Abstract: May 30  1:00 PM (BACK)

A Community-Based Approach to Stream Restoration in Texas

Gary P. Garrett
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Mountain Home, TX

Authors:  Gary Garrett, Timothy Birdsong and Megan Bean, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Mountain Home, TX

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has initiated an innovative approach to fish and wildlife conservation in Texas. By working with alliances of landowners, we provide a holistic approach to technical guidance and help to secure funding for restoration and conservation actions throughout targeted watersheds. Although we have projects in many locations in the state, our most successful utilizes the State Fish of Texas as an iconic symbol that provides a positive, high-profile image of the need and benefits of conservation. With grants from the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, we developed the Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative and to date, have initiated 16 restoration projects in the watershed that encompass 53,000 acres and 35 miles of rivers and streams. Projects focus on actions that restore riparian areas, reduce soil erosion and runoff, increase infiltration and aquifer recharge, improve water quality and enhance habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial species. Through the initiative, we promote awareness and stewardship of fish and wildlife habitats, share Best Management Practices, organize community involvement in local habitat conservation projects provide technical guidance and planning assistance, and help leverage available resources. Additionally, in 2011 and 2012, we stocked over 275,000 genetically-pure Guadalupe bass in the South Llano River to reverse the trend of hybridization with the non-native smallmouth bass. We also supported studies on fish community and habitat analysis in the Llano River Watershed and partnered with landowners to develop a Watershed Conservation Plan. We are now in the process of developing a Habitat Conservation Demonstration Area (CDA) that extends over a seven-kilometer segment of the Llano River and Addresses seven of the eight objectives delineated in the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan.  The CDA will provide fishing, paddling and hiking opportunities, promote sustainable public use of the river, and highlight restoration actions through educational kiosks placed along paddling and upland hiking trails.