News Release
May 13, 2008
Contact: Alicia Phillips
(512) 463-0103
Nichols announces $425,000 in grants to battle dangerous aquatic weeds in Texas

Austin — State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) today announced the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received grants totaling more than $425,000 to combat the spread of noxious aquatic vegetation in Texas reservoirs.

"This is good news for everyone who uses Texas waterways," said Nichols. "The hydrilla and giant sylvania problem costs our state tourism dollars, reduces property values and threatens swimmers and boaters. By investing in prevention measures now, our state can avoid even more expensive clean up measures later."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide $150,000 for improving boating access in Lake Conroe, $100,000 for Caddo Lake; $75,000 for Toledo Bend Reservoir and more than $50,000 for other reservoirs. Nichols represents both the Lake Conroe and the Toledo Bend regions.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will provide additional funding as well as staff and equipment. Total estimated cost of all the projects is about $1 million.

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is doing the right thing by leveraging this federal money into a strong state effort," said Nichols. "Right now there are communities so desperate to fight back against these infestations that they're holding bake sales. These grants will give them a fighting chance to get the lakes cleaned up."

Nichols has encouraged greater funding for the prevention of aquatic weeds since he ran for Senate in 2005. He filed SB 825 which identified an existing funding source for efforts to control the noxious plants, and the language was passed as part of a broader Parks and Wildlife bill. Nichols also testified before the Senate Finance Committee on April 22 to encourage use of these identified funds for noxious aquatic weed abatement.