|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2018-04-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 30, 2018
Soil and Water Stewardship Week Touts Importance of Pollinators in Texas
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has partnered with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Association of Texas Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association to highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas. The Importance of pollinators to soil and water conservation in Texas is the theme of this year's Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 29 through May 6, 2018.
Pollinators include the birds and the bees (butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, and even small mammals) and are vital for production agriculture, our food supply, and the preservation of our natural resources. Many Texas farmers, ranchers, foresters, and urbanites recognize the importance of these insects and animals, and are attempting to regenerate pollinator populations by implementing voluntary conservation practices on private and public lands. Texans have been working with their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts for over 75 years to voluntarily implement conservation practices that protect and enhance our soil and water resources.
Unfortunately, pollinator populations have been declining in the United States for several years, primarily due to loss of habitat. Thankfully there are many landowners in Texas that want pollinators on their property, and for good reasons. To begin with, pollinators are essential for productive agricultural ecosystems, such as row crop production and agro-forestry, and they ensure the production of fruit and seeds in many crops, grasses, and timber. Likewise, pollinators play a significant role in natural rangeland ecosystems by helping to keep plant communities healthy and reproducing, which in turn prevents soil erosion, improves water quality, and provides food and cover for native wildlife.
"This campaign aims to bring more awareness and support to voluntary land stewardship because the way we manage our resources on private lands directly impacts pollinator habitat," said Justin Dreibelbis, private lands program director at TPWD. "TPWD is proud to collaborate with conservation partners across Texas to promote the importance of land stewardship."
Rural working lands are crucial to protecting and preserving the natural resources of Texas. With the great majority of land in Texas being privately owned, voluntary land stewardship is vital to keeping these resources healthy.
Without healthy and productive rangeland, cropland, and forests, our pollinators will fail, production agriculture will fail, and our society will ultimately fail. Whether you're a farmer, a rancher, forester, or just want to plant an urban flower garden, it is up to you to decide how to run your operation. We need pollinators, and we also need good stewards of our lands that protect and preserve the natural resources of Texas.
More information on the importance of pollinators to soil and water conservation in Texas is available online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/nongame/native-pollinators/.

[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 30, 2018
TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area Offers Free Family Fun at Lake Travis May 19-20
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is hosting a TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area May 19-20 by Lake Travis at Jones Brothers Park in Jonestown. At this event visitors of all ages can try fishing, archery and other fun outdoor activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. completely free.
"The goal of the TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area is to introduce families to a variety of outdoor experiences and provide hands-on guidance from experts in a fun, safe setting," said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research. "We want the Austin community to come experience all of the outdoor opportunities and programs available to them in the area and become more aware of our conservation efforts across the state."
Fisheries biologists, state park rangers, outdoor educators and game wardens will be on hand to answer questions and provide demonstrations at a variety of outdoor booths, including:
--Fish Fundamentals Aquarium: Learn about native fish from a TPWD biologist and find out where fish are biting.
--Rivers and Streams/ Paddling Trails: Explore the living world of rivers and streams and see them on Texas' 73 paddling trails.
--Texas State Fish Art: Paint your favorite fish and learn how you can enter the Texas State-Fish Art Contest.
--Toyota ShareLunker Trailer: Stop by the Toyota ShareLunker trailer to see how you can partner with TPWD to make BIGGER BETTER BASS in Texas.
--Making Fishing Better: Have a question about your favorite lake? Enjoy a meet and greet opportunity with Texas fisheries biologists in the "Making Fishing Better" area.
--Take the Challenge: Youth aged 6-17 can enter for a chance to win a camping package in TPWD's free Outdoor Kid's Challenge.
--Shoot an Arrow: Youth will learn self-confidence as they are taught archery basics.
--Want to be a Game Warden: Learn what it really takes to become a TPWD Game Warden.
--Start on a new Adventure: Plan your next vacation at the Texas State Parks' Marketing booth.
--See Sea Life Treasures: Learn about and touch aquatic life from Texas' coastal waterways.
--Catch a Catfish: Catch a Texas-size catfish in the Get Hooked on Fishing Area presented by Toyota and Shakespeare.
--Conservation Education is Cool: Hands-on conservation activities for everyone.
--Aquatic Invaders: Discover how invasive species impact aquatic environments, where they hide and how we can control their spread across Texas.
The TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area is being held in conjunction with Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament held May 17-20 at Lake Travis. The top 108 bass anglers in the world will be competing for a total prize purse of $1 million, including $100,000 for the winner, who also receives an automatic entry into the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, and proceeds from the tournament will benefit TPWD youth fishing and urban outreach programs.
"We are extremely grateful for the support that TBTF provides to our youth fishing outreach programs in the state," Terre said. "While these funds impact fishing programs statewide, in the Austin area they are directly benefiting our community by supporting the stocking of fish year-round at our two Neighborhood Fishin' ponds at Travis County East Metropolitan Park."
TBTF and the previous version of the tournament have raised more than $2.75 million for TPWD programs since 2007. This includes the Neighborhood Fishin' Program, which brings fishing to families at 18 community park lakes in 11 urban areas, and the Texas Division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, which seeks to interest youth in grades K-12 in fishing.
The tournament will also give TPWD an opportunity to recognize notable achievements in Texas freshwater fishing and highlight the unique "catch, weigh and immediate release" weigh-in format pioneered in Texas to a nation-wide audience.
On May 19, TPWD will be honoring the six Toyota ShareLunker Legacy Anglers who caught and donated 13 pound or larger largemouth bass to support TPWD’s selective breeding program in 2018. Part of this special ceremony will be an official announcement of the winner of the Legacy Class Prize Drawing for a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
After that ceremony TPWD will recognize the 2018 inductees into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame. Inductees include Shannon Tompkins, a reporter and columnist at the Houston Chronicle; and the Lake Fork Sportsman's Association (LFSA), an organization that works to protect and promote Lake Fork's natural resources.
"Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest is one of the most exciting events in bass fishing in Texas," Terre said. "We can't think of any better way to celebrate the achievements of the 2018 Toyota ShareLunker legacy class anglers and Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductees than by recognizing them in front of a nation-wide angling audience at this prestigious event."
Other weekend activities at TBTF include various vendor booths with the latest fishing merchandise, seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros, a kid's fishing pond where children have a chance to catch catfish, the Toyota Casting Kids area where kids can test their skills and cast at various targets and a chance to meet Shakespeare expert anglers.
For a full schedule of events and to find more information about Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, visit Bassmaster.com.