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Texas Updates ‘White List’ of Aquatic Plants as Approval Vote Nears

Posted: January 12, 2011, 7:15 p.m., EDT

Editor's Note: The "white list" vote has been delayed indefinitely, as of press time on Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., EDT.

An e-mail sent on Jan. 25 from Ken Kurzawski, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, states:

"To persons involved with aquatic plants,

Please be advised that the Exotic Species Rules and Fees agenda items have been removed from consideration by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at their January 26 and 27 meeting. The Commission will not consider action on these itmes at this time. At this time, no timetable has been established for reconsideration of these rules."

Many popular varieties of aquarium plants could be prohibited in Texas, including popular items like Cryptocoryne wendtii, several Echinodorus species, Hygrophila and Rotala rotundifolia.
Many popular varieties of aquarium plants could be prohibited in Texas, including popular items like Cryptocoryne wendtii, several Echinodorus species, Hygrophila and Rotala rotundifolia.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has moved some aquatic plants to its “white list” of aquatic plants approved for ownership in the state and clarified its stance on several others that seemed to be destined to be banned under proposed regulations set to be approved at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Jan. 27 meeting.

Plants recently added to the approved list include the spider lily and aquarium plants Echinodorus grandiflorous, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Cryptocoryne usteriana and Vesicularia dubyana.

Moreover, Dr. Earl Chilton, Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program Director for the department, said that several other aquarium species that appeared to not be on the approved list were actually on the list under synonyms or did not need to be on the list because they were native to Texas or primarily terrestrial.

The department has added a"removed from consideration" list to its pending regulations. This list designates those species of the 496 that the department determined were in trade in the state and subject to evaluation that did not need to be approved for a variety of reasons, primarily because they were either native to Texas, primarily terrestrial or were invalid names or synonyms of already approved plants.

In addition, Chilton said all plants currently on the department’s proposed ineligible list were being reevaluated.

The regulations, part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s efforts to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive, non-native aquatic plants into the state’s ecosystem, create a “white list” of plants approved for sale in the state, effectively barring trade in those plants not listed. Moreover, some plants not on the approved list will also be placed on an “ineligible species list,” meaning that the department has determined those species pose a risk. Under the proposal, interested parties could petition the department to add plants to the approved list, unless they are already on the ineligible list.

The remaining public meetings, all of which are to begin at 7 p.m., are scheduled for:

Austin -- Jan. 13 -- TPWD Headquarters (4200 Smith School Road)

Fort Worth  -- Jan. 19 -- Cabela’s (12901 Cabela’s Drive)

San Antonio  -- Jan. 18 -- Lions Field Adult Center (2809 Broadway St.)
Chilton notes that the lists are all drafts and will be finalized by the commission at its meeting later this month, at which time the commission may make additions, deletions and other changes to the rules.

The department will be holding three more meetings around the state for public comment about the proposals before the commission’s meeting.

With the department’s recent changes and clarifications, 27 aquarium species, including Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cyperus helferi, most Hygrophila species, Rotala rotundifolia and Pogostemon helferi, and several water garden plants, could be effectively banned if the commission approves the regulations in their current format. 

As of last week, 43 aquarium plant species risked being banned, according to Brandon McLane of Florida Aquatic Nurseries. 

Water garden plants that will tentatively be banned include elephant ears, Egyptian papyrus, water poppy, yellow snowflake, dwarf cattail and graceful cattail, all of which are currently on the ineligible list, as is Mexican petunia, which is not even an aquatic plant, according to Rolf Nelson, owner of Nelson Water Gardens & Nursery in Katy, Texas.

Nelson is urging interested parties to attend the hearings if possible and to contact state legislators to voice concerns before the commission votes on the proposal.

See related story: Texas Proposal Could Stop Trade in Dozens of Aquarium Plants


Affected Aquarium Plants*
Ineligible Species List

1. Cardamine lyrata
2Cryptocoryne becketti
3Cryptocoryne wendtii
4. Cyperus helferi
5. Gymnocoronis splilanthoides
6. Hydrocotyle leucocephala (water pennywort)
7. Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides
8. Hydrotriche hottoniflora
9Hygrophila angustifolia
10Hygrophila balsamica
11Hygrophila corymbosa
12Hygrophila difformis (water wisteria)
13Hygrophila pinnatifida
14Limnophila indica
15Marsilea hirsuta
16Marsilea quadrifolia
17. Potamogeton gayi
18Rotala indica
19Rotala rotundifolia
20. Syngonium podophyllum
21Vallisneria asiatica

Not on Approved List (effectively banned pending risk assessment)

22. Ammania sengalensis
23. Fissidens fontinallis
24. Myriophyllum tuberculatum
25. Pogostemon helferi
26. Pogostemon stellata
27. Rotala nanjenshan

• List compiled by Brandon McLane/Florida Aquatic Nurseries

Plants Recently Added to Approved List

1. Echinodorus grandiflorous
2. Heteranthera zosterifolia (water stargrass)

3. Cryptocoryne usteriana
4. Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss)
Plants Removed From Consideration (and therefore not illegal)

a. Because had been approved under a synonym
   1. Cryptocoryne crispatula (approved as C. retrospiralis)
   2. Cryptocoryne lutea (approved as C. walkeri)
   3. Cryptocoryne willissii (approved as C. undulate)
   4. Echinodorus angustifolia (approved as E. bolivianus)
   5. Echinodorus argentinensis (approved as E. grandiflorous)
   6. Echinodorus osiris (approved as E. uruguayensis)
   7. Echinodorus parviflorus (approved as E. grisebachii)
   8. Echinodorus quadricostatus (approved as E. bolivianus)
b. Because had been determined to be native to Texas
   1. Eleocharis parvula 
   2. Myriophyllum pinnatum 
   3. Vallisneria spiralis (also synonym for V. Americana)
c. Because had been determined to be primarily terrestrial
   1. Lysimachia nummularia








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Texas Updates ‘White List’ of Aquatic Plants as Approval Vote Nears

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Mailing Address:
Texas Park and Wildlife Dept.
4200 Smith School Road
Austin TX 78744
USA Telephone: +1 512-389-4652
Fax: +1 512-389-4405
Robert Hudson, Salem, OR
Posted: 1/22/2011 2:56:48 AM
So many of us traveled across the country in September 2010 to show our opposition to the manner in which some of these plants are being decided. The Texas Parks and Wildlife department does not seem to understand that the bad parts of what they are doing is already being copied by other states and this is going to hurt businesses and consumers. Much of the invasive problems in Texas are plants being transmitted into waterways by the underside of boats which is not really being addressed by this action. Many of those weeds were banned before this law was dreamed up. The industry deals with regulation in every state as a blacklist and it is handled appropriately. Undoubtably this is going to create some nice new positions for regulators and give the parks and wildlife department a new reason to ask for more funding each year from their congress.
Zac, Canton, OH
Posted: 1/17/2011 9:44:59 AM
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