Livingston, TX, July 21, 2016: Braving the summer heat, two groups of volunteers clipped starter tips and transplanted nearly 5,000 American Water-willow aquatic plants, pushing forward on a goal to plant 10,000 per year to “Bring Lake Livingston Back to Life.” Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) is working to defray the costs of buying plants by perfecting a propagation system that is increasing plant inventory quickly with the help of a growing corps of volunteers.
LLFoR’s largest all volunteer group of 26 gathered on July 18 to propagate 3,500 plants in a record three hours. A smaller group of 14 transplanted 1,200 plants on June 27. Most of these transplants were tipped, creating starter plants that will be ready for transplant to larger pots in a few months.
“We have developed an experienced core of volunteers, who know what needs to be done, and they get it done quickly,” said Tom McDonough, LLFoR Project Director. “Our goal of maintaining a 10,000 planting-ready inventory is within reach. We’re just 1,700 plants from that goal and beginning to see expansion in our lake plantings.”
The transplanted aquatic plants must be submerged in grow tanks, and are maintained by students and instructors in six local independent school districts: Livingston (LHS & LIS), Corrigan-Camden, Onalaska, Shepherd, Goodrich, and Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated ISDs. McDonough and Project Inventory Manager Pam Klouda delivered transplants to the schools for ongoing care until they are planted in Lake Livingston.
After putting out a call for extra help at Onalaska High School, Onalaska Mayor Roy Newport and his wife showed up to assist in getting 600 plants into the school’s tanks.
Three plantings of 300-400 plants by partner volunteers are planned for July and August. Two larger student/partner plantings of 3,500 plants each are planned for September 2016 and May 2017.
McDonough is managing this 10-year project with partners Texas Black Bass Unlimited, Trinity River Authority, and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Additional volunteers come from the Polk County Hookers, San Jacinto County Master Gardeners, and the Piney Wood Lakes Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists.