Blanco River Named 2018 “Water to Watch” by National Fish Habitat Partnership
Oct. 5, 2018
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AUSTIN – The Blanco River is one of the primary river networks that Central Texas communities depend upon for drinking water, flood abatement, agricultural production and recreation. Thanks to collaborative conservation work conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), landowners and other local partners, the Blanco River was named one of 20 “Waters to Watch” by the National Fish Habitat Partnership in 2018.
The “Waters to Watch” are voluntary, locally-driven projects representing some of the top conservation activities in progress implemented by regional Fish Habitat Partnerships throughout the country. The conservation projects are designed to conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats essential to the many fish and wildlife species that call these areas home.
Conservation work being done on the Blanco River includes restoring riparian habitat to stabilize flood-damaged river banks and reintroducing a genetically pure population of native Guadalupe bass, the official state fish of Texas. Additionally, TPWD and other partners provide onsite technical guidance to streamside landowners to encourage best management practices that eliminate invasive species like Arundo and support native fish and plant communities.
“After historic flooding in 2015, Blanco River banks experienced heavy erosion, which impacts water quality, water quantity and favors exotic species,” said Ryan McGillicuddy, TPWD Conservation Ecologist. “Our conservation work on the Blanco River since then has focused on organizing and engaging a network of riparian landowners to restore healthy plant communities that are more resilient to the effects of flooding and benefit native aquatic life like Guadalupe bass.”
“Our state fish is a highly sought after sport fish for river anglers, so in addition to providing ecological value to the native aquatic life that call the river home, this work could provide future economic value to the region by enhancing recreational angling opportunities on the Blanco River,” he added.
Primarily funded by Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, conservation work on the Blanco River is also supported by state invasive species funds to combat the spread of invasive species that degrade instream and riparian habitats.
Partners on the Blanco River include TPWD, The Nature Conservancy, Hill Country Alliance, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Fredericksburg, TreeFolks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
To learn more about Blanco River conservation work, visit: http://www.fishhabitat.org/waters-to-watch/detail/blanco-river-texas.