Bolstered by a record appropriation from the Texas Legislature, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, river authorities and other partners are stepping up the war against an army of non-native plants and animals that threaten our waterways.
The 84th Legislature provided $6.3 million to address statewide management of aquatic invasive species, an increase from $1.1 million in the previous two-year funding cycle. This investment will expand TPWD's ability to apply known control methods, fund research into new solutions, and support cost-effective outreach and prevention.
The impacts of aquatic invasive species are far-reaching and cost Texas billions of dollars each year. Floating plants such as water hyacinth and giant salvinia form dense mats that degrade habitat for fish and wildlife, choke water conveyance structures, and interfere with boating and fishing on Texas lakes. Other invasive plants like giant reed and saltcedar proliferate along the banks of creeks and rivers where they crowd out native vegetation, channelize streams, and alter natural flood plains. Zebra mussels colonize beaches with their sharp shells, foul boat propellers, and clog municipal water intake pipes.
In a state that contains 1.7 billion acres of surface water and 191,000 miles of rivers and streams, the scale of the problem is staggering. No single organization can handle it alone. With resources supplied in this funding cycle, TPWD is enlisting the help of boaters, riverside landowners, river authorities, water management districts, and other partners to expand the scope and scale of aquatic invasive species prevention and control efforts across the state.