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Old 01-11-2011, 10:35 PM   #31
northtexas55693
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Texas Proposal Could Stop Trade in Dozens of Aquarium Plants


Send the following form letter from IWWGS to these two people:

< Earl.Chilton@tpwd.state.tx.us >
< Ken.Kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us >


September 12, 2010


I am writing to you to express my concerns over your Department’s approach to regulating HB3391, the new legislation on aquatic plants.

Texas grows and supplies many aquatic plants for the nation’s water gardeners. I am concerned that an overly restrictive white list will negatively impact my business as well as the companies in Texas I do business with; further, I see an overly restrictive list as a mistake that will unwittingly be copied by other states.

I say overly restrictive because I have seen the list of plants that have thus far failed your review process, and I do not think many of them belong on that black list, but belong on the white list instead. Several of them are primarily terrestrial in origin, and are not under your jurisdiction. Most have been in the state for a number of years with much evidence of economic benefit and little or no evidence of invasiveness so should not even be questioned.

What are the qualifications of your staff to use Pheloung’s Risk Assessment to rate all these plants? Also, what directions were they given in dealing with the risk assessment protocol? And why are the risk assessments then passed on to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (and/or the Texas Invasive Plant & Pest Council, who use the same botanists) to have their botanists review the assessments? I understand they may be better qualified than your own staff, but a Wildflower Center botanist is inclined to a natural bias against exotics and toward natives—how can they be objective, whatever their intent? And apart from bias, how much experience do they have with exotics, and especially with aquatics? I also question the scientific and practical validity of Pheloung’s Risk Assessment model for aquatics in Texas, as modified for aquatic plants. Just one example of this is mosaic plant (Ludwigia sedioides). Even in Texas growers view it as an annual, one that water gardeners must replace in their pond every season--most professional aquatic growers have given up on it, as it can prove difficult even in heated greenhouses. Mosaic plant is a valuable, highly prized plant by many water gardeners and should be on the white list.

The Texas Legislature has directed the TPWD to balance the legitimate needs of businesses that sell aquatic plants with the need to prevent the introduction into Texas of aquatic plants that could cause environmental, economic, or health problems. The approved list would supposedly automatically include an exotic aquatic plant that was widespread in this state and was not a cause of environmental, economic, or health problems.

Please consider my concerns—your actions here will have significant and long-term effects on our hobby and our industry, both inside and outside the state of Texas.


Thank you
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:39 PM   #32
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Default State Reps. and Senators

Here is the link to Texas Senate information...

< http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm >


Here is the link to Texas House of Representatives information...

< http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/welcome.php >


Both of the above links will allow you to type in your address to determine who is supposed to be your representative and how to contact their offices.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:40 PM   #33
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Done.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:34 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caton View Post
How do they even know about Hygrophila pinnatifida? As far as I know, it is going for about $20-$40 a stem right now! I almost wish it was invasive right now, then I can make lots of $$$. Some of those plants are rare, most only experienced people keep. Maybe if they were to simply make it so you have to pay a $10 fee to get a permit and watch a video that would at least not ruin LFS's and honest people who BURN their invasive plants. I know that most of you may think $10 for a permit and having to watch a video may not sound fun, but what if you can't get even that? What if you can't keep plants at all? We can't even keep a stem of a plant that isn't invasive in either the aquarium or in the wild....
If you look though those lists there are a number of species that seem to indicate their review process was hasty, arbitrary and unscientific. These are good point to raise when contacting their office.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:24 AM   #35
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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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Old 01-12-2011, 01:47 AM   #36
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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.
Hygro?
You bet.
Milfoils?
Definitely a threat
Crypts?
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)


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/047...T4CHEXSE3XF81A

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.

Snails?
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:55 AM   #37
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Snails?
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.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:07 PM   #38
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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.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:27 PM   #39
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HR 669 anyone? I hope this ends up going the same way.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:44 PM   #40
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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.

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Old 01-13-2011, 12:18 AM   #41
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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.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:16 PM   #42
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Bump for this thread.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:41 PM   #43
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Default 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.

Earl

Dr. Earl W. Chilton II
Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program Director
TexasParks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas78744
(512) 413-5120
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:28 PM   #44
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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:
http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/se...t18/dist18.htm.

Please remember to be courteous, respectful and mindful of the senator's time. Thank you!
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-Micheal S. Montalbano
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:04 AM   #45
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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.
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