Fighting Aquatic Invaders
Aquatic Invasive Species: A Problem for All Texans
Aquatic invasive species negatively impact our economy, ecosystems, and quality of life. Nationwide, it is estimated that the annual economic impact of invasive species exceeds $120 billion. Globally, impacts are estimated at more than $4 trillion. Aquatic invasive species negatively affect water infrastructure, water-front property values, boating and other water-based recreation, fish and wildlife, and related fishing and hunting opportunities.
The Need for Management of Aquatic Invasive Species
The most problematic aquatic invasive species in Texas include plants such as giant salvinia and water hyacinth which form dense floating mats that impede boater access, consume high amounts of water, interfere with water conveyance for agricultural and municipal water supply, reduce property values, and negatively impact native fish and wildlife. Other invasive plant species such as giant reed form dense, nearly impenetrable stands along streams that degrade these sensitive habitats, harbor pests such as cattle ticks, and even threaten border security. Zebra mussels infest and clog water intakes and even flood control infrastructure, resulting in costly, perpetual mitigation and maintenance.
• See our Integrated Pest Management methods for aquatic invasive plants.
Comprehensive Statewide Management Strategy for Aquatic Invasive Species in Texas
Prevention is internationally recognized as one of the most effective strategies for management of aquatic invasive species. The public awareness campaign being delivered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and partners is one component of the management strategy. Early detection monitoring, rapid response to new infestations, and management of problematic aquatic plants promote recreational opportunities in the state. Scientific research helps to increase the effectiveness of and guide AIS monitoring and management efforts.
Effective Management Requires Sustained Efforts
Since state fiscal year 2016, the Texas Legislature has allocated approximately $3.2 million annually to TPWD for statewide management of aquatic invasive species. For Texas to keep pace with the constant and growing problems associated with aquatic invasive species, it will be critically important that the state's investment of technical and financial resources be supported at adequate levels for the long-term.
Implementation of the many aquatic invasive species efforts around the state would not have been possible without the contributions of key partners, including: Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties Water and Improvement District #1, Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District, Brazos River Authority, Caddo Biocontrol Alliance, City of Dallas, City of Houston, Coastal Water Authority, Cypress Valley Navigation District, Environmental Quality Operations, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Hill Country Alliance, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Lavaca-Navidad River Authority, Lower Colorado River Authority, Lower Neches Valley Authority, North Texas Municipal Water District, Nueces River Authority, Sabine River Authority, San Antonio River Authority, San Jacinto River Authority, Stephen F. Austin State University, Tarrant Regional Water District, Texas State University, The Nature Conservancy, Trinity River Authority, Upper Guadalupe River Authority, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, University of Texas—Arlington, US Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program, US Geological Survey, Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County