Restoring Lake Conroe's Ecosystem

Ecologists will spend Saturday working to restore vegetation to Lake Conroe. Water plants have been decimated over the past couple of years — and the lake's ecosystem is out of balance. Laurie Johnson has more.

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.grass carp

"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 mark.webb@tpwd.state.tx.us or (979) 822-5067.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...