Archive for the 'Aquatic invasives' Category

Best Management of Giant Reed

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
arundo donax

Spraying EPA approved herbicide on Arundo donax. Image courtesy of

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

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

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Invasive Tilapia: Defeating by Eating

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Blue Tilapia

Blue Tilapia

This is Passport to Texas

When you hear the word tilapia, you may think of a savory meal with lemon and butter sauce, but you probably don’t think of the term “invasive species.”

11—The tilapia are great to eat. They’re raised as a food fish, and they’re quite tasty. They’re quite popular in restaurants. But the problem is when they’re in our natural waters they are upsetting the ecosystem.

Tilapia, found in Texas for decades, originally came here as a food source, and raised in fish farms. Eventually the fish ended up living wild in Texas waters.

What makes them invasive? Gary Garrett, former inland fisheries biologist with TPW, said tilapia pose a potential threat to largemouth bass and other native species.

16—They build big pit nests and in doing that they stir up a lot of the settlement. And it’s been shown, for example, with large mouth bass, all that sediment stirred up and settling back down will often kill largemouth bass eggs.

When the tilapia does this, they can potentially damage the entire ecosystem because of the intricate nature of the food chain.

Parks and Wildlife has state regulations for tilapia, but because they exist throughout Texas, they are difficult to control. But if you like to fish, Garrett says there is a way you can help.

03—Don’t throw them back. If you catch them, keep them.

Next time you catch a tilapia, turn on the grill and get cooking. You’ll be doing yourself and the Texas ecosystem a flavor.

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

Beating Down Zebra Mussels in Lake Waco

Thursday, May 14th, 2015
Zebra mussels

Zebra mussels

This is Passport to Texas

In September 2014, when City of Waco employees found zebra mussels near a boat ramp in Lake Waco, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the City of Waco, and Texas Army Corps of Engineers moved quickly to stop this non-native aquatic invasive in its tracks.

06-The City of Waco ordered up tarps, they hired commercial divers, set the plan, and last fall we put ’em all in place.

Brian Van Zee, Inland Fisheries Regional Director, says there wasn’t time to obtain permits for chemical treatments, so divers and staff positioned the eight thick, rubber tarps on the lake bottom over the infested area to block sunlight and oxygen below.

15- We just recently pulled those tarps from lake Waco, and it was really looking very good; we could tell by the condition of the tarps– underneath them–that we had reached anoxic conditions. You could smell the hydrogen sulfide smell and these black conditions you typically see when you have anoxic conditions.

Although divers found two live zebra mussels on rocks they brought up, Van Zee is optimistic.

14-Maybe we knocked back the number of zebra mussels that were in that area, far enough to where they cannot create a viable, reproducing population. We don’t know if that’s the case or not. We really won’t know probably until this spring or summer, actually; maybe even next fall.

Until then, all partners will continue to monitor the lake and enforce the clean, drain and dry law for all boaters. Learn more on the TPW website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series. Learn about combating zebra mussels and other aquatic invasives at

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