Livingston, TX, September 15, 2015: Six Independent School Districts and 39 volunteers participated in the project to plant American Water-willow into the shoreline and islands in the Kickapoo Creek area of Lake Livingston. The school districts were Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated, Corrigan-Camden, Goodrich,
Livingston, Onalaska and Shepherd High Schools. There were 99 students and staff who participated in the project. Advisors Trinity River Authority (TRA) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Inland Fisheries brought two airboats and two large pontoon boats. The Onalaska Fire Department had their EMS team and rescue boat on site. Also key to the events were the 39 volunteers who helped us out with boats and onshore support.
We want to thank The Waterfront Lodge and Marina for allowing us to use their facilities. Mayor Roy Newport of Onalaska and Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy were there helping. The Onalaska Brookshire Brothers also helped in the cost of feeding all. Thank you to all.
Onalaska High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) was the host for the event, providing students for the planting, pictures, video, and cooking lunch for all the students, staff and volunteers. Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) wishes to thank Adam Graham and principal Anthony Roberts for hosting the event.
Students traveled to the planting sites selected by TRA, TPWD and LLFoR and planted over 2,000 plus plants at the five sites.
The students from these schools grew and propagated the plants at their respective high school aquatic tanks, which LLFoR provided. “It was a successful outing”, according to Texas Black Bass Unlimited board member / San Jacinto Master Gardener Tom McDonough and Piney Wood Lakes Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist, Jim Meyer. Students, staff and volunteers all worked together in getting the aquatic plants planted. The students enjoyed the opportunity to restore lost Habitat back into the lake.
Tom McDonough said each plant should cover approximately one square foot by this time next year, and in the following years should cover up to 100 square feet. It will take a little time to see a thriving shoreline of plants. The plants will grow out to three or four feet of water depth and will provide excellent hiding areas for juvenile fish, small reptiles and birds. It will also provide shoreline erosion control and water filtration to improve the Lake’s appearance and water quality. This will lead to a more pleasurable water recreation experience, increased tourism from water enthusiasts, nature lovers, birders and the return of large Bass fishing tournaments. All this will help the surrounding local economies.
This is a 10-year project, which is funded by private, corporate, State and Federal funding. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently recognized this project as one of its “Ten Waters to Watch”. In early November, this project will be high-lighted at the Fisheries Habitat Partnership annual event, in Ogden UT, with participants from all areas of the United States, as well as some International attendees. The student participation in habitat restoration is key to all the Advisors and US Agencies.