The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a plan to consider having the lesser prairie chicken listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Lawmakers in major oil and gas producing districts immediately cried foul.
Lesser prairie chicken photo: TPWD
"A listing will have permanent economic consequences for the people of Texas who live and work in the Permian Basin and the Texas Panhandle," said Representative Michael Conaway.
Conaways West Texas district produces much of the states oil and about one-quarter of its gas.
Protecting the lesser prairie-chicken "could drive ranching families and energy producers out of business," said Representative Randy Neugebauer, whose district in East-Central Texas is a large agricultural area.
CCA Funds Sportfishing Science Center
Coastal Conservation Association Texas recently pledged $500,000 toward the creation of a Sportfishing Research Center within the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
This unique research center holds promise to address many of the key scientific issues facing the ecosystems that support Gulf of Mexico sportfishing. Dr. Greg Stunz, Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health at HRI, will direct the Centers operations. Stunz has a long history in the marine science community and was CCAs first marine science scholarship recipient.
"This research center is unique in a number of ways, and truly there is nothing like it in the western Gulf," said Larry McKinney, executive director for HRI. "The timing for the creation of the center is perfect. With such pressing issues as the role of Gulf passes on bay ecosystems and the impact of diminishing Gulf habitat, recreational anglers need a center that can tackle these multi-decade concerns."
CCA Texas and HRI have partnered on a number of ground-breaking projects including Dr. Stunzs spotted seatrout catch-and-release study and efforts to reopen Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough.
Ag Service Warns of Invasive Stinkbug
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists are urging travelers to be wary of a new species of unwelcome six-legged hitchhikers--the brown marmorated stinkbug.
The invasive pest is originally from Asia and is found in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. It was spotted in Pennsylvania in 1998 and has spread from there. The bug likes to hitchhike on RVs and travel trailers.
"So far, weve only had one confirmed in Texas, said Bill Ree, AgriLife Extension entomologist at College Station. "That single find last November at Corpus Christi was from a pest control operator investigating a stink bug infestation in a trailer or RV that had been moved to Corpus from Pennsylvania.
Brown marmorated stinkbug photo: USDA
"Thats why we want the public, pest control operators and those in the landscape industry to be aware that we really want to know about possible sites before they escalate as they have elsewhere."
The bug can cause lasting foul smells in homes and other confines, plus cause major damage to a wide variety of crops and plants.
Entomologists are asking all Texans to report and submit suspected samples so they can confirm if and where the insects may be taking up residence in the state.
Samples should include the name and contact information of the sender, the location the bug was found, and the plant or place where it was found. Ree said specimens should be put in something like a pill bottle (preferably dead) and sent to Kira Metz, Minnie Belle Heep Building 216D, 2475 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2475. The specimens could also be sent to any AgriLife Extension agent, but those will also be confirmed by Metz.