AUSTIN, Texas — Hoping to add to the pile of more than 15,000 lost and abandoned crab traps hauled from Texas bays during the last three years, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are gearing up for another round of cleanups, and this time the closed season is from Feb. 18-27. Weather-permitting, Feb. 19 is the day for the main volunteer cleanup effort. Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the many thousands of wire-mesh cages that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. During the efforts of the past three years, traps just from San Antonio Bay and Galveston Bay have accounted for more than 10,000 of the traps collected along the coast. Prior to the 77th Legislature of Texas authorizing an abandoned crab-trap removal program, only the trap’s owner or a TPWD game warden could legally remove a crab trap. TPWD will be facilitating the volunteer trap removal efforts on Feb. 19 at 16 locations coast-wide. In case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed until the next available weekend day, but cannot occur after Feb. 27. Last year, volunteers with the aid of numerous sponsors removed more than 3,500 traps. “This program is a strong indication of the wonderful resource conservation ethics that the public has about protecting Texas’ bays and estuaries,” said Art Morris, TPWD program coordinator. “With this years’ joint efforts with Louisiana in Sabine Lake and volunteer and sponsor participation shaping up to be as big as years past, we should have a great cleanup. But we still need all the volunteers we can get, especially in Galveston, Matagorda and San Antonio Bays.” The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas secured $29,000 through the FishAmerica Foundation for this year’s crab trap cleanup event. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cecil M. Hopper Museum, and Anheuser-Busch are providing grants for the crab trap removal program. And even more help is coming from the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Regional Steel, Best Manufacturing, Gander Mountain, HEB, and numerous organizations and companies like CCA, SCA Texas, SALT, and others. Morris noted that individuals who do cleanups on days other than TPWD facilitated cleanup dates will have to make their own arrangements for trap disposal but can contact a local coordinator for assistance. Following is a site list of TPWD staffed locations where traps can be dropped off during the cleanup. Each site will be manned by TPWD staff from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Disposal facilities will be provided at each site on the day of the cleanup. For those who choose to work on their own, TPWD requests information about the number of traps that they collect. To volunteer or for more information, contact one of the regional coordinators Art Morris in Corpus Christi at (361) 825-3356 or Bobby Miller in Dickinson at (281) 534-0110. Crab Trap Cleanup Collection Sites Aransas Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Karen Meador, (361) 729-2328 * Goose Island State Park — Rockport Corpus Christi Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Paul Choucair, (361) 729-2328 * Conn Brown Harbor — Aransas Pass Galveston Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Rebecca Hensley (281) 534-0108 Trinity Bay — Fort Anahuac Park * Galveston Bay/Jones Lake — Fat Boy’s State Ramp off I-45 * Christmas Bay — Ernie’s II (Sy’s) Ramp, Chocolate Bayou Ramp FM 2004 Lower Laguna Madre — Local TPWD coordinator Randy Blankinship (956) 350-4490 * Adolfe Thomae County Park-Arroyo City * Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp-Port Mansfield. Matagorda Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (361) 972-6253 * Matagorda Harbor Boat Ramp – Matagorda * Railroad Park Public Ramp – Palacios Sabine Lake — Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104 * Walter Umphrey State Park (Mesquite Point) on Pleasure Island-Port Arthur * S.A.L.T. Clubhouse on Pleasure Island – Port Arthur San Antonio Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425 * Charlie’s Bait Stand — Seadrift * Port O’Conner TPWD dock Upper Laguna Madre — Local TPWD coordinator Kyle Spiller (361) 825-3353 * Bluff Landing Boat Ramp – Corpus Christi * Kaufer Park Boat Ramp — Baffin Bay — Riviera Beach

– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide