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…

Spring 2015 LLFoR Newsletter

The Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) Sping quarter is the start of the busy period of our activities.  The plants should have been growing in the aquatic tanks, and at least one (1) plant propagation should have occurred.  It turns out Mother Nature had other plans for all of us.  Because of a prolonged cold Winter followed by a very wet rainy season, we did not see any plant growth until late April.  Couple that with rain delays, tanks filling with too much water (slowing growth) and school scheduling.  Coldspring Oakhurst Consolidated and Goodrich High Schools were the only schools that have been completed.  Onalaska and Livingston High School are still yet to be completed, and Shepherd is in the process of building their two new aquatic tanks.  For the above reasons, our planned late Spring Lake planting did not occur, which was fortunate.  Lake Livingston had tremendous inflows that most likely would have washed out any new plants.  

There was a lot of good news in the past three months. Generosity was at an all time high; Texas Black Bass donated 1 aquatic tank, Texas Association of Bass Clubs donated 1 aquatic tank, Lindy and Sylvia Ellison donated Polk County3 aquatic tanks, Waterwood Boat Club donated 1 aquatic tank and Sam Houston Electric Cooperative donated 1 aquatic tank. Our Advisors, Trinity River Authority donated another 3 aquatic tanks (bringing their total to 6 aquatic tanks), and Texas Parks and Wild Life, Inland Fisheries purchased over 1,000 American Water Willow plants that were grown in a greenhouse, thus giving us the starter plants for the newly installed 8 aquatic tanks. We also added another partner, Polk County. Judge Sydney Murphy has been a supporter and enabler of this project since its inception. Thank you Polk County! We now have 18 of the planned 25 aquatic tanks installed. The final piece of news, but very important, Dan Ellis has agreed to be the “point contact” in bringing fishing tournaments to our Lake. This is very important to LLFoR, as it is one of our long-range goals. Thank you, Dan.

THE BIG NEWS: The National Fish Habitat Partnership ( has unveiled its list of 10 “Waters to Watch” for 2015, a collection of rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes and watershed systems that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition. These voluntary, locally-driven projects represent conservation actions in progress implemented under the National Fish Habitat Partnership by 19 regional Fish Habitat Partnerships throughout the country.

The conservation actions implemented through these projects are designed to conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats essential to the many fish and wildlife species that call these areas home. These examples of conservation have been fundamental to the overall success of the National Fish Habitat Partnership since 2006.

Throughout the year, these projects will demonstrate how conservation efforts are reversing persistent declines in our nation’s aquatic habitats. Having featured 90 partnership projects since 2007, these “Waters to Watch” are proving that science-based on-the-ground conservation efforts are truly making a difference in improving fish habitat across the United States.

“Success in conservation often doesn’t happen overnight,” said Kelly Hepler, Chair of the National Fish Habitat Board. “We are highlighting these projects today with both long and short-term goals in mind. We are working through our regional partnerships in an effort to conserve these great waterways, and reverse declines in suitable fish habitat. In our 9th year of this annual campaign, we are beginning to see many of our previous projects named to this list making a real difference. For our 10th Anniversary of the “Waters to Watch” in 2016, we will highlight some of these dynamic past projects that are making a positive impact both regionally and nationally.”

People interested in learning more about the National Fish Habitat Partnership and partner projects happening across the U.S. can find out more information on how to get involved on our Partnerships Page;

4)  Lake Livingston, Texas

     Partnership: Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (details on the LLFoR Project)

Objective: The overall goal of the project is to reestablish Lake Livingston as a destination for anglers and other outdoor recreationists. As such, the project has support from a host of community leaders. A dedicated core group of volunteer leaders are in place to ensure that the project continues to move forward garnering additional local support along the way.

All our Partners, Advisors and Sponsors are pleased with the recognition bestowed on our project.  As the Director of Lake Livingston Friends or Reservoirs, I want to thank all of you for your participation and support of this project.  LLFoR Project Director, Tom McDonough,, (832) 236-0723, or (open 24 hours 7 days a week).