El Paso, Texas
Texan by Nature designated Friends of Lake Livingston (FoLL) 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. Due to the overuse of shore bulkheads and past management practices, the lake had lost the majority of its aquatic plant life. Consequences of these practices resulted in loss of quality shoreline habitat, increased shore erosion and siltation, and reduced water quality. The loss of native vegetation also 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 FoLL with a clear mission: reestablish Lake Livingston as a prime destination for anglers and water enthusiasts by restoring aquatic habitat. With the plan approved, FoLL was formed to focus on four key goals:
To accomplish their goal, FoLL created a community-based 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, FoLL has achieved much as an all-volunteer effort:
FoLL is on track to introduce 100,000 native American Water-willow plants, plus several other adapted species, 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 Friends of Lake Livingston, 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.
FoLL is entirely volunteer-based and self-funded. Those interested in supporting their conservation mission can sponsor supplies and materials, such as potting soil, artificial fish habitats, seed trays, and grow tanks. Visit the FoLL website to donate and learn more.
“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
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