Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) needs your help

On Tuesday, September 15th, LLFoR will be planting approximately 2,000 American Water-willow aquatic plants in the Kickapoo Creek area.Willow PlantingSix Independent School District students and teachers who have been growing these plants in their aquatic tanks, will be planting them in six (6) inches of water on islands and some shorelines. The Onalaska High School FFA is hosting the event, and the FFA students will be cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for the students and volunteers. It will be a fun day, restoring lost habitat back into our lake. Other High Schools participating are Livingston, Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated, Corrigan Camden, Shepherd and Goodrich High Schools.

The host marina is The Waterfront Lodge / Pontoons (Onalaska), (936) 646-3525, and we will be using the pavilion area as the staging area. What we need are volunteers who will get in the water to help supplement the students in the planting. All you need is a sharpshooter shovel, life vest, and it is suggested you wear long old jeans and tennis shoes. Bring sunscreen if you need to protect yourself.

If you can help, please contact either
Jim Meyer,
Tom McDonough,

Start Time:  7:30AM
End time:  1:00PM (approximately)

Shepherd High School installs Aquatic Tanks

Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs now has 18 aquatic tanks installed

Shepherd High School TankShepherd, Texas, August 21, 2015:  Shepherd High School (SHS) becomes the 5th Independent School District to install aquatic tanks for the Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) project.  Tony Goodman and his students will head up the project at SHS.  SHS will also be the first school to use their greenhouse to grow “starter plants” all year long.  This is a new phase in the LLFoR aquatic plant project and will greatly help in achieving our goal of planting 10,000-PLUS plants a year.  Up to this date, starter plants have been donated, purchased or grown in the three LLFoR aquatic tanks.  Seasonal patterns have limited our access to aquatic plants.  Shepherd’s greenhouse is ideal, as it is heated in the winter months and cooled in the summer months.  These starter plants will be transported to the SHS aquatic tanks, as well as other ISD’s tanks, to ensure we have 3,000 to 5,000 aquatic plants ready to be planted two or three times a year.

LLFoR wishes to thank Superintendent Steve Pierce, Principal Jimmy Meekins, Agriculture teachers Tony Goodman, Steve Cronin and Caitlin Anderson on their efforts to get these aquatic tanks installed and operational.   Also LLFoR would like to thank TRA and TPWD – Inland Fisheries for donating the aquatic tanks.

What Is Being Done?

Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) with its twenty-plus Partners and two Advisors, Trinity River Authority and Texas Parks and Wildlife – Inland Fisheries are restoring fish and wildlife habitat in the Lake.   LLFoR has only three aquatic plant tanks growing American Water Willow, so we have partnered with the Livingston, Onalaska, Coldspring-Oakhurst, Shepherd and Goodrich, (and soon) Corrigan-Camden Independent School Districts to also grow the plants and to plant them into the Lake.  We now have a total of 18 tanks operational at the schools, with another 4-7 aquatic plant tanks to be installed by September/October 2015.  Our goal is 25 tanks, so we can produce and plant 10,000+ plants a year. 

Splitting Water Willows Unites Volunteers

ONALASKA – Tuesday morning (6/30/2015) almost two dozen workers came to the Onalaska High School to separate and repot the American water-willow plants that have been growing since last September.

The pants are being grown at Onalaska and other area high schools as part of the Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) project to replant native aquatic plants into the shallow areas of the local lake.

And when Project Director Tom McDonough asked for volunteers to hell with the separation and repotting, he did not realize they would turn out in such numbers, coming from the Polk County Master Naturalists, San Jacinto Master Gardeners, one Rotarian, several from Texas Black Bass Unlimited, Waterwood Boat Club, a few from the Polk County Hookers fishing club and Onalaska Mayor Roy Newport.

The work had the volunteers “getting their hands dirty’ and they separated the intertwined plant roots to and then repotted them.

Following a recent inspection of the plants growing in the aquatic tanks at the school organizers decided to change the potting process. It was determined that too much soil had leaked out of the pots through the drainage holes, so when the plants were repotted last week, a large coffee filter was placed in the pot before the dirt to provide a porous lining to hold the dirt mixture, which is 10 shovels full of clay to one bag of potting soil.

With such a large active group some were cleaning the tanks as the plants were taken to the splitters, who were working under tents to shade them from the sun. Others mixed the special soil and the stronger volunteers took it by the wheelbarrow full to the ladies, who are masterful at repotting.

One volunteer also checked for the small fish living in the tanks that eat the algae growth. The fish are bred by the special education class at OISD and they appeared healthy.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had donated five flats of new water-willow stock from Joe Snows Aquatic Plant Farm in Argyle. The new plants were split and repotted and placed in one of the five large tanks at the school.

The OISD Agricultural Department has joined with the Friends of The Reservoirs to help restock Lake Livingston with native plants and they will be monitoring the tanks. Plans call for either another plant splitting in the fall or for taking some of the stock to plant in the Kickapoo Creek area of the lake, which is the next area scheduled to receive the plants.

For information about the program contact McDonough at 832-236-0723.

Local school districts currently active in the project include Livingston, Goodrich and Onalaska in Polk County and Shepherd and Coldspring-Oakhurst in San Jacinto County. The Corrigan-Camden school district in Polk County has requested aquatic tanks for the fall term.

The aquatic plant project is designed to pump new life into Lake Livingston and help attract more fishing tournaments. Once growing in the shallow areas of the lake, the water-willow plants will provide cover for small fish, allowing them to grow. It also will help filter sediment out of the water and its root structure will help prevent shoreline erosion.

Pots with coffee filtersLAKE PLANTS – After it was learned that top much of the soil was leaking out of the aquatic plant pots, coffee filters (pictured at left) were added to the repotting procedure last week. The filters will prevent the clay-soil mixture from leaving the pots through the drainage holes. During last week’s repotting effort at Onalaska High School, Onalaska Mayor Roy Newport (below, right) worked with other volunteers. Newport is shown placing newly potter American water-willow into one of the water tanks.Onalaska Mayor Planting







courtesy: Polk County Enterprise






Additional news about Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs from The Polk County Enterprise and the Welcome Guide

State Representative James White becomes a Partner/Advisor on Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs Project

Will serve as a Partner and Advisor

Livingston, Texas, June 18, 2015: District 19, State Representative, James White has joined forces with Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR), by agreeing to Partner and Advise LLFoR. He visited with Livingston High School and Onalaska High School staff, administration and students late last year and has since been in several meetings with LLFoR and community leaders. In his letter to LLFoR he stated the student involvement and education on habitat restoration, teaching the importance of clean water and the promotion of providing protection for the Lake’s wildlife was key in his joining forces with LLFoR. The letter went on to highlight the LLFoR objective of promoting the Lake’s economic value of serving sportsmen, nature lovers, birders and water recreation enthusiasts.

Representative White further stated he was very impressed with the project, and the fact they were named one of the top 10 “Aquatic Habitat Restoration Projects” to watch in the United States by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and its funding arm, the National Fish Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs.  The project has a ten-year timeframe of planting aquatic plants, which will be raised by the students at various Independent School Districts.

Tom McDonough, LLFoR Project Director, Texas Black Bass Unlimited Board member and San Jacinto Master Gardener and Jim Meyer, Project Manager of the Piney Wood Lakes Chapter Texas Master Naturalist, are pleased that Representative White has joined forces with LLFoR.  He will be able to assist us at the State level and with community leaders.  Our two principal Advisors on the Lake are Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Inland Fisheries and the Trinity River Authority.  Their support has been instrumental to our project, and Representative White will also be key to our project’s success.

June 10, 2015 Houston Chronicle Story

The Houston Chronicle ran a story on Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs’ efforts to restore the shoreline vegetation using American water willow.

“The future of Lake Livingston’s largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and the dozens of other aquatic wildlife species dependant on healthy, robust shallow-water habitat may be brighter because of what’s growing in almost two-dozen 5-foot-by-16-foot tanks scattered on school campuses in towns around the sprawling reservoir astride the Trinity River.

The open, plastic-lined tanks hold a couple feet of water and scores of submerged pots from which sprout stems of American water-willow – a sturdy, leafy, native aquatic plant that thrives in shallow water. It is the kind of vegetation that provides crucial habitat for many freshwater game fish and the food web that supports them.”

Houston Chronicle, read more…