Restoring Lake Conroe's Ecosystem
by: Laurie Johnson, July 24, 2009 8:07:00 pm
Lake Conroe used to have more than 1,000 acres of aquatic plants. But hydrilla, an invasive plant species, started taking over. So state park officials stocked the lake with 100,000 grass carp. The carp ate the hydrilla, but also ate all the other stuff. Now only 150 acres of plants remain. Mark Webb is the district fisheries supervisor for Texas Parks and Wildlife.
"So what we're going to do tomorrow is take some of the plant species that are less palatable to the grass carp, a little more grass carp resistant if you will, and we're going to be planting about 120 mature plants. We're going to be planting those in the Caney Creek arm of the lake."
The team will plant a variety of native species including bull rushes and water lilies. Webb says restoring the plant life to the lake has several benefits including keeping the fish and insect populations healthy.
"Other benefits that we see out of it is improved water quality — it takes out some of the excess nutrients from the reservoir — and also stabilizes the bottom and stabilizes the banks to prevent erosion and therefore give us clearer, cleaner water."
This is the first planting this summer. Two more are planned in the coming weeks. Park officials hope as the plants mature and spread, Lake Conroe's aquatic ecosystem will balance within a few years.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
If you wish to volunteer, contact Mark Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 822-5067.