Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs

Texan by Nature designated Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) as a valued partner and as a Conservation Wrangler for leadership in the restoration of Lake Livingston.

Lake Livingston is the second largest lake in Texas, created in 1971 to provide most of Houston’s water. As a result of environments, over bulk-heading, and past management practices, the lake is now devoid of most aquatic vegetation. The result is now a declining habitat for fish fingerlings, increased shore erosion and siltation, and reduced water quality. This lack of native vegetation exposes the lake to infestation by invasive foreign plants.

In 2013, the Trinity River Authority and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department approved a plan to foster natural habitat around 85,000-acre Lake Livingston. The plan, developed by the Texas Black Bass Unlimited and the Piney Wood Lakes Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, created LLFoR and had a clear mission: reestablish Lake Livingston as a prime destination for anglers and water enthusiasts by restoring aquatic habitat. With the plan approved, LLFoR was formed to focus on four key goals:

  • Create natural habitat by planting non-invasive American Water-willow (Justicia americana) on shorelines, islands, and shallow water flats.
  • Reduce shoreline erosion, improve water filtration and quality, and provide habitat for juvenile fish, reptiles, and birds.
  • Engage a multi-generational volunteer force to manage the project across its expected 10-year span.
  • Educate local high schools to grow, propagate, and plant to demonstrate economic and ecological impact of a healthy aquatic habitat.

To accomplish their goal, LLFoR created a community-based, multi-generational volunteer pool ranging from local high school students in their early teens to retirees in their eighties. This also includes inmate horticulturists from Huntsville’s Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Ellis Unit that are developing improved methods for growing healthier plants in less time.

Just four years into the 10-year program, LLFoR has achieved much as an all-volunteer effort:

  • Approximately 10,000 plants are growing and establishing colonies
  • Named one of “2015 10 Waters to Watch” by National Fish Habitat Partnership
  • Build a Multi-generational, all volunteer coalition of 250+ adults (retirees to young parents) and students
  • Enlisted the help of Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Ellis Unit, under guidance of Lee Collage school of Horticulture to operate 3 additional grow tanks enabling the growth of 10,000 plants.
  • Put 22 grow tanks in operation, each with 600-700 plants
  • 7 school districts, with grow tanks, engaged in propagating, maintaining, and planting
  • Created a rich tapestry of community groups to participate in the project success, including the San Jacinto Master Gardeners, Texas Master Natural Naturalists (Livingston and Conroe), TBBU, and the Livingston Fishing Club (Hookers)
  • Began Community Outreach presentations for local schools, service organizations, and State Conference of Texas Master Naturalists

LLFoR is on track to introduce 100,000 native American Water-willow plants into the lake over a 10-year period. These plants are non-invasive, fast growing and very hardy, known to colonize up to 10 square feet per plant within two to three years.

On September 13, 2017 former First Lady Laura Bush joined senior officials from Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs, Trinity River Authority, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to celebrate the ongoing restoration of Lake Livingston, Texas’ second largest lake. The event included a demonstration of American Water-willow (Justica americana) plantings in the lake by local high school students as part of the community-based efforts to foster aquatic habitat and revitalize this important natural resource.

“Our Conservation Wrangler Program features the very best Texan-led conservation projects, like the Lake Livingston restoration we are celebrating today. As we’ve seen firsthand, collaborative partnerships for conservation yield great benefits — for our natural landscapes, native plants and wildlife, and for everyone involved.”

-Mrs. Laura Bush, Founder of Texan by Nature


Texas Parks and Wildlife

Lake Livingston Restoration Celebrated

East Texas Matters September 13, 2017

Laura Bush speaks at Lake Livingston restoration event

Texas Co-Op Power July 1, 2017

Water Willow

Learn more about this project

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