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02-24-2016, 02:29 PM #1
Update on the "Fix Lake Austin Now" initiative
Well, it looks like we've achieved a small victory in the war against the destructive Lake Austin (White Amur) grass carp. I would like to thank an unnamed former senator and former head of TP&W for talking some sense into the current decision makers to lift the ban on harvesting these destructive fish. They knew that you guys and others weren't interested in having another meeting and hearing the same old tired lines. Something had to be done, and I am thankful that we did not have to go the public shaming route.
I know it is not an ideal situation as I have seen some complaints about the burden being put on the local fishermen rather than the ones originally responsible for the mess, but it is a step in the right direction. I will continue to strive for a creative solution to get rid of these fish quickly and more efficiently. As some have mentioned, they seem to have some sort of protection against electrical shock, so we may need to figure out another way and I need suggestions so that I can relay them to the people that can put them into action.
As you know, the quicker we can get these fish out of there, the quicker our lake can begin to heal. I look forward to reading some of the suggestions and working toward getting our prized fishing lake and most importantly our water supply back in order. Thanks to those who have shown support both privately and publicly.
Harvest of Grass Carp Now Legal in Lake Austin
AUSTIN —Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has revoked the Triploid Grass Carp Permit for Lake Austin effective Sept. 1. Any angler who catches a grass carp in Lake Austin may now legally retain the fish, provided it has been gutted or has had the head removed. There is no length limit or bag limit for this species. The decision to revoke the permit was made jointly with the City of Austin, Lower Colorado River Authority, Friends of Lake Austin, Texas Tournament Zone, and Austin Carp Anglers.
Sterile triploid grass carp (white amur) are often used as a biological control for the invasive plant, hydrilla. They were stocked in Lake Austin for this purpose from 2003 through 2013. Hydrilla is now under control, and other aquatic plants in the lake have been overgrazed by the plant-eating fish. Reducing grass carp numbers will allow aquatic plants to grow and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. If and when hydrilla once again shows up in Lake Austin, TPWD will work with the controlling authorities and stakeholders to issue a new permit for triploid grass carp in an effort to maintain an ecological balance.
Anglers or others with questions may contact Marcos De Jesus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-353-0072.
Hey guys, I just wanted to give you an update on what was happening with the effort to try and restore Lake Austin and reach out to you as well for some ideas and maybe some commitments if we indeed get the protective order on the carp lifted.
After being on the lake and experiencing what I had, and then reading this forum as well as talking to others in the community and learning about what had happened, I was ready to go to battle.
There was no question something had to be done about the hydrilla, but the way in which it was managed seems to be where the problems arose. The resulting answers from the person in charge of Lake Austin about "circumstances beyond their control" is unacceptable to me as I know it is to many of you.
As I see it, they had control of how many destructive carp were being put in the lake, as well as the control of the studies determining how much vegetation was being reduced. I have come to the conclusion that they made a mistake by calculating it in flat acreage rather than cubic volume of plant life. (if that was how they were actually doing it) To put in more carp in 18 months than they did in the previous 7 years, shows impatience, and possibly incompetence, or both. Maybe it was outside influence.
Plus, IF it is also indeed true that the science guy FOLA was bringing to their meetings, was actually the guy SELLING them the carp, then could that be a possible conflict of interest?
Now, they seem to be throwing good money after bad in trying to (unsuccessfully) get native plants to take root and flourish. You can spend 10's of thousands of dollars putting native plants in cages, BUT, if and when those plants go to seed and the seeds move downstream and happen to land in an area that is not solid carp scat where the conditions happen to be right for it to germinate and sprout, what do people think is going to happen to that sprout when it pokes it's head up? It's going to be like dropping a tiny mouse in a pit full of hungry snakes. It's not going to work until the destructive carp are mostly GONE, period.
So, as I mentioned, I was ready to go to battle and bring massive public attention to the matter, not just from an ecological and fish habitat standpoint, but for the fact that it's most of our DRINKING WATER. Some had already contacted media outlets and one of the largest news aggregates in the country and have approval from their news director to start doing stories, ringing phones, and demanding answers. There are also people who have professional video production companies ready to go out and get footage of the condition of the bottom of the lake, the loss of vital plant life and interview fishermen who have also witnessed the negative impact. One of the production companies is willing to do prepackaged footage compositions to release to the local media outlets as well. The domain name "FixLakeAustinNow.com" has also been secured and will be a focal point webpage for activists and other concerned citizens to learn about what has happened, what needs to happen, and who needs a fire lit under their arses to get some changes made.
Then, my dear mother's eternal words of "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" came to mind. I don't know why anyone would want to "catch flies" in the first place unless it's for bait, but something about it made sense to me. I happened to know a friend who moves in these circles of high powered lawyers/lobbyists/ and legislators and I decided to give them a call. They were very helpful and offered to put me in touch with another friend of theirs so that I could plead our case. I had a phone meeting with them on Monday, and one of them offered to look into it and have a discussion with the Director of TP&W to see what could be done. They said they would get back to me in a few days.
I am so happy that I at least tried this route first. I have no interest in publicly embarrassing anyone, raising uncomfortable questions, or calling for certain peoples' jobs. I have plenty on my plate and I don't want to have to devote time and resources to trying to get certain folks to take action on this matter. They have already basically admitted publicly that they've made a mistake and what the main cause of the problem is. I hope that the people I have spoken to will persuade the others to start making drastic changes effective immediately. No more twiddling thumbs, no more half baked unacceptable answers and no more non effective solutions to appease the fishing community. I would really love more than anything than to have allies in these circles which could make things run much more smoothly.
This is a disaster, and it is not going to get any better until the destructive carp are mostly removed. I need your support though. You guys have been at the forefront of this issue and obviously care more than the average person about the environment. Your support will be essential either way. I can get the word out to the average Austinite (and the Nation for that matter) about the condition of our water supply, but you guys have already proven that you're willing to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work to get the job done if need be. There are others who are angry about this and ready to organize, but many of you guys have already put in the work so my hat goes off to you. Even if you don't have the time or physical ability, your online activism would be of great value to get the word out about the "fix lake Austin now" initiative website, or getting friends and family involved to help out as well.
If the responsible parties had only listened to the warnings about the "White Amur" carp by the late Doug Hannon, the "Bass Professor," maybe things would have been different. These things are basically swimming plant shredding/pooping machines. Please take a minute if you can, to hear his quick take on this unbelievably destructive fish.
Regardless, we are where we are, and we need real solutions for TP&W and CoA. I recently spoke to someone who is prominent in the carp fishing community and they said that fishing all the carp out with a rod and line is going to be a tall order. One small organized event only managed to haul in around 200 of the carp over the course of a weekend. So, 30+ thousand carp times (x) many weekends = a lot of time and effort. They were also concerned that if the protective order is lifted on the "White Amur" that people who don't know the difference between them and the other native carp would get a lot of the wrong carp killed which I understand and agree with.
When I was speaking with one of the individuals who's offered to try and help remedy the situation, the idea was floated about putting something in the water that takes out all the oxygen and kills everything and start over. SURELY, we can come up with something better than that. I have been looking at other states' remedies for invasive carp involving everything from drag netting to shocking them and scooping them up. Here is a group in Utah that have removed millions of pounds of carp. Maybe they could hire them before building more plant cages. idk...
I will keep you guys posted as things hopefully progress. In the meantime any support you could offer whether it's ideas, offers to get involved at whatever level, or just words of encouragement would be appreciated.
I'm thinking a front row of boats that shocks or nets the fish and maybe a 2nd row that collects and sorts them and maybe another row that consolidates them onto a barge to be shot into the back of a pet food processing truck or to TDS for composting so the meat doesn't go to waste. I'm just spit balling here. I don't know how the logistics of any of that would work. Again, any input or further research is appreciated.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully taking action when the time comes.
Last edited by Jefferson; 09-08-2016 at 12:27 PM. Reason: New info
02-24-2016, 03:10 PM #2
Let me be the first in line to offer my support.
Lowell MayesA hot bite=> and a cold Lone Star......Nothing better!
02-24-2016, 06:16 PM #3
All area fishermen, fishing clubs, tournament organizations, and anyone who likes clean LA water and/or who have experienced what Lake Austin was before the grass carp eco-debacle should support this initiative.
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02-24-2016, 06:53 PM #4
Hey Jefferson, I appreciate all the work you have put into getting this organized. I am sure you have read John Ward's posts on habitat builds, ect. It sounds like the two of you acting as spokesmen and an army of fisherman will be hopefully be able to get something done.
I unfortunately only got to fish Lake Austin a couple times before all the vegetation was destroyed but I am happy to help get it back.
Please keep us posted.
Colt Dietz, DVM
02-25-2016, 06:53 PM #5
someone might be better able to speak to the facts but....I think the carp fisherman caught the 200 carp in a few hours, not over the whole weekend. The carp were caught for study. Didn't have jack to do with reducing numbers......plainly a publicity stunt, and having "others" get their hands smelly
02-25-2016, 10:22 PM #6
02-29-2016, 09:37 AM #7
The law says: "A Triploid Grass Carp Permit is in effect on this lake. If a grass carp is caught, it must be immediately returned to the water unharmed."
Hmmmm. If you snorkel/scuba, it's perfectly legal to cut the head off the fish with pruning shears as log as you don't "catch it" or "remove it from the water." It's legal to harm the fish if it's not caught nor removed from the water. Got it.
02-29-2016, 10:02 AM #8
Colt, I saw you mention reaching out to me. I've spoken with Jefferson a few times on the phone over the last couple of weeks and I have shared what I can about this situation. If there are anymore questions I'd be glad to offer what help I can. I know brush pile builds are not the long term answer we all desire but at this time that's what I am focusing on with the TTZ Friends of Reservoirs Lake Austin chapter. I'd be happy to speak with or work with anybody that has a solution for carp removal. Whenever I speak with governing bodies regarding Lake Austin I am consistent with my stance that carp removal is the only thing we can really do to restore order. Perhaps if Carter Smith gets some heat from COA residents/politicians they will soften there stance on protecting FOLA's carp.
Really though, at this point I'm sick of talking about the past. I don't care about the money FOLA raised to stock the carp, I don't care who sold it to the State, I don't care about how many were stocked, I don't care to place blame or point fingers at anyone, because really....that solves nothing. All I care about is getting those damn things out of the lake and getting some grass back into Lake Austin. I don't need blood or a public apology from anybody, just say we need to reduce numbers, pull the permit and let us start killing the bastards. But until that happens I'll work on fish habitat projects.
02-29-2016, 10:59 AM #9
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