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TPWD News,, 512-389-8030

Dec. 18, 2015

Texas Ramping Up Fight against Aquatic Invasive Species

Texas Legislature Appropriates $6.5 Million to Fund Control Measures, Research Efforts

AUSTIN – Texas is ramping up its efforts in the Pineywoods ecoregion of East Texas to fight the invasion of aquatic species that pose significant threats to the state’s environment and its economy.

Aquatic invasive species are costing Texas billions of dollars annually in lost property values, lost water, lost potential for power generation, degradation of the state’s natural resources, and management costs. The potential economic loss in property values alone as a result of continued aquatic invasive infestation in Texas has been estimated at upwards of $17.5 billion. Additionally, when left untreated, these plants can significantly impair outdoor recreational activities like boating, fishing and waterfowl hunting.

Efforts to combat these impacts got a much-needed boost this year, thanks to $6.5 million in legislative appropriations during the last session that state officials believe will be crucial to address the problem over this two-year biennium.

“Without adequate management efforts, the problem will only continue to worsen,” said Rep. Chris Paddie. “Combatting the spread of invasive species is one of the most pressing issues for our lakes, businesses and sportsman. The increased funding shows the legislature’s commitment to combating the spread of invasive species and I look forward to working with the Parks and Wildlife Department to combat these species.”

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in partnership with other agencies and stakeholders, has been battling against the spread of aquatic invasive plants such as giant salvinia, water hyacinth, and hydrilla for decades with limited success. Research into various management options has shown promise toward controlling the spread of these plants, but come with a price tag that until now has been out of reach.

As a result of the new funding, additional resources being directed at aquatic invasive management include $1.4 million for herbicidal vegetation control treatment, biological treatment, and new TPWD staff positions in East Texas dedicated to aquatic invasive management, including capabilities for small infestation rapid response.

Other funded projects include $400,000 for a zebra mussel and giant salvinia outreach and public awareness marketing campaign, development of a new giant salvinia herbicide, exotic fish research, and native plant restoration.

Some of the work has already begun. For example:

SL 2015-12-18

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