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TPWD News Release — Dec. 29, 2010

TPWD Seeks Input on Proposed Revised Rules for Exotic Aquatic Plants

AUSTIN – Many aquaria and landscape enthusiasts appreciate the beauty and functionality of aquatic plants, but the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department wants to ensure the introduction of non-native aquatic plants will not harm the state’s natural resources.

To provide appropriate opportunities for use of certain non-native aquatic plants and algae without risking impacts to the state’s natural resources, TPWD is proposing new rules for the possession of exotic aquatic plants, which includes a list of exotic aquatic plants approved for possession and sale in Texas.  A series of public hearings to allow comments on these rules has been scheduled for January (see schedule below).  The proposed rules and list of approved exotic aquatic plants can be viewed at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.  This site also allows online comments.

Possession of some non-native plants currently is prohibited while the possession of other non-native species is allowed with a permit. This system requires the department to continually monitor and update the prohibited list as new species are brought into Texas.

"We believe this new approach is the most efficient way to prevent the introduction of invasive exotics into the ecosystem," said Dr. Earl Chilton, TPWD’s exotic vegetation program manager. "Most folks want to do what’s right for the environment and knowing which exotic aquatics are acceptable will hopefully eliminate inadvertent introduction."

The introduction of harmful exotic (invasive) plant species into Texas and throughout the U.S. has been on the increase in recent years. Collectively, these species can and do have tremendous negative impacts on the environment and  economy. Costs associated with control and eradication of invasive species (terrestrial and aquatic) in the United States has been estimated at more than $100 billion annually.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules at its Jan. 27, 2011 meeting at TPWD’s Austin headquarters.  The public is welcome to attend this meeting and provide additional comments for the Commission’s consideration.

For additional information, contact Dr. Earl Chilton at 512-389-4652; earl.chilton@tpwd.texas.gov or Ken Kurzawski, 512-389-4591; ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov.

Exotic aquatic plant public meeting locations:

All meetings begin at 7 p.m.
City Date Location
Katy January 11, 2011 Bass Pro Shops, 5000 Katy Mills Circle
Austin January 13, 2011 TPWD Headquarters, Commission Hearing Room, 4200 Smith School Road
San Antonio January 18, 2011 Lions Field Adult Center, 2809 Broadway Street
Fort Worth January 19, 2011 Cabela’s, 12901 Cabela’s Drive

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