Archive for the 'Aquatic invasives' Category

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 passporttotexas.org.

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.

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.