TPWD Receives Grants for Aquatic Vegetation Control

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AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has received grants totaling more than $425,000 to help combat the spread of nuisance aquatic vegetation in Texas reservoirs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide $150,000 for improving boating access in Lake Conroe; $100,000 for Caddo Lake; $75,000 for Toledo Bend Reservoir and more than $50,000 for other reservoirs.

The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) will provide an additional $40,000 for Caddo Lake. SARP is a partnership composed of state fish and wildlife agencies in the Southeast and a number of other governmental and non-governmental organizations, private industry and federal agencies.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will provide additional funding as well as staff and equipment. Total estimated cost of all the projects is approximately $1 million.

Water hyacinth, giant salvinia and hydrilla are the main problem species.

"These species have negatively impacted the health of many aquatic ecosystems in the state and limited access for recreational boaters and anglers," said Dr. Earl Chilton, Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program Director for freshwater with TPWD.

"Anglers, boaters, skiers, jet-skiers and swimmers will benefit from increased access, and local businesses will benefit from increased sales of water-related recreational equipment and services," Chilton added.

Cooperating with TPWD on the various projects will be the San Jacinto River Authority, Lake Conroe Association, Cypress Valley Navigation District, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, North Texas Water Management District, City of Jacksonville, Sabine River Authority (Texas), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

"Prevention is the least costly method of controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation," Chilton pointed out. "Boaters and anglers can help by learning to identify these plants, by making sure they do not transport plant materials from one lake to another on their boats and trailers and by reporting any exotic nuisance species they discover to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department."