Archive for the 'Texas Invasives' Category

Texas Boaters: Time to Clean, Drain & Dry

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Zebra mussels on a boat motor.

This is Passport to Texas

Texans can help to protect their lakes this summer by properly cleaning, draining and drying boats and equipment every time they leave the water.

The threats to Texas’ aquatic ecosystems are many. In East Texas, the primary threat is giant salvinia – a highly invasive, free-floating aquatic fern that can make fishing, boating, swimming and other water recreation nearly impossible.

Another threat, Zebra mussels, have spread from North Texas to other lakes in East and Central Texas. These mussels can ruin shorelines with sharp shells, impact recreation, hurt native aquatic life, damage boats and clog water intakes.

If boaters take a few minutes to properly clean, drain and dry everything that touches the water before they leave, they become part of the solution. These simple steps can make a huge difference in our efforts to protect and preserve Texas lakes for future generations.

If you need incentive: the transport of aquatic invasive species can result in legal trouble for boaters, and it is punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation.

Learn more about giant salvinia, zebra mussels and other invasive species in Texas at

The Sport Fish restoration Program supports our series.

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

Down with Donax

Friday, May 4th, 2018
Arundo Donax, Image USGS

Arundo Donax, Image USGS

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife rolled out a new campaign on management of an invasive grass called Arundo Donax.
Angela England, an aquatic invasive species biologist, says learn to recognize the plant; say something if you see it, and be aware of its presence.

A lot of it you’ll see on the right-of-ways of the roads—but also in the creeks and rivers. On the banks.

The program reaches out to people in construction and road maintenance. The most effective management is herbicide use.

It doesn’t spread by seed. It only spreads by fragments of the roots and stems. So, any time there is construction activity, or veg management with mowing or tilling that will create these new fragments and spread them around—that’s just creating whole new patches that will be a problem later.

Monica McGarrity, aquatic invasive team leader says the campaign employs a character called Arundo Control Man—an everyday hero.

Everyone can be an Arundo control hero. Everyone can help to manage it. This is a training program that we’re asking everyone to put into play for their safety trainings; it’s plug and play. You can order brochures from us online. You can click play on the video, and train these groups so that all of them can become Arundo control heroes. And that’s what we’re trying to encourage.

Find a link to additional resources at

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.

Arundo: Donax, do Tell

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018
Arundo Control Man

Arundo Control Man

This is Passport to Texas

A tall, non-native invasive grass, Arundo donax grows along creek and river beds and spreads quickly. It impairs native ecology, destabilizes and impedes bank access and increases flood and fire risks.

We’re really seeing that the source of this plant getting into our waterways seems to be construction activities, fill dirt placement, and mowing that pulls it down into our creeks.

Monica McGarrity is aquatic invasive species team leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Angela England also works on this team as a biologist. She says the agency’s launched a new Arundo awareness and prevention campaign developed in partnership with the Nueces River Authority, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas Department of Transportation.

[In] this new program, we’ve geared a lot of the materials to folks in the construction industry and vegetation management. So, mowers, and folks running dozers, and so forth.

England says prevention and management begins with knowing the enemy.

We want everybody that’s in these industries to have a feel for what the plant is. We’ve got a training video; we’ve got materials that we can get to you on how to identify it. We want you to sound the alarm if you see it—and let your boss know: “Hey, it looks like there’s fragments of this bad stuff in the fill dirt that we just got. Maybe we should send it back.” And start hitting it before it gets into new places.

More on the Arundo donax campaign tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.

Arundo Donax–an Invasive Cane

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018
Arundo donax, also called Giant Reed.

Arundo donax, also called Giant Reed.

This is Passport to Texas

Have you seen thickets of plants along roadsides that look like a cross between corn and bamboo? It’s called Arundo donax.

It’s a tall, tall, tall grass. It grows up to 30 feet tall.

Angela England is an aquatic invasive species biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. This giant grass thrives along creek and river beds. Growing up to two inches per day, Arundo outcompetes native plant communities.

After the Arundo moves in and forms a real thick area, we see almost no native plants growing there. And we really depend on those native plants to preserve the soil of those stream banks.

Arundo is also a glutton for water.

Arundo is so thirsty, it takes up a lot of water and evaporates it out to the sky. And so, downstream of thick infestations, we actually see less water in the river. And that’s really a problem for fish and other animals that require that water.

A growing partnership to fight infestations of Arundo in Texas. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.

Texas Two Step Against Fire Ants

Monday, September 25th, 2017
Fire ants swarming sheet of paper. Image: TAMU

Fire ants swarming sheet of paper. Image: TAMU

This is Passport to Texas

The imported red fire ant can ruin a beautiful spring or fall day outdoors.

We typically see most activity in the spring and in the fall. It’s nice, and that’s generally when we like being outside, too, unfortunately.

Elizabeth “Wizzie” Brown, an entomologist with AgriLife Extension says researchers continue to work on ways to manage this non-native pest, which is a threat to wildlife.

We have had things that we’re working on…things like fungus, and there’s organisms that live in the fire ant body that reduce the reproductive capabilities of the fire ants. They have brought in parasitizing flies, that are called phorid flies that they use that attack the fire ants and pretty much eat them from the inside out. So we are working on it, but the fire ants are here—they’re always going to be here; these are just tools in our tool belts to help up manage those populations.

Use the Texas two-step method to combat fire ants… now through mid-October: first, broadcast an insecticide bait across your entire yard, and then treat individual mounds with an approved insecticidal drench, bait, granule or dust.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.