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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2019-08-12                                    |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 12, 2019
TPWD, Audubon Texas Launch Bird City Texas Certification Initiative
AUSTIN - The Bird City Texas Program (BCT), a new community-focused conservation program designed to support critical bird habitat, is empowering towns to make meaningful changes in how they maintain and build public spaces.
The BCT certifications last for three years and communities can use their bird-friendly designation to attract more of the 2.2 million bird watchers in Texas, a major driver in the $1.8 billion economic impact from Texan wildlife viewing. Additionally, BCT certification brings economic benefits that range from budget savings created by sound water management practices to the higher property values associated with greenspaces and bird-friendly habitats.
To apply, communities must meet eight required standards and select an additional 17 criteria from a list within three categories. This flexibility in criteria allows communities to do what is best for their needs and interest. All communities have the option to pursue the top-tier status, aptly named High Flyer.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Audubon Texas, both co-sponsors for the program, encourage all those interested in this new community program to check out the Program Goals, Structure, and Criteria, posted on the Bird City Texas webpage.
Applications can be submitted starting Aug. 12. The deadline to apply for the program is Nov. 29. Communities will be notified about certification by Jan. 31, 2020.
About Audubon
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
About TPWD
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department serves the state of Texas and its citizens by helping to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas, and by providing outdoor and recreational opportunities for present and future generations. By relying on the best available science to guide conservation decisions, TPWD has proved to be a national leader in protecting native wildlife and the habitats they rely on. Learn more at www.tpwd.texas.gov and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 12, 2019
Six Texas State Parks and Historic Sites Transfer to the Texas Historical Commission Sept. 1
Chris Florance, THC, 512-463-4565, chris.florance@thc.texas.gov
AUSTIN-- Beginning Sept. 1, the operation and maintenance of six Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) sites will be transferred to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The 86th Texas Legislature approved House Bill 1422 which transfers operational control of these sites to the THC.
Sites transferring to THC include the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site and Monument, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site, Lipantitlan State Historic Site and Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site.
"Our primary goal as stewards of these sites has always been the preservation of these iconic landmarks for the enjoyment of current and future Texans. We entrust the future care of these notable parks to the capable hands of the THC and know they will continue these high standards of maintenance and operations going forward," said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. "TPWD is proud to have been the caretakers of these historic sites for many decades, and we will continue to care for the hundreds of historic buildings, archeological sites and other cultural resources that exist within state parks and natural areas across Texas."
These six sites are the newest additions to the 22 sites under the management of the THC.
"Texas Parks and Wildlife and their professional staff have done impressive work stewarding these historic places," said Mark Wolfe, THC Executive Director. "We welcome this challenge to build on their legacy and continue the preservation of these unique sites for new generations of visitors to enjoy. We are pleased that we will be able to work with many of the same staff who have operated and maintained all the transferring sites. We welcome them and these sites to the Texas Historical Commission family."
A list of all Texas State Parks can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. For a list of Texas State Historic Sites operated by the THC, visit www.StoriedSites.com.
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[ Note: This item is nine days old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 12, 2019
Texas Hunting, Fishing Licenses on Sale Thursday, Aug 15
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reminding hunters and anglers that all current year Texas hunting and fishing licenses (except the year-to-date fishing license) expire the end of August, and new licenses for 2019-20 go on sale Thursday, Aug. 15.
Outdoor enthusiasts in Texas purchase more than 2.4 million hunting and fishing licenses annually. Hunters and anglers can purchase licenses online, by phone or in person at any of the agency's 28 law enforcement field offices, at more than 50 state parks, and at over 1,700 retailers across the state.
Hunting and fishing licenses are available online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/buy, at license retailers or by phone at (800) 895-4248. The online transaction system is available 24/7. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a required $5 administrative fee for each phone or online transaction, but unlimited items can be purchased during a single transaction for this $5 fee.
New this year, starting Sept. 1, are enhancements to make the licensing process simpler and faster. "Expedited checkout" speeds the process of re-purchasing the same license items bought during the previous three years. TPWD has also made it easier to show proof-of-license. Now hunters and anglers can use an electronic image of their license as proof-of-license and show/display it in any of these ways: (1) an electronic photo of your license, (2) an emailed receipt, (3) via your account within the license point-of-sale system, the Outdoor Annual App or the My Texas Hunt Harvest App (for hunters). You still must have your physical license for any activities requiring tags and the physical federal duck stamp for waterfowl hunting. License buyers will also enjoy a new, more mobile-friendly online system when purchasing on their phone.
In addition to purchasing a new license, hunters can also enter to win any of 10 premium guided hunt packages in the Big Time Texas Hunts drawing. All lodging and food is included and most of the packages allow winners to bring friends along to hunt. There are packages to hunt bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tailed deer, nilgai, pronghorn, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and more. New this year is the addition of waterbuck to the Exotic Safari hunt, which offers the chance to hunt gemsbok, scimitar-horned oryx, and axis deer--plus win a bonus Ruger American rifle and Vortex scope, donated by McBride's Guns in Austin. Big Time Texas Hunts entries are available online for $9 each at www.tpwd.texas.gov/buyentry or for $10 each at license retailers or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Big Time Texas Hunts has raised over $9 million for wildlife research, habitat conservation efforts, and public hunting programs in Texas over the last 20 years.
Resident hunters and anglers can also purchase an entry in the Lifetime License Drawing. Three lucky winners will each win a Lifetime Super Combo License and never need to buy another Texas hunting or fishing license again. Entries are $5 each and can be purchased online, by phone or at any license retailer. The first entry deadline for the three monthly drawings is Sept. 30.
When making their purchase, license buyers can add a donation of $1, $5, $10 or $20 to help support the Feeding Texas Hunters for the Hungry program or the Veterans Commission's Veterans Assistance Fund. Donations to the Hunters for the Hungry program provide hunters with a way to donate legally harvested deer to participating processors, and this processed meat goes to local food banks to feed Texas families in need. Donations to the Fund for Veterans Assistance program provides grants to veteran service organizations and nonprofit charitable institutions that assist veterans and their families at the community level throughout Texas.
Hunting and fishing regulations for the new season are available in the Outdoor Annual in print, online and on the Outdoor Annual mobile app. A limited number of Outdoor Annual booklets are available at license retailers.
To get more information on Texas hunting and fishing throughout the year, sign up for free email updates at www.tpwd.texas.gov/email or by texting TPWD HUNT or TPWD FISH and your email address to 468-311 (ex. TPWD HUNT myemail@emailaddress.com).
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Aug. 12, 2019
Invasive Zebra Mussels Found in Lakes Lyndon B. Johnson, Pflugerville in Central Texas
Lakes McQueeney, Placid Also Added to Statewide List of Lakes with Zebra Mussels
AUSTIN - Established, reproducing populations of invasive zebra mussels have been discovered at two new lakes in Central Texas, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) in the Colorado River basin northwest of Austin and Lake Pflugerville northeast of Austin.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) biologists confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake LBJ after LCRA staff found about a dozen juvenile and adult zebra mussels near the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in the Horseshoe Bay area July 29. Additional surveys also found juvenile and adult zebra mussels attached to structures in several other locations in the lake near Wirtz Dam, McNair Park and Kingsland Community Park and zebra mussel larvae were found in plankton samples. Zebra mussels are expected to spread downstream from Lake LBJ into Lake Marble Falls where zebra mussels haven't been found to date.
"It is disheartening to see zebra mussels spreading higher up the chain of the Highland Lakes in the Colorado River basin, as only boats can move this invasive species upstream to uninvaded reservoirs and downstream dispersal is inevitable," said Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Management. "Zebra mussels haven't yet been found in Lakes Buchanan and Inks, upstream of Lake LBJ, but their introduction closer to these lakes reinforces how critical it is for boaters to take steps to prevent their spread."
Lake Pflugerville, a water supply reservoir located northeast of Austin, has also been found to be infested with zebra mussels. TPWD confirmed the presence of zebra mussels at the lake after Inland Fisheries staff found adult zebra mussels attached to aquatic vegetation during a routine survey.
"If you are going to be recreating on these and other lakes in Texas, it is essential to make the effort to prevent zebra mussels from spreading further," McGarrity said. "If you are on the lake for the day, take the time to properly clean, drain and dry your boat and gear before traveling to another lake. If you store a boat in the water on a lake with zebra mussels or work at a marina where boats are stored, please reach out to us directly to make sure proper decontamination procedures are being followed before any vessel is moved. A single mussel-fouled boat or barge can carry thousands of zebra mussels and cause a new lake to become infested."
As of August 2019, 17 Texas lakes in five river basins are classified as infested with an established, reproducing population of zebra mussels, including Lake LBJ and Lake Pflugerville. New additions to the list of 11 positive lakes where zebra mussels have been detected on more than one occasion include Lakes Placid and McQueeney in the Guadalupe River basin, downstream of infested Canyon Lake. Three water bodies in Texas are currently listed as suspect, meaning zebra mussels or their larvae have been found only once in recent history. A status map and full list of these lakes can be found on the TPWD website.
"There is currently no effective way to selectively control or eliminate zebra mussels once they get established in a public lake," said Mukhtar Farooqi, TPWD Inland Fisheries Biologist. "This highlights the importance of clean, drain, dry as our best line of defense for reducing the spread of zebra mussels into new lakes."
In Texas, it is unlawful to possess or transport zebra mussels, dead or alive. Boaters are required to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water to prevent the transfer of zebra mussels and other invasive species. Zebra mussel larvae are microscopic and can survive for days in residual water, and adult zebra mussels can survive even longer out of water, especially in cooler months. The requirement to drain applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not - personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks, canoes or any other vessel used on public waters.
The rapidly reproducing zebra mussels can have serious economic, recreational and environmental impacts on Texas reservoirs and rivers. Zebra mussels can harm aquatic species, cover rocks, beaches, hard surfaces with sharp shells, clog water intakes, damage or increase maintenance on facilities using raw surface water, and damage boats and motors left in infested waters.
TPWD and partners continually monitor for invasive mussels in Texas lakes, but anyone who finds them in lakes where they haven't been found before or who spots them on boats, trailers or equipment that is being moved is encouraged to help prevent new introductions by immediately reporting the sighting to TPWD at (512) 389-4848 or by emailing photos and location information to aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov.
More information about zebra mussels can be found online at tpwd.texas.gov/ZebraMussels. A short instructional video on how to properly clean, drain and dry boats and equipment can be found on the TPWD YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/DMlEwbXmLx8.
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