|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2019-04-18                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six months 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, 2019
Llano River Fish Population Recovering After Historic Flooding in 2018
AUSTIN - After finding more than 18 species of fish during a recent sampling trip on the Llano River, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries staff are encouraged to see fish populations rebounding following historic flooding in October 2018.
"In 2018 the Llano River was greatly affected by a 100-yr flood that significantly altered its fish habitat," said John Botros, TPWD River Access Program Coordinator. "Many anglers and local landowners expressed concern to us about the status of the fish population following this catastrophic flooding. While the abundance of fish in the river is lower than it was before the flood, we are happy to report that fish populations are showing signs of recovery."
During a multi-day sampling trip with the Llano River Watershed Alliance in March 2019, staff used standard fish sampling techniques to assess the fish population on four stretches of the Llano River primarily near the department's leased public fishing and boating access sites. Although fish were caught throughout the river, biologists found a significant difference in abundance and diversity between the main stem of the Llano River and the South Llano River near Junction.
"The most abundant and diverse populations of fish were found on the stretch of the Llano River near the city of Junction and on the South Llano River," Botros said. "This stretch appears to be less affected by the flood. We caught multiple species of minnows, suckers and game fish, including largemouth bass and our state fish, Guadalupe bass. Anglers visiting the area this year will likely have higher fishing success focusing on this stretch of the river."
On the main stem of the Llano River upstream of Castell to Schneider Slab Rd (CR 103) in Llano County, biologists found fish abundance to be much lower than upstream near Junction. Botros said although few game fish were caught - mostly largemouth bass - the fish were considerably larger than those caught from the South Llano River.
"Although fish abundance on the mainstream Llano River appeared low, this was to be expected since a near-historic flood occurred only a few months prior," Botros said. "Fish tend to be displaced during large flood events, and it takes time for them to repopulate. Flooding is a natural part of river systems and the fish that live there are adapted to handle it; however, it may take a couple of years for populations to return to pre-flood conditions after a flood this large. Spring and early summer is when the bass and catfish in Llano River spawn, so we expect juveniles produced by these remaining adults will bolster populations throughout the river by this fall."
While it will take time for the fish to repopulate in the Llano River to pre-flood levels, fisheries biologists found good habitat in portions of the river, including fallen trees and re-emerging aquatic vegetation. Woody debris in the river channel and along the banks, and aquatic vegetation will provide cover for juvenile fish, along with the added benefit of helping to stabilize banks and trap sediment from future flood events.
TPWD River Studies Program staff also reported recovery of aquatic invertebrate populations, which play an important role in the aquatic foodweb and form a direct link between the organic and inorganic materials in the river and the food for fish, amphibians, aquatic birds, and other riverine organisms.
"We have been collecting aquatic invertebrates from the Llano River for the past few months to understand the effects of a catastrophic flood on invertebrate communities and post-flood recovery," said Archis Grubh, TPWD Aquatic Ecologist. "Although floods can negatively affect the invertebrate populations, they are highly resilient and can return to preflood numbers quickly. So far we have seen steady repopulation of the invertebrate community, which means plentiful food is available for juvenile sport fish."
With habitat and a recovering aquatic invertebrate population, biologists are optimistic that fish populations will continue to rebound barring any additional catastrophic flooding. Follow-up fish and aquatic invertebrate surveys are planned for fall 2019, along with surveys to monitor for aquatic invasive species that often spread during flood events. Landowners and visitors to the Llano River can assist TPWD with aquatic invasive species monitoring by reporting sightings of Arundo (giant cane) or elephant ear to aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov or by taking a photo and posting it on iNaturalist.
TPWD also encourages landowners to assist in the Llano River's recovery by taking care of sensitive riparian areas adjacent to the river. Recommendations include avoiding any debris cleanup that utilizes heavy equipment which could compact soils, damage stabilizing vegetation, and exacerbate erosion during future floods, planting native vegetation along the river banks and letting trees and other woody debris along river banks remain in place.
"We paddled most of the river between Junction and Schneider Slab Rd and anglers shouldn't hesitate to visit the river this year for an enjoyable and scenic paddling and fishing experience," Botros said. "River flows are good this spring and while the flood decreased the abundance of fish, the river is still very much alive, and well on the way to a full recovery."
Anglers can find public fishing and paddling access at five TPWD leased sites, including the South Llano River at County Road 150 and the main stem Llano River at Pete's Pecan Patch, Maso-Llan Road, Castell Crossing and HR Seventh Heaven. Find more information and maps at: https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/rivers/lease_access/.
More information on the Llano River flood of 2018, including details on changes to aquatic and riparian habitats can be found on the Llano River Watershed Alliance's website here.

[ Note: This item is more than six months 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, 2019
Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Benefiting TPWD Coming to Lake Fork May 2-6
AUSTIN - World class bass fishing, shopping, live music and a variety of outdoor activities are coming to Texas' most iconic bass fishing lake for the third annual Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest (TBTF) benefitting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department May 2-6.
Lake Fork near Emory, Texas, is hosting the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, where the top bass anglers in the world will be competing for a total prize purse of $1 million. While the 75-angler field battles on the water for four days during the "catch, weigh and immediate release" style fishing tournament, TPWD will be on site at the Sabine River Authority from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4-5 to highlight family-friendly fishing, hunting and camping opportunities in the state.
"On top of showcasing Texas' world class bass fisheries and promoting the conservation-minded 'catch, weigh, and immediate release' tournament format; Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest provides TPWD with an exciting opportunity to engage directly with Texans to highlight all of the outdoor opportunities available in our state," said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research.
Visitors can mingle with fisheries biologists, state park rangers, outdoor educators and game wardens at more than 15 interactive outdoor booths, including:
--Catch a Catfish: Catch a Texas-size catfish with the help of TPWD fisheries biologists and volunteers from the Texas High School Bass Association.
--Fly Casting and Tying: Learn how to tie flies and cast using a fly rod with volunteers from the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International.
--Texas State Fish Art: Paint your favorite fish and learn how you can enter the Texas State-Fish Art Contest.
--Fish FUNdamentals Aquarium: Learn about native fish from a TPWD biologist and find out where fish are biting.
--Rivers & Streams/ Texas Paddling Trails: Explore the living world of rivers and streams on Texas Paddling Trails.
--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.
--Aquatic Invaders: Discover how invasive species impact aquatic environments, where they hide and how we can control their spread across Texas.
Other weekend activities at TBTF include various vendor booths with the latest fishing merchandise, seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros, the annual Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team Tournament and more.
Saturday's entertainment lineup includes a live concert as part of the Mercury Concert Series, Elite angler "meet and greets," and several special TPWD ceremonies to honor anglers who have made an impact on fishing this year.
During the first special ceremony, TPWD will be honoring the five Toyota ShareLunker Legacy Anglers who caught and donated 13 pound or larger largemouth bass to support TPWD's selective breeding program in 2019. This presentation will include 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.
TPWD will also recognize the 2019 inductee into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame. During this presentation, Alan Haynes of Tyler, the former C.E.O and President of The Sportster Inc. retail sporting goods chain and lifelong sportsman, will be honored for his efforts to engage people in fishing.
Proceeds from the tournament, donated by Gulf States Toyota, will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's youth fishing and urban outreach programs, including the Neighborhood Fishin' Program, which brings fishing to families at 19 community park lakes in 10 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.
"Since 2007, Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest and the previous version of the tournament have raised more than $3 million for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's youth fishing and outreach programs in Texas," Terre said. "This has made a direct impact on increasing fishing participation in Texas - particularly in urban and suburban areas where access to fishing is limited. We are grateful for this support and look forward to continuing this work to bring fishing closer to Texans in the years ahead."
Local hosts of Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest include the Lake Fork Chamber of Commerce, the Wood County Industrial Commission, the Sabine River Authority, Quitman EDC and Emory Tourism.
"These local organizations deserve special thanks for helping us bring a Bassmaster Elite Series event to Lake Fork for the first time ever," Terre said. "Without the Sabine River Authority and others, Lake Fork would not be the top trophy bass lake in Texas. I wouldn't be surprised if we see four-day catch records broken at TBTF this year, and that success would be a direct reflection of the hard work and support of these organizations and the entire Lake Fork community."
Admission to the event is free for the whole family. The Sabine River Authority is located at 353 PR 5183, Quitman, Texas. Learn more at https://www.bassmaster.com/tournaments/2019-toyota-bassmaster-texas-fest-benefiting-texas-parks-wildlife-department.

[ Note: This item is more than six months 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, 2019
Three Texas State Parks Add Solar Energy Through Green Mountain Energy Partnership
Sustainability partnership between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Green Mountain Energy brings 67 kilowatts of renewable energy to parks across Texas.
GLEN ROSE -Green Mountain Energy and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) unveiled the completion of solar installations at three state parks across Texas at a ceremonial "Flip the Switch" event at Dinosaur Valley State Park. These three installations are the latest in a long-standing sustainability partnership to bring renewable energy to Texas State Parks.
Dinosaur Valley State Park, Estero Llano Grande State Park and Eisenhower State Park are the latest TPWD sites to receive solar panel installations through the partnership with Green Mountain Energy.
The three solar installations will provide 67 kilowatts of renewable energy, completely powered by the sun. Through the ongoing sustainability partnership, all TPWD facilities in competitive markets are supported by 100 percent Texas renewable energy from Green Mountain Energy.
Park visitors can now experience the benefits of solar energy whether they are comparing shoe sizes to actual dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur Valley State Park, enjoying the spectacular South Texas wildlife at Estero Llano Grande State Park or camping near the Red River at Eisenhower State Park.
"The partnership with Green Mountain Energy is a great example of a collaboration that helps TPWD with our goals to use sustainable practices to support our resource conservation efforts," says Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks. "We are thrilled to have three new renewable energy projects at parks to inspire and educate people on the importance of environmental sustainability. We offer our thanks to everyone at Green Mountain Energy and TPWD involved in these projects for their dedicated work towards this achievement."
The installations also enhance the visitor experience at the parks. At Dinosaur Valley State Park, a display of solar panels also functions as a beneficial shade structure for visitors and educational events while optimizing viewing potential for dinosaur tracks. The installation at Estero Llano Grande State Park is a visually appealing structure specially designed with low glare so not to impede visitors' views along nearby walking paths.
"Green Mountain Energy formed a partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife in 2016 to provide renewable energy to parks across Texas, and these solar installations are the latest step in our joint commitment to conserve our state's natural resources," said Mark Parsons, vice president and general manager, Green Mountain Energy. "The addition of solar to these three parks will help offset energy costs, add needed shade structures and reduce the environmental impact at the parks."
Previously, Green Mountain Energy provided a 21-kilowatt rooftop solar array at TPWD's Sea Center Texas, a marine aquarium, fish hatchery and nature center. Additionally, the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club made a $40,000 donation to the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area to help purchase and install a 11.2-kilowatt solar array on the park's welcome center. The partners worked together in unique ways to implement alternative energy solutions to offset TWPD's energy usage, allowing for more park enhancements.
Green Mountain Energy Company Green Mountain Energy Company is the nation's longest serving renewable energy retailer and believes in using wind, sun and water for good. The company was founded in 1997 with a simple mission: to change the way power is made. Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, as well as a variety of carbon offset products and sustainable solutions for businesses. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid more than 63 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. To learn more about Green Mountain, visit greenmountainenergy.com.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department mission balances outdoor recreation and sustainable use of resources with conservation and management of natural and cultural resources. The department operates 95 Texas state parks, natural areas and historic sites, 50 wildlife management areas, three saltwater fish hatcheries and five freshwater hatcheries. TPWD game wardens and wildlife and fisheries biologists work in every Texas county, enforcing laws and encouraging management to conserve fish and wildlife. The agency has 12 internal divisions: Wildlife, Coastal Fisheries, Inland Fisheries, Law Enforcement, Legal, State Parks, Infrastructure, Communications, Financial Resources, Human Resources, Support Resources and Information Technology..
Follow Green Mountain Energy at facebook.com/greenmountainenergycompany or twitter.com/greenmtnenergy.
To connect with TPWD, visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/socialmedia/ for a complete list of our social media channels.
Media Contact:
Hunter Dodson
Twitter: @GreenMtnEnergy
Stephanie Garcia
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department