|Friends of Reservoirs Member/Group Sponsoring the Project
|Friends of Lake Livingston
|Project Leader Contact Information
Huntsville, Texas 77340
|Google Maps Location
|Please describe the project objective(s).
Long an exceptional fresh water fishery and a haven for ducks, wading birds and other wildlife, Lake Livingston is nearly 60 years old. It has lost much of its aquatic habitat and the water quality has declined. Once a destination for bass anglers, there has seen a precipitous decline in angling activity. Recreation on Lake Livingston is a major economic engine for numerous surrounding communities and the decline in the fishery has negatively affected local revenues.
|Please describe the project methods. Will the product be used in conjunction with existing habitat restoration efforts on the reservoir? Will the product supplement natural brush, rock, or other materials being added to the reservoir?
Beginning in 2014, a single plant species (American water willow) was introduced at numerous sites around Lake Livingston. Beginning in 2017, multi-species aquatic plant propagation was added providing expansion of establishing more aquatic habitat. Plants introduced included American Water Willow, Bulrush, American Pondweed , Hyssop, and Lilies. These have been underway now for over 4 years.
Recently, we received Pickerelweed as an additional new plant addition which we have begun propagating at the TDCJ Ellis Unit-Lee College horticulture program for subsequent distribution to our high school volunteers.
Since 2017, we have been applying RFHP principles including creating founder colonies that have been established in several locations. Founder colonies are now part of our planting process to provide initial protection against herbivory actions for all new sites.
Volunteer propagation and plant introduction by the local community has been in place since the project started in 2013 and continues today albeit with significant recent challenges due to the COVID pandemic that began in early 2020. Of note, our adult volunteers have not been allowed on any high school campus at our 6 participating high schools since March of 2020 through May 2021.
Post pandemic, beginning fall 2021, we restarted community work with several entities including 6 local high schools which includes ecology education outreach and plant propagation on their respective campuses. Additionally, we work with the Texas Dept. of Corrections (TDCJ) Ellis Unit-Lee College horticulture class which also includes ecology education outreach as well as plant propagation which supplements high school volunteer plant propagation. This prison unit is used as an initial plant propagation site after which plants are transferred to the high school groups for further growth. We continue to work with several other community groups including Master Gardeners (San Jacinto County), Master Naturalists (Livingston, TX & Conroe, Tx chapters), local Bass Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and the Livingston, TX Chamber of Commerce.
Our process at the 6 local high schools includes yearly ecology education, propagation of aquatic plant species on campus and later introduction of their own plants at selected sites in Lake Livingston. Part of the instruction now includes Macro-Invertebrate monitoring at their planting sites as an indicator of water quality.
Significantly, on May 20, 2022, we kicked off our first high school volunteer planting in almost 2 years since we were limited during the COVID outbreak. Two high schools (Leggett & Big Sandy) participated and along with adult volunteers, planted over 1,000 water willows, assorted near shore bushes (buttonbush, cypress tree’s), received macro-invertebrate training for water quality assessment, and built 2 Georgia Cubes (one/high school). A follow up high school planting for the 4 other participating high schools is targeted for Sept. 2022. As always, we received onsite support from TPWD and TRA at the planting.
Site monitoring of all of our planted sites occurs every other year in collaboration with our TPWD (Texas Parks & Wildlife) sponsor. Our last survey of planted sites occurred in 2020 and showed some sites that were no longer present and some that were very successful in expansion. Additionally, all sites that used fencing and founder colony concepts (started in 2017) continue to be highly successful and are expanding dramatically despite several flooding events. ALL of our fenced founder colony sites have doubled in size and a few are scheduled for fencing removal later this summer.
Riparian Restoration continues to be a permanent addition to our strategy albeit in smaller quantities. At any new site, we constantly add shoreline stabilization plants including buttonbush, river birch and cypress trees.
Georgia Cube construction for artificial reef habitat began in 2019 (after viewing this at the FOR conference in Athens, Tx) as an additional effort by the high schools. At a large high school planting, 7 Georgia Cubes were built and introduced at two pre-approved TRA sites in early 2020. Additionally, 3 Mossback Trophy Reefs, received via a Mossback grant, were introduced in early 2019. All sites had their GPS coordinates marked and the coordinates were put on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website for Lake Livingston.
After receipt of a Mossback grant in 2020, Friends of Lake Livingston ordered several new near-shore reefs for further placement. The Trinity River Authority (co-sponsor for FoLL), placed an additional monetary order for more near shore reefs from Mossback to significantly expand that effort. In October, 2021, 34 Mossback artificial fish habitats were placed in the White Rock Creek area in the northern part of Lake Livingston. GPS coordinates for the reefs were placed on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website for Lake Livingston.
A new project effort was added in 2021 based on input from one of our TPWD advisors. Floating Islands were established formally as a Friends of Lake Livingston “research project”. We believe this floating island concept will expand our efforts to improve water quality and should create additional terrestrial
Floating islands encourage plant growth above and below the surface of the water, promoting biofilm growth and mimicking how natural wetlands purify water. Unlike shoreline plantings areas, they are not affected by changes in water levels, foraging wildlife (except Nutria), or winter freezes (unless the water source freezes).
Our floating island project continues in its test phase. In June 2021 we launched the first official island (Biohaven commercially produced island) and we planted the artificial island with water willows grown by Onalaska High School students. The plants, located in Rocky Creek (part of the Kickapoo Creek complex) are doing very well, gaining height and leaf growth. Not only have the plants thrived, the float itself has sustained heavy rains as well as constant boat and jet ski traffic without any issues.
At this point the root systems of the water willows have not extended through the island into the water, however; information from similar projects indicates that this is common in the first few months of the islands.
Along with the Biohaven island, we have researched other island designs and are testing several DIY designs found on YouTube to reduce cost if we go forward with more construction. The water willows planted on these islands are doing well.
By monitoring the current islands, testing several other designs and several other plant varieties, we hope to find an economical and effective way to add aquatic life in areas of the lake where traditional shoreline planting is not feasible.
|Will state fish and wildlife agency staff be directly involved in the project? How so (planning, site selection, participation in installation)? Is there an associated lake or habitat management plan that states the need for structural habitat enhancement?
Texas Parks & Wildlife and the Trinity River Authority are both directly involved with the Friends of Lake LIvingston project. We interact constantly. Both TPWD and TRA assist and approve in site selection, plant selections and professional advice. Both TPWD and TRA have participated in every restoration-planting effort since the project began in 2014. Additionally, both TPWD and TRA assist in artificial reef site selection and placement.
TPWD has included the Friends of Lake Livingston effort in their lake management plan. That plan can be found at:
|List the species that the project is expected to benefit:
White Bass, Blue and Channel Catfish, Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Alligator Gar. TPWD stocks Striped Bass and Florida Largemouth Bass
|How do you plan to conduct outreach and advertise the project? (Examples: on-site signage, press releases, websites, message boards)
Friends of Lake Livingston recently increased its core leadership team which numbers 12 people. 2 new members have take the responsibility for marketing and promotion of the project to enable increased communication with the local community. They will increase efforts for new biannual newsletters and post school volunteer activity on both the FoLL website and Facebook page. The leadership continues to promote the project at local fishing club meetings when possible and recently gave a project overview to the TPWD Texas Waters Monthly webinar program.
Additionally, at each planting, we historically have posted signage to note the project and sponsorship by TPWD and TRA. We have updated the signage to now reflect the local high schools that participated at each specific site so that they can return and monitor progress of their planted restoration site.
|Upload at least one letter of support from a representative of the state fish and wildlife management agency:
|Partnership and Budget
|Does the project involve one or more youth groups?
|Please list all partners involved in the project:
Small Grant Review