Hostile Hitchhikers - March 2014 News You Can Use

March 2014

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Hostile Hitchhikers


What do zebra mussels, alligator weed, hydrilla, lionfish, and giant salvinia have in common? 

These plants and animals are all considered invasive aquatic species. Without the predators, parasites, and diseases that control their numbers in their native ecosystems, these species can reproduce and spread at an amazing pace, oftentimes at the expense of Texas’ valuable native plants, fish, and animals. 

Exotics often travel from one water body to another by "hitching a ride" on a watercraft. To curb the spread of invasive species, boaters in Texas are required by law to remove harmful plants and animals from boats and trailers before leaving the vicinity of a lake, river, or bay. Learn how to properly clean your recreational equipment. 

Find more information about the many invasive species that pose a threat in Texas, where they're found, and how you can help Take Care of Texas waters.

Conscientious Cleaning


With spring on the horizon and your list of cleaning and home improvement projects expanding, you may begin to notice how much space your paint, chemicals, and yard products take up in the garage and under the sink. Overstocked kitchen and garage cabinets could present a hazard and will eventually have to be cleaned out. Here are some tips to help you safely manage potentially hazardous products and help Take Care of Texas:

  • For painting projects, know the size of your area and use an online paint calculator to determine how many gallons you should buy. Use it up! Buying in bulk may not save you money if it is only partially used.
  • Practice reuse: for products in good condition, pass along to a friend or neighbor who may be able to use them.
  • Consider less-toxic alternatives for your home and garden chemicals.
  • Find a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program or collection available in your community.  

For general inquiries or questions about the program, contact the HHW Program Coordinator at 512-239-3143 or e-mail: <>.

Event Highlights  


March 7 

The Rio Grande Valley Water Awareness Summit invites you to the McAllen Convention Center on March 7, 2014. Attendance is free and seating is limited — register today!

Groundwater Awareness Logo

 March 9 – 15

For two decades, National Groundwater Awareness Week has spotlighted an important resource — groundwater. Groundwater is found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rock. In Texas, groundwater supplies 60 percent of all freshwater used by the state and 80 percent of the water used for agriculture. Take Care of Texas by protecting this vital resource.


Fix a Leak Week

March 17 - 23 

Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. Do your part to conserve water—find easy tips to check for and fix leaks.

May 6th - 7th


Don't miss this year's Environmental Trade Fair & Conference! Visit the Trade Fair Web page to register and for more information.

Earth Day


Plan Ahead for April 22

Some things you can do to celebrate Earth Day this year include planting trees, starting a recycling program, and planning an event to encourage awareness for ways we can all do our part to Take Care of Texas.

Earth Day is fast approaching so if you would like to order FREE Take Care of Texas materials for your special event, place your order online by Friday, March 29!  

LIKE Take Care of Texas on Facebook and we'll keep you up-to-date as new free publications become available. 

Hydrilla Help

Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe Defeats Invasives  

See how Lake Conroe’s community and partners used Texas native aquatic plants to combat an invasion of hydrilla.  Find more about the many invasive species that pose a threat in Texas, where they're found, and how you can help Take Care of Texas waters.

Keep Our Water Clean


Onboard sewage management is not a fun thing to think about, but it is a necessary part of your boat's systems. The Clean Water Certification Program requires owners of boats with marine sanitation devices and owners of pump-out stations to obtain a decal, self-certifying that the MSD or pump-out station is operating properly to prevent the discharge of sewage into Texas waterways. The program (administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and enforced by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) is required under Texas law and is intended to protect and improve the quality of water in Texas.

The certification expires every odd number year on December 31. The cost is $15 for boat owners and $35 for pump-out stations. Boaters and marinas may certify their MSD or pump-out station online at < receive decals via mail.  

Publications Highlight

Rainwater Harvesting Cropped

Celebrate Earth Day by building your own rainwater harvesting system to capture, store, and use rainwater to water your landscape. Order our Rainwater Harvesting manual (GI-404) while supplies last.


Build your own rain barrel! Get easy instructions on how to construct a rain barrel in our free publication, Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels (GI-383). Order online or download from the Take Care of Texas website.


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