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Texas Legislative Alert
March, 2010

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been directed by the Texas Legislature through House Bill 3391 to publish a list of exotic aquatic plants, including algae, (ie, all non-native aquatic species), which are approved for importation or possession in Texas without a permit. This will be the popularly referred to “White List” of approved plants. TPWD has been charged with completing (compiling?) this list by December 31, 2010. They must also develop rules for procedures for adding exotic aquatic plants to the approved list in the future.

TPWD has already developed a draft listing of exotic aquatic plants under consideration for approval for sale in Texas. This list is far shorter than lists provided by the Florida Division of Aquaculture; Nelson Water Gardens and Nursery, Inc., on behalf of Texas Businesses; and The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS). There is a great deal of concern regarding how the genus Nymphaea (waterlilies) will be handled in the new legislation. This genus is without a doubt the most economically important water garden plant, not just to growers, wholesalers, and retailers of aquatic plants, but to the whole industry. Homeowners want beautiful, blooming, hybrid waterlilies in their water gardens, and it is this desire to have these wonderful plants that results in liners, pumps, filters, lights, and other pond related sales. The current Texas draft list is accessible below. Thanks to Kit Knotts of Water Gardeners International (WGI) for allowing us to forward to TPWD, not only their extensive listing of known Nymphaea species and cultivars, but also of Nelumbo; TPWD is fully aware of how many waterlily and lotus varieties we want to keep in the trade.

As an industry, we need to pay attention to legislation that will affect our businesses and livelihood – remember EPA’s restrictive Water-Smart Landscape proposals from 2009? We are a small industry without a major lobby. Rolf Nelson (Nelson Water Gardens and Nursery, Inc) has stepped up in Texas to help monitor the legislation and give an industry response to TPWD. He is chairing the IWGS Exotic Species Legislation Committee to help develop effective responses to pending legislation. He can be reached at rolf@nelsonwatergardens.com for more information.

Dr. Earl Chilton, Aquatic Habitat Enforcement Program Director for TPWD, will make a presentation at the IWGS Annual Symposium in San Angelo, TX September 16-19, 2010. It is imperative that our industry “show up in force” for this presentation -- it is an opportunity to show regulators the people this legislation will impact, and also to have a dialog with them. Remember, this type of legislation will affect you and your business in your state. If your state has not already started on this data, it will soon.

Draft Listing of Exotic Aquatic Plants Under Consideration
for Approval for Sale in Texas

1.6M .pdf - not recommended for slow connections

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