125 E. 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701-2483 (512) 463-8588 FAX (512) 463-9896
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March 19, 2007 Wildflower hotline available AUSTIN — Motorists searching for the best wildflower locations along Texas highways have help at their fingertips. The Texas Department of Transportation's wildflower hotline (800-452-9292) and Internet site (www.txdot.gov) give users information on the best spots to find wildflowers along the Texas highway system. The wildflower hotline, available as part of the menu for the road conditions hotline is active through early May. The hotline has a recording available 24-hours-a-day telling where wildflowers are by selecting option two. Travel counselors are also available as a new hotline feature from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. seven-days-a week, except Easter Sunday. The counselors can be reached by selecting options three, four or five. Spanish-speaking Texans should press option five for a Spanish translator. To make it easier to find wildflowers in bloom, hotline callers may request information by seven regions of the state: Big Bend, Gulf Coast, Hill Country, Panhandle, Piney-Woods (East Texas), Prairies and Lakes (North Central Texas), and Southwest Texas. Information on the hotline and Internet comes from TxDOT's maintenance offices, chambers of commerce and parks officials. "Wildflower growth will probably be above average due to the most recent rain although the drought did reduce germination in the fall in much of the state," said Dennis Markwardt director of TxDOT Vegetation Management. April is considered the prime month for blooming wildflowers. TxDOT spreads more than 20,000 pounds of wildflower seeds along Texas highway rights of way each year. Each pound contains 30 or more varieties of wildflowers. The statewide locater map for wildflower blossoms is available on the TxDOT webpage at www.txdot.gov by clicking on Travel on "Wildflowers." This area has a written summary of wildflower growth as well as an enlargeable map featuring "wildflower-power" sites, marked with colored circles representing wildflower varieties in bloom. The department's wildflower effort is part of a vegetation-management program encouraging the growth of native species that require less mowing and care. -30- For more information, call Bill Powell, (512) 463-8606. Information about TxDOT is also available through www.txdot.gov.