Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs, now in its fourth year of creating aquatic habitat along the shores of Texas’ second largest lake, held a major planting Friday, May 4 at the Sam Houston State University Park on FM 980 just west of Riverside.
The strategic goals of this conservation program are to: ·
Reestablish Lake Livingston as a prime destination for anglers and outdoor recreationists
Create aquatic habitat in protected areas to attract fish, birds, invertebrates ·
Collaborate with like-minded organizations for support and to amplify the ecological conversation ·
Educate community, businesses, and students on the economic and lifestyle value of building a thriving aquatic habitat
After our study of planting success showed only a 50 percent success rate, the LLFoR team, Trinity River Authority (TRA), and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) determined that more protected sites were needed to increase success of American Water-willows thriving. The planting location on the northern end of the lake offers multiple sheltered creeks and coves to shield American Water-willows from the semi-tropical breezes that can become less than gentle.
Additionally, the LLFoR team and the TDC Ellis/Lee College Horticulture inmates are exploring new planting approaches, such as implementing the founder colonies used in the early 1990s on Lake Conroe. The goal is to implement planting procedures, once approved by TPWD and TRA, to better protect new plants from the elements and herbivores. These ideas, include using coconut shell logs (COIR) as frontage along erosion-prone shorelines and adding new plant species to fill in behind the shore creating new habitat. These have all proven successful in other lakes in Texas.
The science and ecology effort of the LLFoR project has proven much bigger than just Lake Livingston. In 2017 the Organization became a Conservation Wrangler with Texan by Nature, more recently talks have begun to create broader connections with Houston Wilderness, Texas State University (San Marcos) Meadows Aquatic Ecology Research Center, Texas AgriLife's Dr. Todd Sink in College Station, Dr. Gary Dick with Lewisville Aquatic Research Facility on new planting methods, and with Dr. Jeff Wozniak at Sam Houston State University to learn about his regional ecology research.
Student volunteers from four schools were onsite to assist in planting approximately 1,500 American Water-Willows. LLFoR continues to seek volunteers to join its growing corps of environmentalists, Texas Master Naturalists, Texas Master Gardeners, fishing men and women, and anyone interested in a fun day on the lake. Help is needed to assist the student planters in the water, handout supplies, move plants from trailers to boats, prep and serve food, and many other activities.
For more information on LLFoR, to donate, or to volunteer, visit www.llfor.org or follow on Facebook.com/llfororg.