Archive for the 'Aquatic invasives' Category

Managing Giant Reed in the Texas Hill Country

Friday, May 20th, 2016
Arundo, photo courtesy https://www.inaturalist.org, kathelma

Arundo, photo courtesy https://www.inaturalist.org, kathelma

This is Passport to Texas

Arundo Donax—or giant reed—may not be public enemy number one, but this non-native grass, which covers an estimated half million acres in Texas, shows up on Parks and Wildlife’s most (un)wanted list.

This is an invasive plant—especially when it gets into areas along rivers and creeks.

Monica McGarrity studies aquatic invasives for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and says thanks to recent increased legislative funding, the agency can expand management efforts of arundo to the Hill Country.

One of the reasons why we’re focusing on the hill country is because these are some of the headwaters areas, they’re really important, for some of our native fishes that are imperiled; including our state fish—the Guadalupe bass. And when it gets into these narrow streams and creeks and headwaters, it can just have some devastating impacts.

Such as bank failure, decreased water quality, and habitat disruption. McGarrity says the plan includes using EPA approved herbicides and revegetating banks with native species.

This project seeks to manage the arundo to minimize impacts on these imperiled fishes, and improve habitat quality and diversity and support these conservation initiatives.

Learn more about Arundo donax at texasinvasives.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Landowners Key to Controlling Giant Reed

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
arundo donax

Arundo donax, Photo by Peggy Greb, USDA website

This is Passport to Texas

Arundo donax, or giant reed, isn’t all bad. In some parts of the world it’s used as a biofuel, and even to make reeds for woodwinds. In Texas, where it covers a half million acres of land, it’s a pest. This non-native cane doesn’t provide food or nesting habitats for wildlife – but outcompetes native plants that do. Plus it disturbs aquatic ecosystems along riparian areas where it grows. TPW works with landowners in affected areas to manage the species.

These are private waters and landowners are able to come in and tell us what problems they’re seeing with the arundo, how it’s affecting them. They’re out there to monitor over time—let us know when they see native plants coming back, or if they see any re-sprouting popping up.

Monica McGarrity, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, says strategies used to manage the pest include: Pull. Kill. Plant. Pull up young plants, use EPA approved herbicides to kill mature plants, and repopulate with native vegetation. It’s worked in the Nueces River Basin.

So we’ve been working in the Nueces River Basin with the NRA for a number of years to manage arundo. And it’s been rather effective. There’s a huge partnership that includes landowners and a variety of techniques to manage the arundo and to replant some native plants. And now we’re able to expand this into the Pedernales Basin and into the Blanco River as well.

Monica McGarrity returns to talk about that tomorrow.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Best Management of Giant Reed

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
arundo donax

Spraying EPA approved herbicide on Arundo donax. Image courtesy of www.mystatesman.com

This is Passport to Texas

Arundo Donax, or giant reed, is an invasive plant found along rivers and creeks. While it spreads through underground rhizomes, it can also multiply when cane fragments travel downstream.

You cut it, you mow it, you get fragments into the creek—each fragment can create a new plant.

This is why mowing or otherwise breaking up the cane is ill-advised. Monica McGarrity who studies aquatic invasive for TPW, says of the methods used to manage giant reed, herbicides are most effective.

We do use herbicides that are labeled for aquatic use. We take extreme care to minimize overspray, and any damage to non-target plant; we just be really selective when we hit the Arundo. And then, that allows the canes to die and remain in place. So, we’re not destabilizing the entire riparian area.

When the canes die, they provide protection for emerging native plants.

So, when you have young, native plants that start to come up, then deer and things are going to come out and munch on them. So these canes kind of create a nursery area to allow them to come back. And so that’s really important. Planting the natives alone [without first using herbicides], they haven’t evolved to compete with this huge, vigorous invader.

Landowners are vital to managing this invasive plant. Find out why on tomorrow’s show.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

More Funding to Fight Invasive Species

Friday, May 13th, 2016
Aquatic imvasives

Aquatic imvasives

This is Passport to Texas

Record funding approved by the Texas Legislature is launching new fronts in the war on aquatic invasive species.

With $6.6 million dollars in appropriations, this year and next, Texas Parks and Wildlife will ramp up an unprecedented effort to control and stop the spread of aquatic invasive plants and creatures.

Some of the aquatic invasive species that will receive the agency’s attention include: giant salvinia and zebra mussels covering Texas lakes, to giant reed and salt cedar smothering rivers and streams, to exotic fish that compete with Texas natives and alter natural ecosystems.

One major category of work is Aquatic Invasive Plant Management—projects focused on management of aquatic invasive plants on public waters to enhance boater access for recreation, and management of riparian invasive plants in target areas to improve water quality and quantity.

In Texas, the economic impacts of aquatic invasives are far-reaching, costing the state billions of dollars annually, including threatening to undermine a recreational freshwater fishing industry worth more than $4 billion-dollars.

That’s our show. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with support of proud members across the state. Find out more at tpwf.org

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Flooding and Aquatic Invasive Species

Thursday, August 20th, 2015
Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussels

This is Passport to Texas

Texas lakes and rivers are full and flowing again thanks to an influx of water brought on by heavy spring rains. The downside is we could see the spread of invasive species as a result.

06- We always have to be vigilant about invasive species: zebra mussels…giant salvinia…water hyacinths…

Inland fisheries’ Dave Terre says improved water levels and boat ramp accessibility means more boaters on the water. He adds everyone must do what is in their control to prevent the spread of these species.

09- Make sure that you clean your boats and trailers; and dry your boats–and drain your boats–before going onto other water bodies. It’s the law.

Cleaning, draining and drying boats–that’s within our control. Mother Nature is not. When she soaked Texas, it’s possible she also flushed zebra mussels downstream.

25- Certainly, we’ll be monitoring that situation through time, but at this point it’s really unknown what impact these floods will have on the spread of zebra mussels across our state. But, anglers and boaters still need to be mindful about spreading these species by boat. [Clean, drain & dry] is the one thing we do have control over, and one thing that we can do. We’re always concerned about invasive species trying to keep them out of our water bodies. So we need to control what we can control.

Find information about invasive species at texasinvasives.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.