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Old 01-01-2011, 06:30 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

I see the deadline. January 19 there will be a meeting on Fort Worth. So by then we need to have all the 4 steps outlined by Tex Guy done. I don't think we have to wait to discuss this at our January meeting.

What we can do immediately is to start outlinging the position of our club. We have less than 3 weeks.

Who would like to start writing this document?



(I still can't believe what I think I'm seeing and reading.

The way I see it... there will be a "white list" of permitted plants. All other aquatic plants will be illegal to possess. Noone will ever check anyone's house aquarium. We will still have the plants we have. But we will always be open to be hit out of nowhere. I have to put up curtains so people can't see my tanks from the outside. Never post plant giveaways. Any new person at a club meeting maybe a... spy? This is surreal. 1984.)

--Nikolay
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:53 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

@Niko - Not only that but the fine is $500 per plant!!!



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Old 01-01-2011, 08:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

Well,

I talked to Lue about all this. I started by stating that even after 15 years in the US I still feel very uncomforable about dealing with bureaucracy and "initiatives" that seem to not make sense.

In the course of the conversation a lot of things became clear to me. But above all I started to see the overwhelming news about a "list of permitted aquatic plants" as an opportunity - we, as a club, have another chance to establish our identity even more.

Here's what we talked about:

Whoever or whatever institution decided to create the seemingly ridicuolus "white list" of permitted plants is not out there to have some kind of witchhunt or decide single handedly how my home aquarium or pond will look like. We will all agree that if I, Nikolay, was charged with deciding which plants to allow or ban I'd have a VERY hard time making a decision. A lengthy research of each plant species would take years. Finding out who the concerned/affected parties are is another almost impossible task. One way of handling the situation would be to motivate everybody concerned with aquatic plants to voice their concerns about a "list of banned plant species". To speak up, to come up with valid arguments for and against. Then the situation will be more or less fair for everybody involved. So my first action would be to use a blanket approach that more or less sets the stage for a reaction by concerned party.

I cannot say that that's the tactic we are facing here. But fact is - we as hobbyists NEED to voice our concern. IF our arguments are well worded and make sense we will have an impact on this entire process.

And the process is about preserving our environment. All that it takes is a single plant species to prove aggresively invasive and all of us will have little to say or do. My Orwellian reference to the "Big Brother watching", 1984 and such is pointless. This is about handling a delicate situation. Everybody concerned needs to get involved. This is an opportunity, not a political moment.

So as I stated in the beginning of this post - in this situation I see an chance for our club to, once again, establish our identity. Basically we will be coming up with a written statement why the aquarium plant hobby is important not only to us but to people all over the USA, and of course abroad too. We should state the tremendous growth of the hobbyist base, the very busy interaction channels, the specific knowledge that the hobby has brought about, and the things we will lose should it be limited - another way to appreciate Nature, more knowledge of habitats and their current state, plant specific information, economic impact from the hobby and so on.

Of course this effort to voice our position should not be local only. But it should start locally.

Tex Guy synthesised everything that I needed help understanding + coming up with a plan of action into 4 simple to understand steps. I would like for us to not see this new development as a reason to turn away from the hobby or reduce our interest and activity.

So to start we need to write a "club position" on the subject. I can start making phone calls tomorrow morning trying to figure out how we are going to do that. But let's start with a new discussion right here - in a separate thread would be best - that way there will be at least 2 different thread on this very important subject.

--Nikolay

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Old 01-01-2011, 09:05 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

Few quick suggestions:
(1) Give them a big list of aquarium plants that should be on the accepted list. For starters, how about all the plants in Kasselmann with the exception of those already on the black list (Hydrilla, H. polysperma, etc.) Push aggressively to have these put on the accepted list.
(2) Push for establishment of a procedure to license people to keep white-listed plants. Ham radio operators have to pass an exam to operate; this would be a similar kind of exam. Licensed growers would have to demonstrate knowledge of proper techniques of containing white-listed plants so that they do not escape into the environment.

As an aside: I know why Cryptocoryne beckettii is on their black list. It got established in a part of the San Marcos River, and it is considered to be a threat to Texas Wild Rice, a variety of wild rice that is only found in the first 1/2 mile of the San Marcos River. The crypts are found more than a mile downstream of the region where the Texas wild rice grows, and it is not clear to me why they are considered to be a threat, since they grow low in the water and don't get very high. I have seen seedlings of the wild rice, and they get tall enough to grow above the crypts. The wild rice is established in a part of the river that has a high density of escaped Hygrophila polysperma and a variety of other species carpeting the bottom, but nobody seems to be worrying about these plants. The large number of escaped aquarium plants came from an aquatic plant wholesaler and grower who used the river to cultivate his plants during the 1960's. You can even still find water sprite growing in a few places.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:40 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

Niko and others, although this may appear to be argumentative, it is intended as constructive criticism.
The approach of telling "written statement why the aquarium plant hobby is important not only to us but to people all over the USA, and of course abroad too. We should state the tremendous growth of the hobbyist base, the very busy interaction channels, the specific knowledge that the hobby has brought about, and the things we will lose should it be limited - another way to appreciate Nature, more knowledge of habitats and their current state, plant specific information, economic impact from the hobby and so on. " I don't think will work. The commission/State experts will say that is nice, but we must protect public waterways.

The suggested can be a preamble but I think the key must be to a) show that people who keep aquatic plants in aquariums are not a significant source of risk to Texas waterways especially as compared to and contrasted with keepers of plants in outside ponds, commercial growers, etc. b) I think we may have a chance at challenging what is excluded from the white list by better understanding how they are deciding and helping them better understand our aquatic plants.

Of course, in a recent discussion on this subject, another individual proposed another option which is to just ignore all this. How likely is it the state will have the resources to target individual aquatic plant keepers who keep such indoors when there are so many better targets available??

Finally, a thought, most crypts cannot positively be identified until they flower. So how are they going to identify c wendti vs. "whitelisted crypts"?

Bob
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:40 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

what about a list of what we want and should be on the white list, and we put bs on the black list... what about reptile tessial plants on the black list and the rest on the white list...

grr, land of the free. BS.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:18 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

The TPWD White List is intended to regulate large-scale public and private businesses and interests such as zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. Private hobbyists are small fish (pardon the pun) in comparison to nurseries etc. In fact, if not in name, we're under the radar of this initiative and although we need to be aware of the laws and advocates for the hobby, we also don't need to get our torches and pitchforks out yet.

DFWAPC SHOULD ABSOLUTELY ATTEND THE JAN 19th MEETING AND SPEAK UP!

I've spoken with Dr. Chilton of TPWD about the efforts behind the White List and he's been very reasonable in our conversations.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BobAlston View Post
More web site links

http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=31&pt=2&ch=57&sc h=A&rl=Y


Existing regulations mention "aquaculture". The State of Texas definition: ""Aquaculture" or "fish farming" means the business
of producing and selling cultured species raised in private
facilities. "
More info than you would ever want to know:
http://law.onecle.com/texas/agriculture/chapter134.html


Under current Texas law, to be eligible for an exotic species permit, one must meet one of the following criteria:
"(a) To be considered for an exotic species permit, the applicant shall:

(1) meet one or more of the following criteria:

(A) possess a valid aquaculture license;

(B) possess a valid permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality authorizing operation of a wastewater treatment facility; (C) possess a department approved research proposal involving use of harmful or potentially harmful exotic fish, shellfish or aquatic plants;

(D) operate a public aquarium approved for display of harmful or potentially harmful exotic fish, shellfish or aquatic plants; or

(E) operate a facility approved by the department for the possession and propagation of harmful or potentially harmful exotic aquatic plants;

We don't seem to fit! Below is the source of the text above:
http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tl oc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=31&pt=2&ch=57&rl=117

Bob
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:31 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

Not to sound egotistical, but I believe I understand both the hobby and regulatory opinions well and will be more than happy to prepare and present a written statement before the committee on the club's behalf.

We're all entitled to our own opinions and think DFWAPC is stronger for our differing points of view on this topic. However, please refrain from wholesale "government" bashing. There's a lot more going on than what meets the eye and TPWD's been put in an uncomfortable position by having to come up with this list in relatively short order. Many years of research needs to go into a program such as this and they're sorely limited in funding and available personnel.

In fact, y'all need to come to the meeting and voice support for the need for further research on the topic! I've sent in grant proposals to study exactly this sort of thing. Perhaps more voices will convince them to search the couch cushons for a little $$.


Cheers,
Phil
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:41 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

My feelings are very similar to Phil's. In the past, almost all "solutions" to invasive species problems have been a matter of closing the barn door after the horse is gone. Once the invasives have escaped cultivation and are established, control is almost impossible.

TPWD is trying to get ahead of the problem. I think they are doing it in a clumsy and ineffective way, but that does not change the fact that the problem is real. We need to be part of a reasonable, effective solution.

--Michael
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:59 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Default re: TEXAS enacts white list - AGA forward

DFWAPC position statement-

The Dallas-Fort Worth Aquatic Plant Club understands and supports the need for informed measures which support current and future projects intended to conserve endangered native species and Texas' natural resources. We believe such measures are most effective when public agencies and experienced, educated, private organizations such as DFWAPC work together to support each other's interests and the best interest of those to come after us. As an established organization focused on small-scale, home-based, aquatic horticulture we believe a broad scale banning of all but a very few aquatic plant species is detrimental not only to current enthusiasts, but to those who wish to enter into the hobby of aquatic plant culture in an educated and conscientious manner. Many of our members have more than a decade of experience keeping numerous genera and species currently listed as unacceptable. It is our informed opinion that many, if not most, genera and species currently available in the aquarium and water garden hobbies, when cultured by informed and conscientious individuals, pose little or no threat to Texas's natural resources. We understand the need to monitor and regulate large-scale import and culture operations to provide a lasting and effective means of protecting endangered species and sensitive ecological resources such as the San Marcos. It is our strong belief that further research and collaboration between TPWD and aquatic-horticulture oriented organizations such as DFWAPC is in the best interest of Texas' environmental regulation, state-wide hobby organizations, and our state's precious natural resources.
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