Archive for the 'Texas Invasives' Category

Eradicating Giant Salvinia

Thursday, July 25th, 2019
Warning sign about Giant Salvinia.

Warning sign about Giant Salvinia.

This is Passport to Texas

In the 1958 movie The Blob, an ever-expanding goo from outer space threatened humankind. Today, Texas lakes are being invaded by a “blob” of a sort called Giant Salvinia: a floating aquatic fern that can double in size every seven to ten days.

In order to control it we have to be able to get on it early.

John Findeisen is a Natural Resources Specialist at Parks and Wildlife. His Aquatic Habitat Enhancement team is working to contain and eradicate Giant Salvinia.

We’ve starting using a lot more floating booms to keep it contained. We’ve found that if you can keep it contained then your chances of eradicating the plant are a lot easier.

Floating containment booms along with targeted herbicide treatments and freezing temperatures helped John’s team eradicate the plant from Lake Fork and Lake Athens in East Texas. But Giant Salvinia remains a threat.

The threat always remains. What we need to do is to get the recreational boaters, our angler, as well as our duck hunters to make sure that you clean, drain and dry. Clean out everything you have. Clean your boat, the trailer, the motor. When you find that stuff pull it off, throw it in a trash can or onto the ground where it’ll dry up and die.

Help stop the Giant Salvinia blob. Remember to clean, drain… and dry.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Giant Salvinia–A Real Life Alien Invader

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
A handful of Giant Salvinia.

A handful of Giant Salvinia.

This is Passport to Texas

People of a certain age recall the arcade game Space Invaders. It was fun and pretend. Today Giant Salvinia is a not so fun, real-life alien invader found in Texas Lakes.

Giant Salvinia is from South America originally and it came to the United States through the aquatic gardening and the aquarium industry.

Natural Resources Specialist, John Findeisen, leads the Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Team at TPW.

It’s a floating aquatic fern. It appears to have a root but what looks like a root is nothing more than a modified leaf. It does go through very, very rapid vegetative reproduction where it replicates itself. If it gets cut in half each one of those halves will become a new plant.

This invasive alien plant cuts off sunlight to submersed aquatic vegetation which is a key ingredient in sustaining aquatic life.

Once you start losing that habitat, native life is just going to leave. In addition to that we’re not getting the production of oxygen into the water column itself. So basically, it’s an aquatic desert.

The Giant Salvinia threat to lakes is real. Boaters: always clean, drain and dry all watercraft and equipment before leaving the boat ramp. Transporting Giant Salvinia, or any invasive species, is prohibited by law.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program Supports our Series.

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

Don’t Dump Your Aquariums in Texas Waters

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

Aquarium in TV. Image: Furnish Burnish

This is Passport to Texas

Texas welcomes visitors from around the globe. Unless, of course, they’re non-native plants and animals. Those pose potentially devastating problems to ecosystems.

Don’t Dump Your Tank, a new initiative by Texas Parks and Wildlife, cautions us to never dump our aquariums into a lake, stream or saltwater bay.

When you dump an aquarium into a natural body of water you have the potential to create an invasive species. This is with fish, plants and animals

Julie Hagen works with coastal fisheries at Texas Parks and Wildlife

It’s really important that if you can’t take care of your aquarium any more there a lot of other options that you have: donating, selling or trading your aquarium and any of the contents that are inside as well as calling local aquarium shops, maybe where you bought your aquarium and seeing if you can return it.

Something you should never do is your fish down the toilet.

This is not “Finding Nemo” they will not make it to the ocean. They will never find their way to a natural body of water.

As a last resort, there are ways to humanly euthanize fish. Search the internet, consult your aquarium dealer or call a local Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist.

Prevention is key with invasive species. Be mindful of your actions and what your putting back into the water because it really does matter.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to serve.

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

Challenges of Controlling Feral Swine

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Herd of feral hogs.

This is Passport

Trapping and hunting are not effective controls against feral pigs.

These methods have not been able to reduce the geographic spread and the increase and abundance of feral pigs in our state, nationwide, and – I’m sorry to say – globally.

Justin Foster, research coordinator at TPWD for region two, says we need new tools to combat the pigs. The agency is evaluating sodium nitrite based pig toxicants.

What we don’t have is a tremendous amount of information that tells us that we can deliver any pesticide safely, reliably and humanely.

They’re collecting that data now. During one field test the pigs dropped baits, perhaps detecting a difference between the placebo and poison versions. This lead to unintended costs for passerine birds.

And so, as this bait was being dropped, and those feral pigs were going back to the feeder to try some more—it wasn’t so bad that they weren’t trying more—they were trampling the bait that had been dropped. And that bait had some grain in it. We assume those passerine birds were targeting that grain.

Researchers do not take such losses lightly, and continue to work on a reliable and humane protocol.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds the development of toxicants and delivery strategies for controlling feral hogs in Texas.

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

Controlling Feral Swine in Texas

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Feral Hogs at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area

This is Passport

Feral hogs account for more than $52 million dollars in damage to Texas agriculture annually. The cost to habitat and wildlife is incalculable. While Texas has more feral swine than any other state, we don’t know their numbers.

Estimates at the statewide scale are pretty loose. And I’d kind of like to leave it at that.

Justin Foster is research coordinator at TPWD for region two. He said some estimates suggest upwards of 3.5-million feral pigs roam Texas.

Their impacts are certainly well documented and widespread. And, I think all of them [impacts] are not identified yet.

They may, in fact, be doing more harm than we know. These animals are adaptable, robust, and are reproductive stars. Populations vary due to wide-ranging resource conditions. Hunting is not effective when it comes to reducing their numbers. So, Texas Parks and Wildlife is studying the use of a toxicant to control them.

We’re talking about, literally, a pesticide. It is an active ingredient that is targeted to produce a lethal outcome for the purposes of control. In this case, that active ingredient that our work centers around is sodium nitrite.

Tomorrow: the trial and error process of finding an effective control.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds the development of toxicants and delivery strategies for controlling feral hogs in Texas.

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