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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-03-2011 12:53 AM
mr. Parkey:

Thank you for your recent letter regarding the proposed regulations of the texas parks and wildlife department (tpwd) creating a "white list" for exotic aquatic plants. This provision, included in tpwd's sunset bill, hb 3391, passed in the 2009 legislative session.

As you may know, in september 2010, i instructed tpwd to go beyond the statutory deadline established in hb 3391 to ensure that all outstanding questions concerning the proposed "white list" and rules were addressed. While i certainly think that a great deal of progress has been made, i am not confident that the arrived-upon proposal is enforceable or realistic for texas. I don’t believe any of us understood the full scope and significant ramifications that adoption of a "white list" would present.

With the list and rules now complete, it is clear that approval of this measure would severely impact our state's economy and the biofuel, nursery, and gardening industries throughout texas. Therefore, i have called on tpwd to forego any further work and cease implementation of this effort. This request will be clarified in statute during the current legislative session. I feel this decision is in the best interest of the citizens of texas.

I will continue working toward a common-sense solution to prevent the introduction of invasive plants into texas while still protecting the environment and economy of texas. While we can all agree that the last thing we want is another giant salvinia to invade our lakes and waterways, the "white list" approach is just not practical. It is vital that we continue to make a proactive effort to ensure that the natural resources across this state are protected for generations to come.

Thank you again for contacting my office regarding this issue. Constituent input is a vital part of the legislative process. If i may be of assistance to you in the future regarding this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, it is a pleasure to serve you.

glenn hegar


I am not Mr. Parkey BTW. This was over at APC and I thought I would share.
01-20-2011 10:17 PM
Tex Gal If you think this won't affect your state think again.

This is from Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Regulations Committee Meeting,Nov. 3, 2010 Look at Item 4 about 2/3's of the way down the page.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: How about other states? Are we ‑‑ all relative to the regulation of microalgae? Are we talking to them or do we know that ‑‑ is that ‑‑ I assume, is obviously a major worry of the biofuels.

MR. SAUL: And it is.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Every state ends up with its own regs and they’re all different and ‑‑ I mean, is that true right now?

MR. SAUL: Yes, it is. And, in the Sunbelt area, which is where the principal development would be ‑‑


MR. SAUL: ‑‑ we’ve been in contact with all the states and talked to them and they are ‑‑ we are regulated differently.


MR. SAUL: And they’re looking at Texas right now to see what it is that we’re going to come forward with. We have some that are very, very stringent on everything that is done. Others that are covered under a very general exotic species program. So we’re kind of walking the line right now when you ‑‑ as you come down here, just to make sure that we’ve covered ‑‑ that everything will be covered, whether it’s us or the feds, it’s okay. It’s just, are we making sure that the, you know, the environmental systems will be covered.
01-20-2011 07:49 PM
Tex Gal This is not about restricting dozens of plants. Texas is banning ALL but 200+ exotic plants. Thousands will be illegal to keep.
01-20-2011 04:49 PM
Tex Gal There were between 50-100 people at the Fort Worth TWPD public meeting last night. All but one, who spoke was against this law as it currently stands. Two or three said they agreed with a white list, but not this law. Most were against the white list and thought the black list was the way it should be handled.

Some points people shared:
1. The main way plants were spread ie, boats and such is not addressed in this legislation. Bringing new plants in through ponds and retailers is not the way these invasive plants are spread.
2. TWPD can't identify specific plants even as they compile this list. There are some plants on their denied list that are naturalized in Texas. There are plants that are not on their denied list that are on the Federal Noxious Weed list. (Rhubarb is on their denied list. No more pies folks!)
3. How do they expect their game wardens to be able ID plants when they try to visit places for inspection. One business owner spoke of her experience of showing a warden books and the plants in questions to help him ID what he wanted to fine her for. He realized he had mis-ID'd her inventory. What a nightmare since now there are many less blacklisted plants and they don't even know them!
4. They couldn't enforce the black list with few plants on it so how will they enforce the white list with many more plants on it?
5. They expect the citizenry to do their weed assessment reports in order to get the plants added to the white list. They came up with this criterion and now want to put this job on the citizens. Really now?! How many plants do you think will be added if citizens have to try to do their job that they have been unable to do? They have had submitted to them 2000 plants. Less than 10% (200) have been approved. They have denied 3% (60) plants. That accounts for 18% of the submissions. They have removed from consideration 5% (99) plants submitted because of "insufficient information, invalid name or mostly terrestrial. [One example of invalid name is Cryptocornye balansea. They have said its a variety of C. crispatula, yet C. crispatula is not on their prohibited list or approved list. If a plant is not on any list it become illegal. Insufficient information is self explanatory. They can't possibly know about every plant so it's automatically banned. The category mostly terrestrial is interesting because they have Mexican petunia on their banned list and I've only ever seen it growing in yards. Why some work and others don't is not understood?] What happened to the other 82% of plants submitted?
6. This legislation of "white list" has been passed WITHOUT public knowledge. While they have held hearings after the fact about what plants to be added the white list law is there. Few have even known about the hearing they have held.
7. This white list will put retailers (growers and retailers) out of business. Many businesses have prepared for the upcoming season and will severely hurt or destroyed because they will have to destroy their inventory. Even if they could survive this the future with such a small approved list of approved plants they could have enough sales to stay in business.
8. While ponds are open vessels, aquariums in homes do meet the criterion of the law for keeping prohibited species yet they are still going to be be banned from keeping exotic species.
9. TWPD recognizes all the problems as stated above but they still "are going to try". What sense does that make? They know they can't ID them, they know they can't test them all, they know their model assessment is flawed, they know they can't enforce them, they know citizens won't know what plants are acceptable and they go forward?... unreasonable!!
10. TWPD has refused to share how they came to the plants scores on their assessments. They said it's on someone else's computer system and they can't release it to the public. They said they aren't intentionally hiding it.
11. They said whoever is using the plants has the burden of proof for ID and will be held responsible for keeping the plant. It doesn't matter if people think the plant is correctly identified.
12. The permit amount of $263 per year stands FOR EVERYONE.
13. Citizens do not want to be put into the position of being illegal, rather by intent or through ignorance. With the law as it is written, it will be impossible to avoid this. Try as one might to comply, you just can't know all the plants Latin names and or identify them. Even TWPD can't.
14. The economic impact on the aquatic business has not been considered. This encompasses the small mom and pop nursery, to the pet store, the landscapers, to the big box stores that sell pond equipment.
15. The conservation and reintroduction of endangered plant and animals through controlled aquaria has not been considered. One can't try to keep and breed species if you can't recreate habitat.
16. There will be a public hearing in AUSTIN in front of the legislative commission where you can make comments. This link tells about the session. YOU NEED TO ATTEND and speak up. This is the meeting that is YEAH or NAY FOR IT GOING INTO LAW.

I'm sure I have missed some points brought forward but this is what I can recall as I write this. The italicized words are mine. If others have more to add, please post. WE HAVE TO CONTACT OUR STATE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES. This is our only hope. The TWPD will not voluntarily give up their power.

Those of you in other states, this will be a precedent set for this to come into your state. Please encourage your friends and relative in TX to contact their congress people. You can find sample letters here:
01-17-2011 07:04 AM
Aqua'd I will be composing an email to send out asap.
I NEVER visit this part of the site, and didn't even know this was happening.

Similar things happen with reptiles, attempting to ban species of snakes because they have the "potential to endanger the public or natural resources of the state of washington" I know snakes, and some species they were trying to ban live in the SAHARA DESERT, a far far far cry from SEATTLE climate. Long story short, they didn't know what they were talking about and some parents who saw "Snakes on a plane" too many times freaked out and got the bill in motion. Luckily, it didn't pass.
This thread needs to be Duplicated on the General Planted Tanks and Plants discussion boards for the good of the hobby.
01-16-2011 04:28 PM
ukamikazu Bob Alston helped me see a connection I missed when he posted an article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram about the pond keepers reaction to all this, only to realize this is the doing of Senator Glenn Hegar, who, guess what, is on the Sunset Commission that convinced Congress to mandate the TPWD!

This is the guy ya'll need to write, fax, e-mail or interview with:

Please remember to be courteous, respectful and mindful of the senator's time. Thank you!
01-13-2011 11:41 PM
Reply Letter From Dr. Chilton

Hey there. This was the response to the form letter I posted earlier that I got back from Dr. Chilton:

Thank you for your thoughts on HB3391. We understand your concern about the potential for rejecting a plant species that does not need to be rejected. That is why all species currently on the draft rejected list are being re-evaluated.

All persons that conducted risk analyses were professional biologists or trained horticulturists. Once the initial analyses were conducted each was reviewed by botanists hired through the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council (an organization composed of industry, academia, governmental entities, and non-governmental entities. Additionally, biologists at Inland Fisheries Division Heart of the Hills Research Station conducted additional checks on species that had been rejected. Finally, staff utilized valid information received directly from aquarium, nursery, and aquatic gardening industries as well as academics, and information from other state and federal entities.

There is a misconception that the Texas Legislature mandated automatic approval of some species. That was not the case. The statute reads:

In adopting rules that relate to exotic aquatic plants, the department shall strive to ensure that the rules are as permissive as possible without allowing the importation or possession of plants that pose environmental, economic, or health problems.

The approved list must include an exotic aquatic plant that: (1) is widespread in this state; and (2) is not, as determined by the department, a cause of environmental, economic, or health problems.

In compiling the approved list, the department shall develop a process to evaluate the potential harm that may be caused by the importation or possession of exotic aquatic plant species into this state. The process must include the use of: (1) a risk assessment model to help determine the potential harm of a species to the aquatic environment; (2) published scientific research findings; (3) findings from regulatory agencies; or (4) scientific analyses from third-party laboratories.

Please note the Department has been instructed to be permissive, but not to allow plants that pose environmental, economic, or health problems. Further, the Department was instructed to evaluate the potential harm that could be caused by these species.

TPW staff is conducting species evaluations with reviews and re-evaluations built into the process to avoid the potential for error as much as possible. Indeed, after further evaluation some species that were previously in the “reject” category have now been moved to the “approved” category and will be recommended by staff for inclusion on the Approved List at the January TPW Commission meeting.

Again, your input is greatly appreciated.


Dr. Earl W. Chilton II
Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program Director
TexasParks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas78744
(512) 413-5120
01-13-2011 08:16 PM
hydrophyte Bump for this thread.
01-13-2011 12:18 AM
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Wow that is creepy. That story sound like an urban myth kind of tale, but it was only second-hand for you so it sounds like it really did happen like that.
No, no I trust the young man implicitly and have no reason to question the authenticity of his story. Raids on importers of other animals have even been done, similar to a SWAT raid for things like non-native crayfish as Andrew pointed out. Even reading it in a reputable newspaper seems surreal I must admit.

Still, for an overburdened and underfunded agency I guess they keep their feelers out for the worst offenders trafficking in the most dangerous organisms, in Texas case crayfish, apple snails and Salvinia molesta.
01-12-2011 08:44 PM
A Hill
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Wow that is creepy. That story sound like an urban myth kind of tale, but it was only second-hand for you so it sounds like it really did happen like that.
AZ and Crayfish are the same way.

You will have someone on your doorstep.

01-12-2011 08:27 PM
Axelrodi202 HR 669 anyone? I hope this ends up going the same way.
01-12-2011 08:07 PM
hydrophyte Wow that is creepy. That story sound like an urban myth kind of tale, but it was only second-hand for you so it sounds like it really did happen like that.
01-12-2011 01:55 AM
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
The snails question is interesting and is very actively enforced, strangely enough. Will, the young man at AquaTek here in Austin who is very into the hobby relayed a recent story to me personally while I was speaking to him about the ban. For one, apple snails are illegal as Hell (no pun intended) in Texas. His girlfriend had a pair and she showed them off in another aquarium forum and sure enough an agent of the TWPD showed up at their doorstep demanding they release the snails to him. He took them and destroyed them and there was no fine.

This is Orwellian and eerie and was just for snails. They traced a young girl through the Internet to get her snails. Whose to say they won't do the same thing to us? Will I have to beg administrators here and on APC to delete my posts where I enumerate what I might be keeping? As a moderator on my home forum at APE will I have to censor myself for my own protection? Mums the word?

Very disconcerting and the outlook is too hazy to take chances and even worse if we do nothing.
01-12-2011 01:47 AM
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Please remember to be courteous when contacting those TWPD representatives. Like I said Dr. Chilton was very receptive when I spoke with him. He said that his office welcomes more feedback and input.

I think that a good main point to convey is that many people are just concerned that this legislation will discourage hobbyists and cause economic damage for people in aquarium-related and horticultural industries.
You guys need to think about it in terms of risk.

A rare obscure plant like Erios pose virtually no risk.
You bet.
Definitely a threat
Not likely.
Some Rotala's? Yes and no, most of the rare interesting plants will not make it to the list since they are all indoor CO2 enriched cultivated plants.

When pond folk get weeds, they add it to their ........pond which is exposed to nature outsdoors/birds etc.

Since few aquarist will save their cull material and release them into a local pond/stream......"composted weeds" pose little risk.

This is a good opportunity for the State to educate and get help form the aquarium community. More eyes and ears and concerned people about the natural resources of the State.

This is a good book for looking at the risk and issues about weeds(all species)

What factors influence the invasibility of aquatic weeds?
What would be an ideal weed?

Humans transporting weeds all over the place adds risk obviously.
But are these humans releasing these into the environment or composting them?

Few hobbyist will toss the weeds into a lake, adn cute fish that got too large?

Very likely.

So why not outlaw all tropical fish(except a white list??)
They pose a larger risk to the State than aquatic plants do.

01-12-2011 01:24 AM
hydrophyte Please remember to be courteous when contacting those TWPD representatives. Like I said Dr. Chilton was very receptive when I spoke with him. He said that his office welcomes more feedback and input.

I think that a good main point to convey is that many people are just concerned that this legislation will discourage hobbyists and cause economic damage for people in aquarium-related and horticultural industries.
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