Initiatives for Arundo Control
Arundo donax, commonly called Arundo, giant reed, or carrizo cane, is a highly invasive, non-native grass with the potential to significantly damage the health of streams and rivers by affecting water quality and quantity, worsening flooding, displacing native plants, destabilizing banks, contributing to erosion, increasing fire risk, and harboring other invasive species such as feral hogs. Targeted, aquatic-approved herbicide application is used to gain control of significant Arundo infestations. This control method has the least impact on the stream ecosystem and is currently being provided at no cost to landowners in priority areas. In some areas, re-seeding or planting of native plants and control of other invasive plants is needed to support establishment of healthy, strong, native vegetation along the creeks. Our ultimate goal is to help restore healthy stream function and improve habitats beside and within the creek. These measures will benefit our state fish, Guadalupe Bass, found only in the Hill Country.
Nueces River Basin
The Pull.Kill.Plant. initiative has been a leader and model for successful management of Arundo through building partnerships with riverside landowners along the Frio, Dry Frio, Sabinal, and Nueces rivers in priority areas. More than 300 acres of Arundo along 90 river miles have been treated over the past 7 years. This effort is led by the Nueces River Authority with support from TPWD.
In late 2015, the Healthy Creeks Initiative to manage Arundo in the Hill Country began with surveys and demonstration treatments by TPWD in partnership with Hill Country Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, City of Fredericksburg, and several private landowners. In 2016, the initiative began to implement large-scale management of Arundo on Hill Country streams. Through building partnerships with the Texas Department of Transportation and river and creekside landowners in the headwaters of the Blanco and Pedernales rivers, these efforts have been highly successful (see project map). In 2018, efforts expanded to the Upper Medina and Upper Guadalupe river basins through partnerships with Upper Guadalupe River Authority and Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District.
Ongoing biological monitoring of creekside plant communities, aquatic life, water quality and quantity, and changes in the shape of Barons Creek (Upper Pedernales) over time will provide insights on how Arundo management benefits creek health. Early results suggest management efforts are not harming aquatic life and are likely to greatly improve diversity of native species.
Arundo infestation, before and a few months after treatment
Arundo Control Man
Lessons from Arundo Control Man is a training program for Texans working in construction, road or park maintenance, landscaping, ranchland management, and anyone else who may encounter this plant.
- Arundo donax infographic - PDF
- Controlling Invasive Cane
- Branching Out: Giant reed and saltcedar – Texas Parks & Wildlife, July 2016
- Managing Giant Reed in the Texas Hill Country – Passport to Texas radio spot
- Keeping Hill Country Creeks Healthy - PDF
- Your Remarkable Riparian Guide – Nueces River Authority
- Hill Country Design Guidelines - PDF (large file)
- Texas Rivers & Streams