donate to Texas State Parks at check-out counters. For every $20 or more donated, Whole Earth will give customers a $5 state park gift card, redeemable for park entrance fees and merchandise at state park stores. If the customer donates $50 or more, they will receive a Whole Earth branded Nalgene bottle and a Texas State Parks gift card.
In addition, state park rangers will be handing out Texas State Park Guides at all eight locations from 2-4 p.m. on April 15. They will also offer information and answer questions about the various activities people can enjoy in state parks, including swimming, hiking, fishing, nature walks, caving, paddling, stargazing, and mountain biking.
"Texas State Parks will use the proceeds to help fund state parks' day-to day operational expenses and those parks impacted by Hurricane Harvey," said Texas State Parks director Brent Leisure. "As the state parks system continues to evolve and create new and exciting programs, the annual promotion with one of Texas' premier outdoor retailers allows us the opportunity to continue to create park experiences that Texans expect and deserve."
Most urbanites are closer to a state park than they might imagine. There are 12 state parks within an hour's drive of Austin, nine within an hour's drive of San Antonio, eight within a 60-minute drive of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, 11 within 90 minutes of Southlake and seven parks an hour or less drive from Houston. Mild weather and blooming wildflowers make spring the ideal time to visit any one of these parks.
In the last six years, Whole Earth Provision Company has donated more than $175,000 to Texas State Parks. These funds are a direct result of donations received during Texas State Parks Month, as well as from ticket sales from the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, which Whole Earth has sponsored for the past decade.
Texas State Parks provide an affordable and healthy way to spend time with family and friends. Children 12 and younger get in free. For more information about visiting Texas State Parks, visit: http://www.texasstateparks.org/.
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[ Note: This item is more than a month old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Editors: Images associated with this news release are available on the TPWD Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/). ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
March 30, 2018
Largemouth Bass Conservation License Plate Enhances Fishing Across the State
AUSTIN - Since 2002, thousands of anglers have contributed more than $675,420 to improve fishing in Texas by purchasing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's largemouth bass conservation license plate (CLP). But many anglers may not know exactly how that money directly benefits their favorite fishing hole.
Every year, sales of the largemouth bass conservation license plate generates about $40,000 to benefit projects at dozens of public reservoirs and small fishing lakes across the state. Projects funded by the CLP program have included deployment of GPS-marked artificial fish attractors, installation of underwater greenlight units at fishing piers and aeration systems to improve water quality in small fishing ponds, establishment of native aquatic vegetation on shorelines, and procurement of materials to establish submerged brush piles at future planned reservoirs.
"Our inland fisheries districts rely on the conservation license plate funds to complete projects that provide long-term benefits to fishing in Texas," said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research. "Outside of external partnerships with bass clubs and other fishing organizations, this is one of the only funding sources we have available to purchase and install the structure, lights and other infrastructure needed to enhance the fishing experience at our public ponds and lakes."
In "The Big Country" area of Texas near Abilene and in West Texas, fluctuations in water levels can negatively impact populations of fish and decrease catch rates of popular sport fish like bass for anglers. Conservation license plate funds have become an important tool for district biologists to create the best possible fishing conditions for present and future generations of anglers at these local lakes - even during times of drought.
"Our lakes are notorious for extreme fluctuations in water level," said Michael Homer, TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for Abilene. "We use CLP funds to deploy artificial fish habitat structures to provide homes for fish during times of low water and help improve catch rates. Every little bit helps given that these structures will persist much longer than something that will break down in just a few years - these artificial fish attractors are going to last at least two decades."
"We would not be able to accomplish these projects without the funds from the bass conservation license plates," Homer added. "We really rely on this funding to make these projects possible and to provide the best possible fishing experience to anglers in our area."
In urban areas like Houston, fisheries biologists have used the funds to enhance community fishing lakes and local state parks where visitors heavily utilize piers and shorelines during their fishing getaways.
"One of our CLP funded projects was placing artificial fish structures around the fishing piers at Huntsville State Park on Lake Raven," said Mark Webb, TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for College Station- Houston. "It is a very heavily used park but it was frustrating because we looked at boat anglers vs. shoreline anglers and the shoreline anglers were doing poorly. Many of our park visitors don't have boats so we needed to make the fishing better for them - and the conservation license plate funding allowed us to do that."
Webb said creel surveys before and after the artificial structures were placed around the piers showed a "substantial" increase in the amount of sport fish being caught by anglers. In addition to attracting the fish to the anglers, the plastic attractors can create an important food source for prey fish by growing algae, resulting in the production of more sport fish-- like bass-- in the lake.
Although creating additional structure and habitat for bass has been the focus of the CLP funding in recent years, inland fisheries districts have also used these dollars to install floating docks for fish feeders and to construct kayak and canoe launches.
The largemouth bass conservation license plate is available for vehicles, trailers and motorcycles and costs just $30 - with $22 going directly to improve bass fishing in Texas.
In addition to the largemouth bass license plate, Inland Fisheries raises funding to conserve Texas rivers with the Texas Rivers conservation license plate. Other TPWD conservation license plates include the horned lizard, rattlesnake and hummingbird plates benefiting wildlife diversity; the white-tailed deer plate benefiting big game management; and the camping and bluebonnet plates benefiting state parks.
Since its debut 18 years ago, the Conservation License Plate Program has generated more than $8.4 million to support state parks, outdoor recreation and conservation projects in Texas. To buy the largemouth bass conservation license plate or one of the other seven designs available, visit www.conservationplate.org or your local county tax assessor-collector's office. Buyers do not have to wait until they receive a renewal notice, they can order at any time and the cost will be pro-rated. All conservation plates are available for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and RVs.
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