Sunday, October 18, 2009






Water hyacinth invades lake

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
The South American water hyacinth has striking light blue to violet flowers located on a terminal spike.The fast-growing plant can only be pulled up and burned or hauled off.

By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Colorful, lush with delicate blooms and destructive.
The sudden appearance – starting almost three weeks ago – of this alien plant belies the fact that the water hyacinth is now entrenched in green beds, covering beaches and blocking boat ramps.

Monitor Photo/ Barbara Gartman
The beach front at Lakeshore RV Resort is turned into a jungle from the influx of water hyacinth, a South American plant that is illegal to possess or transport due to its fast growth.


“It grows like a weed. That’s why it’s illegal to have it,” Kaufman County Extension Agent Ralph Davis told The Monitor.
In fact, the plant is not even native to North America, and is not only illegal to possess, it is illegal to transport, even if stuck to the bottom of a boat. So it’s best to check the boat over before pulling it up onto the highway.
“It is a floating plant coming down from the Twin Creeks,” reservoir manager Buckley Butler said.
Monitor Photo/ Barbara Gartman
The boat ramp at Lakeshore RV Resort is blocked by the floating water hyacinth plant, washed down from creeks during the recent heavy rains.


“It can live as a floating plant and it doesn’t have to root in the lake,” he said.
Further, this is not the first time the plant has invaded Cedar Creek Lake.
“We had the same occurrence in December, 2006,” Butler explained.
Describing the phenomenon of small, floating islands of plant life, lake area residents have been watching the hyacinth spread.
“The plant will go all the way down to the Trinity, down to Livingston and eventually on to the Gulf,” Butler said.
The hyacinth is already growing along the banks of the Trinity River, he added.
“The only thing residents can do is to physically remove it, stack it up on the bank and let it dry, and then either burn it or have it hauled off,” he said.
“If we had a hard freeze, and the duration was long enough, that will kill the plant,” he said.
But spraying the obnoxious weed is not an option, Butler emphasized.
“Homeowners (fronting the lake) are not allowed to use a (weed killer or other chemical) spray without getting written permission from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,” Butler said.
The plant has already caused problems at boat docks and beaches in the area.
Lakeshore RV Resort, owned by Lucy and C.D. Smith, not only has its shoreline covered, but the boat dock and beach, as well.
Big Chief Landing reported problems in getting boats into its docks.
Drivers along State Highway 334 can see the encroaching plants at the docks of the former Causeway Marina.
The water hyacinth is native to South America, but has managed to encroach and become naturalized in much of the southern United States.
The free-floating perennial can grow to a height of three feet.
It has dark green leaves, ranging in shape from circular to elliptical.
Underneath the water is the thick, heavily branched, dark fibrous root system.
It has striking light blue to violet flowers located on a terminal spike.
The very aggressive invader forms thick mats that can cover the entire surface of a pond, resulting in oxygen depletion and fish kills.
Heavy rains have not only added to the spread of water hyacinth here. In South Texas, the giant salvinia is choking waterways, as well.
The fernlike floating water plant was first discovered on Toledo Bend Reservoir in southeast Texas in 1998.
In the following 10 years, giant salvinia has been found in 11 Texas reservoirs.
The two-foot-thick mat-like coverings can disrupt ecosystems, and render the water unsuitable for fishing and boating.
Caddo Lake is facing an uncertain fate, due to the expansion of the giant salvinia.
More than 100 acres of the damaging plant has been discovered on the Angelina River, north of Lake Sam Rayburn.
In September, an infestation was discovered in Lake O’ the Pines.
Because of the easy way these plants can be spread by boaters, a stiff $500 for each plant discovered on the boat or vehicle has been enforced.



Seven Points sets city cleanup Oct. 24
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–The city of Seven Points announces its autumn cleanup for city residents.
Large dumpsters will be set up behind city haul, and city workers will be on hand to help unload vehicles and trailers from 8 a.m. to noon.
Residents are welcome to drop their discards off throughout the weekend, provided there is room in the dumpster, city secretary Debbie Mosley said.
“They’ll take just about anything,” she said.
Things that can be recycled, such as tires, car oil and car batteries, should not be disposed in the dumpsters, nor hazardous waste materials, such as paint.
Discarded appliances will be taken for pickup by a recycler, so don’t put these in the dumpsters, either, but to the side of them, Mosley said.
IESI, the city’s trash hauling service, is providing four roll-offs as an added service to its Seven Points customers.


Forgery ring bust
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN COUNTY–After a lengthy investigation, the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office reported the arrest of five people involved in a highly sophisticated forgery ring.
The ring is credited with the theft of more than $100,000 from banks, businesses and individuals from Longview to Seagoville and all the way down to the Houston area.
According to a Tuesday press release, Matthew Brandon Peters, 29, and his wife, Karie Ann Peters, 38, were arrested and charged with forgery on Sept. 15.
The suspects were located in a Days Inn Motel in Mesquite.
The couple is being held in the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center on $85,000 and $75,000 bonds, respectively.
Matthew Peters also was shown to have an outstanding warrant out of Upshur County.
On Sept. 14, Cory Nicole Marble, 21, of Wills Point was also arrested in connection with the investigation. Her bond has been set at $1,500.
Two more suspects were arrested by the Kilgore Police Department.
Kaufman law enforcement reports the operation used stolen checks from area businesses and individuals to create counterfeit checks, and used stolen identifications to cash the checks at an assortment of businesses and local banks.
The investigation continues, with more charges expected to be filed.

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