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May 27, 2008

McKinney leaves environmental legacy at TPWD

McKinney has been named executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Dr. Larry McKinney, known affectionately as "Dr. Doom" for his candid, outspoken approach to addressing environmental issues, is leaving the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department a legacy not built on despair, but on hope.

McKinney, director of Coastal Fisheries and senior director of Aquatic Resources for TPWD, has been named executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He assumes his new role in July.

"All of us at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will miss Dr. McKinney's extraordinary leadership, scientific acumen, vision, and conservation ethic while serving as Director of Coastal Fisheries," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director.

"During his nearly 25 year tenure with the agency, he has been at the forefront of innovative conservation efforts to protect our seagrass meadows, to ensure adequate freshwater inflows into our bays and estuaries, to enhance our sport fisheries, and to conserve our unique fish and wildlife resources along the Texas coast," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director.

"Texas is the only state with a significant saltwater angler population that has seen positive increases in numbers over the last 5 years - a 25 percent gain," McKinney noted. "Florida and California saw an 18 percent drop over that time and all other Gulf states declined sharply. Not only that but our anglers are fishing twice as much and the economic benefits to Texas include the creation of over 5,000 jobs during that time. The action we have taken like regional regulations and the continued emphasis on ecosystem management has put our fisheries in their best condition in the last 30 years."

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies is an endowed and developing research institute that supports and advances the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico through a tri-national approach between the United States, Mexico and Cuba. The Institution was created in 2000 by a $46 million endowment from Edward H. Harte, philanthropist and former publisher of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.