Letter to the Editor | "Yes! Remove the Invasive Plants from City Property!" by Barbara Gurtner

Pictured: Brazilian Pepper Tree
Source
"I strongly object to the stance taken by my councilwoman, Adelaide Marlatt, my neighbors and friends who oppose the removal of the invasive plants from the City of Rockport’s property along Tule Creek.

That the State of Texas has had the foresight to promote this necessary project and has granted the City money to carry this out is to be commended. The two plants mentioned, Chinese Tallow trees (Wikipedia) and Brazilian Pepper trees (Wikipedia) have long been known to take over habitat, crowd out native species, and undermine native plants that support wildlife in our area. There is also the problem with toxicity of the Chinese Tallow tree leaves affecting the soil.

That the immediate removal will not be aesthetic is short-sighted. It may take years for new plantings to mature, but there will again be beautiful trees and habitat there. Not removing the trees now will create future problems and increase expense of correction.

Bringing up the problems of deer population, which already exist in the Rockport Country Club, is a separate issue that also must be addressed. Deer, foxes, raccoons, opossum and other wildlife are constantly made homeless from loss of habitat because of development in our area. Animal population control as the human population increases is a hard issue to discuss, but it is necessary. Stopping the removal of Chinese Tallow on the Tule Creek Property will not stop the deer problem in the subdivision.

And stopping removal of the invasive plant species doesn’t address the issues of land management and growth of development, clearing cutting, removing understory growth, paving over land to make in impermeable, not to mention the destruction of habitat that is necessary for the migration of birds through our area. The loss of habitat contributes to the decrease of their survival and adversely affects one of the largest attractions to this area, birdwatching. That the City of Rockport and the City Council had the foresight to purchase the Tule Creek property and to preserve it is to be highly commended.

Have you talked to the City of Port Aransas or Corpus Christi about their current problems with invasive species and the cost involved?

Or the State of Florida who’s problem with invasives is used as a study by other states?

Please reconsider your stance and support good land management in Rockport by going forward with the removal of invasive plant species on the City of Rockport’s land.

- Barbara Gurtner



References:

TexasAgriLife Extension Service in Aransas County
http://aransas.agrilife.org/files/2012/02/17-Invasives-pg37-39.pdf

Invasive plants in Aransas County and alternative plantings

Chinese Tallow Tree
http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=TRSE6
Ecological Threat: Chinese tallow will transform native habitats into monospecific (single species) tallow forests in the absence of land management practices. Chinese tallow alters light availability for other plant species. Fallen tallow leaves contain toxins that create unfavorable soil conditions for native plant species. Chinese tallow will outcompete native plant species, reducing habitat for wildlife as well as forage areas for livestock.
From the University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
http://www.wildflower.org/invasive/
After habitat destruction, invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity. Invasives threaten the survival of native plants and animals, interfere with ecosystem functions, and hybridize with native species resulting in negative genetic impacts.
The City of Port Aransas problems with invasive species, particularly the Brazilian Pepper
http://www.texasinvasives.org/resources/publications/TFS_Brazilian_Pepper.pdf
The State of Florida
http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/1051-0761%281998%29008%5B0975%3AEOINIP%5D2.0.CO%3B2?journalCode=ecap

EFFECTS OF INVASIVE, NON-INDIGENOUS PLANT SPECIES ON ECOSYSTEM PROCESSES: LESSONS FROM FLORIDA

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