What in the world is the Texas White List for aquatic plants?
It is the pending official State of Texas register of aquatic
plants declared legal to own, possess, and grow. All aquatic
plants not on the Texas White List will be illegal to own, possess,
and grow within Texas.
Why have such a law?
Its purpose is to prevent invasive non-native-to-Texas plants
from being in Texas and possibly causing environmental danger.
Historically, restrictive plant laws simply ban (blacklist) specific
plants, making it easy to know what plants are banned. In contrast,
the aquatic plant bill permits only approved plants to be owned,
possessed, and grown in Texas. All other aquatics are prohibited.
Now the Texas legislatures problem is determining, plant
by plant, name by name, which aquatics to permit on the white
list. Who is qualified to decide which plants to approve? Where
do you find qualified experts who know the broad range of waterlilies,
much less all the countless other aquatic plants? Without strong,
knowledgeable voices speaking on behalf of water gardeners, it
quickly becomes obvious that Texas water gardeners may find favorite
aquatic plants outlawed. All non-listed varieties must be destroyed
when the bill becomes law.
However, if you dont live in Texas, this doesnt concern
Wrong, sorry! Other states are looking to Texas as a model
for their own white list legislation. For example, New York is
studying a 128-page proposal to review all non-native plants
and animals. Moreover, environmentalists in other states and
countries are eyeing the Texas bill. Each state and country is
different; plants dangerous in one place could be safe in another
Wherever you live, what happens in Texas is bound to
happen in similar manner in your state or country. Remember,
as stated above, once the bill becomes law, Texans must destroy
all of their aquatic plants not on the white list.
Few people argue against the intent of the bills sponsors.
The serious concern focuses on its specifics and reasonableness.
For example, Texas authorities had no idea of the huge number
of Nymphaea and Nelumbo cultivars. Grateful to Kit Knotts for
the V-A/WGI lists of waterlilies and lotuses, Rolf Nelson astounded
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials with her
extensive list of names. Rolf, representing a coalition led by
the International Waterlily and Water Garden Society (IWGS) succeeded
in gaining recognition of and appreciation for the vast diversity
of water garden plants that deserve consideration for inclusion
on the white list.
On September 17, TPWDs Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program
Director, Dr. Earl Chilton, II, is speaking about the Texas White
List at the 2010 IWGS Symposium in San Angelo, Texas. Concerned
water gardeners, professionals and hobbyists alike, from many
states and countries plan to make their views known to Dr. Chilton
and the TPWD at that time.
What can you, the individual water gardener, do?
Keep informed through WGI and IWGS for developments. When
white list legislation comes under consideration where you live,
make sure your legislators know how important the issue is for
you and fellow water gardeners. Make sure your pond suppliers
know and stay updated about the white list that could adversely
affect their businesses and customers.
As amateur and professional water gardeners working together
with lawmakers, surely we can protect our precious environment
without needlessly prohibiting harmless aquatic plants that we