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OUTDOORS: TPWD combats invasive arundo

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Like giant salvinia, another invasive plant species has invaded Texas: Arundo.
The plant is threatening to take over rivers in the Hill Country.
There’s currently a statewide financial effort of $6.3 million going toward controlling invasive aquatic species.
The Texas Legislature approved the funding for the 2016-17 biennium – an increase of $1.1 million from the previous two-year cycle.
Arundo could alter the shape and flow of streams, worsen erosion and exacerbate flooding problems – as well as increase wildfire risk.
The plant also is known as the giant reed or Carrizo cane. The plant is native to the Mediterranean, and introduced here as an ornamental plant.
Arundo grows in dense thickets up to 30 feet tall or taller – choking deep-rooted vegetation and infesting areas that are prone to bank undercutting – which can reduce water quality.
The plant is a “big drinker,” using more water than it displaces.
It threatens fish in Hill County rivers, including the state fish – the Guadalupe bass. The plant has degraded the bass’ habitat.
To fight the problem, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its partners are working with riverside landowners to put a stop to Arundo infestation. Read the Jan. 4 edition of The Bowie News for more outdoors news, including a list of trout stocking dates.

Arundo is yet another invasive plant species the Texas legislature has appropriated funds to combat. (Courtesy photo by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

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Nocona, Saint Jo finish in top 25 of Lone Star Cup

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On the Thursday the final Lone Star Cup standings were released for the 2023-2024 school year.
Montague County had two schools that finished among the top 25 in their classification.
Nocona finished tied for 13th place in 2A while Saint Jo was tied for 24th place in 1A.
It is the highest finish for Nocona ever since the Lone Star Cup started up in the late 1990s. While it is associated with and measures the overall success of a school’s athletic program, it also takes into account the school’s success in academic and other programs like band, one-act-play, robotics, etc.
Nocona scored points in volleyball, football, cheerleading, girls and boys basketball and baseball. Unfortunately, its state appearance in film did not count towards the total. It all added up to 41 points, which is the most in program history
For Saint Jo, the success of its volleyball, football, softball, baseball, girl’s and boy’s basketball teams led to 32 points.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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UIL changes playoff format

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The University Interscholastic League announced on Tuesday changes for the upcoming school year when it comes to playoff formatting.
For 2A-5A schools, playoff formatting for volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball and soccer will now be split up into two divisions that will model itself like the 6A football playoffs. For 1A schools, this will only be applied for basketball. In all, there will be 12 state champions in those sports now.
This means there will be two playoff divisions within every classification. Districts will stay the same and not be affected. Four teams from every district will still make the playoffs, but now the two biggest schools of the four will play in the bracket with the other bigger schools while the two smaller schools will play in the other bracket.
This will not be like 1A-5A football, where divisions are hard cut by enrollment numbers and district alignments are set up with this in mind. Some districts that feature schools with low enrollment numbers within a classification will have to send two schools to compete in the big school bracket.
At lower levels, it might still set up a scenario where a team faces a school with twice the enrollment numbers. The thought process is it should happen less.
With fewer teams in the playoff bracket, certain parts of the playoffs like the area round and the regional tournament will not be featured as there will be less games to play on the way to the state tournament.
While the announcement was surprising to some, other coaches said they first heard about it at the basketball state tournament. UIL polled coaches, who were reportedly all for the change according to Nocona athletic director Blake Crutsinger.
For some schools, the changes will not mean much besides fewer games. Bowie is in that spot. With an enrollment number of 493, only Vernon and Iowa Park are the schools in its district that are bigger and would have to finish at the top two spots in the standings in order for Bowie teams to play in the smaller bracket.
For other schools, the change could be a big deal. Nocona’s enrollment of 234 is only 20 short of the 2A limit. The Indians will most likely play in the bigger bracket in every sport.
The Lady Indians basketball team finished as runners-up at state this year and will return four of their five starters. The teams that have beaten them the last two years, Martin’s Mill and Lipan along with several other 2A basketball powers have low enrollment numbers and would probably be in the smaller school bracket.
For 1A schools, the change is welcome but the fact volleyball was not included was sad to see for some coaches. From a numbers perspective, there are almost twice as many schools that offer basketball (213) than volleyball (123) in 1A.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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4H Horse Club winners announced

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These girls were all around winners at the June 8 Montague County 4H Horse Club show. High Point buckle winners were Emersyn Denoon and Laney Dyer, reserve all around halter winners were Kenzi McEwen and Audrey DeMore.

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