|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2019-04-30                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 30, 2019
Invasive Giant Salvinia Eradicated from Lake Fork, Lake Athens
AUSTIN - Recent vegetation surveys conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Aquatic Habitat Enhancement (AHE) Team have revealed that giant salvinia - an invasive, free-floating fern that has been wreaking havoc on East Texas lakes for more than 20 years - is believed to have been eradicated from Lake Fork and Lake Athens.
"We have not found giant salvinia in either lake since early last winter," said John Findeisen, AHE Team Lead. "This is very exciting news, because when we first discovered the 12 to 15-acre infestation at Lake Fork back in 2017 we weren't sure if eradication was even possible. This success goes to show you that with early detection and a coordinated, rapid response between TPWD, local organizations, anglers and boaters, we can effectively fight back against this invasive plant."
Giant salvinia was first discovered in Texas on Toledo Bend in 1998 and has since spread throughout East Texas. The most recent infestation at Lake Fork was discovered in November 2017, and Lake Athens was first found infested with the invasive plant in February 2018. As part of rapid response efforts following these discoveries, the AHE team deployed floating booms to contain giant salvinia in affected areas and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of herbicide treatments.
"Floating containment booms, strategic herbicide treatments and frequent below freezing temperatures all contributed to the elimination of the remaining salvinia," Findeisen said. "We are happy to report to anglers and boaters that the containment boom placed in Lake Athens to control the infestation has been moved, and the boom currently in place at Lake Fork will soon have an overlapping opening to allow access to the back of White Oak Creek without having to cross the boom."
Findeisen said that while giant salvinia has been eradicated from these lakes, TPWD will continue monitoring them closely as they are still at high-risk of reintroduction due to their popularity as angling and boating destinations and their proximity to other infested lakes.
"As the weather warms and people start visiting these lakes more often they need to remember to properly clean, drain and dry boats and equipment to prevent reintroductions of giant salvinia," Findeisen said. "These procedures don't just apply to lakes where there are known infestations of giant salvinia, because every lake in Texas is capable of harboring a variety of aquatic invasive species, including water hyacinth and zebra mussels. Nobody wants to be known as the person that brought salvinia to a lake."
All boaters, anglers and lake-front property owners should learn to identify giant salvinia as well as other invasive species that occur in Texas waters. Most importantly, boaters should remember to clean their boats and trailers before leaving the boat ramp. Transporting giant salvinia, along with other invasive species, is prohibited by law and punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation.
Giant salvinia is currently present on 18 East Texas lakes, including Brandy Branch Reservoir, Caddo Lake, Lake Conroe, B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, Lake Livingston, Martin Creek Reservoir, Lake Murvaul, Lake Nacogdoches, Lake Naconiche, Lake O' the Pines, Lake Palestine, Lake Raven, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Sheldon Reservoir, Lake Striker, Lake Texana, Lake Timpson, Hemphill City Lake, and Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Anyone who spots this invasive plant outside of affected areas should report additional infestations by calling (409) 698-9121 or emailing aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov.
For more information on proper cleaning protocols for boats and equipment, and to learn more about giant salvinia and other invasive species, visit tpwd.texas.gov/giantsalvinia.

[ Note: This item is more than five months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 30, 2019
TPWD Launches New Desert Bighorn Sheep Conservation License Plate
AUSTIN - Texans can help the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in its wildlife conservation efforts through their purchase of the new Desert Bighorn Sheep conservation license plate, available now.
The new plate sells for $30/year, with $22 going directly to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help fund wildlife management, research and restoration projects for bighorn sheep, pronghorn, white-tailed deer, mule deer, javelina, alligator and more.
The new plate design is a first for TPWD. "Our longtime plate artist, Clemente Guzman, retired, so we decided to use a photograph of a majestic Bighorn Sheep proudly looking into the desert--and perhaps its future," said Janis Johnson with the TPWD Conservation License Plate program. "We conducted an online survey with thousands of hunters and conservationists and had them rank several designs for a Bighorn Sheep plate and a Pronghorn plate. The Bighorn Sheep was the overwhelming favorite."
TPWD has been involved with Bighorn sheep restoration efforts since 1954 and is working with Texas Bighorn Society, and other conservation organizations, to restore desert bighorn sheep to their historic mountain ranges in the Trans-Pecos region. Since December 2010, more than 400 desert bighorn sheep have been captured and moved from surplus populations to other mountain ranges. Transplanted sheep have done quite well and have gradually expanded their range. They are equipped with GPS collars, which provide valuable data that will enhance future restoration efforts.
Over the last 18 years, $1.2 million in funds garnered from the sale of TPWD's white-tailed deer conservation license plates has supported projects like chronic wasting disease research and containment, big game population and harvest surveys, Trans-Pecos pronghorn restoration efforts, and more. Additionally, a 1-to-3 match ratio with USFWS Pittman-Robertson funds (which are monies derived from the sale of guns and ammo) helps address these significant conservation needs.
To learn more about these programs and how revenues from sales of the Desert Bighorn Sheep conservation license plate will be used, please visit: http://www.conservationplate.org/projects.phtml.
The Desert Bighorn Sheep plate is one of nine specialty plates that support the department's mission. Others include the horned lizard, rattlesnake and hummingbird plates benefiting wildlife diversity; the white-tailed deer plate benefiting big game management; the large-mouth bass plate benefiting bass fishing; the Texas Rivers plate benefiting Texas rivers; and the camping and bluebonnet plates benefiting state parks.
"We expect this plate will appeal to a variety of people, including wildlife conservationists, hunters, people who have a fondness for desert wildlife or anyone who wants to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department," added Johnson.
The new Bighorn Sheep plate will be available late April on TPWD's website, www.conservationplate.org, the TxDMV website, or your local county tax assessor-collector's office. You do not have to wait until you receive your renewal notice, you can order at any time and the cost will be pro-rated. All conservation plates are available for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and RVs.
Toyota has been a proud sponsor of the TPWD Conservation License Plate program since 2003.