Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs Latest Brochure

Project Overview

In 2013, the Trinity River Authority and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department approved a plan to foster natural habitat around the 85,000-acre Lake Livingston, Texas’ second largest lake. The project plan, developed by the Texas Black Bass Unlimited, laid out key goals:

  • Create natural habitat by planting American water-willow (Justicia Americana) on shorelines, islands, and shallow water flats
  • Reduce shoreline erosion, improve water filtration and quality, and provide habitat for juvenile fish, reptiles, and birds
  • Educate by enlisting local high schools to grow, propagate, and plant to demonstrate economic and ecological impact of a healthy aquatic habitat

Managing Partners

TPW - Life's Better OutsideFriends of ReservoirsTRATexas Black Bass Unlimited

26 State & Local Organizations Volunteering

  • ISDs & Schools
  • State Officials
  • County and Local Governments
  • Clubs & Organizations

Help LLFoR keep our lake thriving.

If you’re interested in learning more or volunteering for this project, contact:
Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs
P.O. Box 1504 Livingston, TX 77351LLFoR logo
Phone: 936-344-1137
Email. &


Re-establish Lake Livingston as a prime destination for anglers and outdoor recreationists by restoring aquatic habitat!

Summer 2016 LLFoR Newsletter

3,500 American Water-willows Planted in September by LLFoR

summer-2016-newsletter-1124 high school students, 40 adults, and 3,500 American Water-willows went to Lake Livingston on September 15 in the Pool’s Creek area of Waterwood in San Jacinto County. This was the largest Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LFFoR) planting yet, introducing healthy aquatic plants to reduce silting and create habitat for birds and fish along the shoreline, and was finished in just 3.5 hours. 

In addition to the September planting, LLFoR held several smaller event with our adult volunteers, each adding 350 plants. Propagation was in high gear over the summer, too. Volunteers propagated plants five times, including 4,000 propagated plants by the students at the September planting. We how have an inventory of nearly 10,000 American Water-willows.




Students and their teachers from Shepherd, Onalaska, Corrigan-Camden, Livingston, and Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated High Schools, along with volunteers from Livingston Rotary Club, San Jacinto County Master Gardeners, Piney Woods Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, and Onalaska Mayor Roy Newport propagated on shore, planted in the lake, and helped with event clean-up. Our project partners; Trinity River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries, and Texas Black Bass Unlimited were well represented. Everyone, even the shore team, was a little wet and muddy but satisfied in their accomplishment. We are well prepared to meet our 10,000 planting goal for 2017.

Shepherd HS was the host school for the event, cooking hot-dogs and hamburgers and pitching in on the clean-up, in addition to helping with the planting. One of their senior communications media students videotaped the entire event, conducted interviews and should have a finished video to share with us in November.

Texas Black Bass Unlimited is proud to present its recently completed video documenting the LLFoR Project. View it now.

Keep up with all of our activity at and our Facebook page.



Business Support Growing

LLFoR launched a Business Leaders’ Council last year, for local businesses investing $500 annually into our project. The Board is developing a full plan of engagement to grow this program, currently with six members, and to leverage the expertise of the Council members. More on this in the next newsletter.



LLFoR Expands Board

Ron Diderich, a member of Piney Wood Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, joined the LLFoR Board as Outreach Director and to manage financial reporting. We are still looking for board members and volunteers to join our growing program. If you are interested, email Tom McDonough.

LLFoR Receives Press Exposure August 2016

Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs is in the news again!

The Polk County Enterprise runs an article depicting the enticement of the 10-year project to retirees who enjoy the great outdoors.

Bringing life back to the lake is the motto and goal, by planing American Water Willows at shoreline locations. These plants spread over time to offer shallow water hiding places for small fish and water animals, allowing their numbers to increase and overall health to improve. Aquatic vegetation is essential for a lake to maintain it’s health. Not only do these plants provide hides for fish, they help filter contaminants from the water and increase the available oxygen in the lake.

Click here to read the Polk County Enterprise article…

LLFoR in the Media

Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs 2016 Water Willow Project Video

LLFoR in the News

Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs planting project receives attention in county paper

The Polk County Enterprise ran an article regarding the current success of the LLFoR planting project in their Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 edition.

Recognition of our 10-year project is always a good thing! As of July 2016, nearly 5,000 American water-willow aquatic plants are taking root at 13 sites around Lake Livingston, beginning the long process of re-establishing fish habitat, helping to prevent bank erosion and filter the water.

Please view the article PDF Enterprise Article July 3, 2016

Texas Master Naturalists Heartwood Chapter Participate

Heartwood chapter members participated in the ongoing Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFOR) project.

This is a massive 10-year project involving numerous organizations and volunteers. Heartwood chapter members volunteered with others to plant 360 American Water Willows along the northern mouth of Pools Creek on the west side of Lake Livingston. The project…

To read more, please visit:

We thank them for their recognition and support of our project!

Nearly 5,000 Plants Prepared for Lake Livingston

Nearly 5,000 Aquatic Plants Ready for Planting by Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs

Livingston, TX, July 21, 2016:  Braving the summer heat, two groups of volunteers clipped starter tips and transplanted nearly 5,000 American Water-willow aquatic plants, pushing forward on a goal to plant 10,000 per year to “Bring Lake Livingston Back to Life.”  Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR) is working to defray the costs of buying plants by perfecting a propagation system that is increasing plant inventory quickly with the help of a growing corps of volunteers.

Lake Livingston Volunteers no.1LLFoR’s largest all volunteer group of 26 gathered on July 18 to propagate 3,500 plants in a record three hours. A smaller group of 14 transplanted 1,200 plants on June 27. Most of these transplants were tipped, creating starter plants that will be ready for transplant to larger pots in a few months.

“We have developed an experienced core of volunteers, who know what needs to be done, and they get it done quickly,” said Tom McDonough, LLFoR Project Director.  “Our goal of maintaining a 10,000 planting-ready inventory is within reach. We’re just 1,700 plants from that goal and beginning to see expansion in our lake plantings.”Lake Livingston Volunteers no. 2

The transplanted aquatic plants must be submerged in grow tanks, and are maintained by students and instructors in six local independent school districts: Livingston (LHS & LIS), Corrigan-Camden, Onalaska, Shepherd, Goodrich, and Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated ISDs. McDonough and Project Inventory Manager Pam Klouda delivered transplants to the schools for ongoing care until they are planted in Lake Livingston. After putting out a call for extra help at Onalaska High School, Onalaska Mayor Roy Newport and his wife showed up to assist in getting 600 plants into the school’s tanks.

Three plantings of 300-400 plants by partner volunteers are planned for July and August.   Two larger student/partner plantings of 3,500 plants each are planned for September 2016 and May 2017.

Lake Livingston Volunteer no. 3McDonough is managing this 10-year project with partners Texas Black Bass Unlimited, Trinity River Authority, and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Additional volunteers come from the Polk County Hookers, San Jacinto County Master Gardeners, and the Piney Wood Lakes Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists.

For more information, to donate to help LLFoR “Bring Lake Livingston Back to Life”, or to help in planting and propagation, contact Tom McDonough at (832) 236-0723.

Stay up to date with LLFoR! Check out our Facebook page @

LLFoR is a 501 (c) (3).  


We are “Bringing Lake Livingston Back to Life

State Rep. James White Long Time Supporter of LLFoR

Texas State Representative James White has been a long-time supporter of Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs and our project goal of “Bringing Lake Livingston Back to Life”. LLFoR appreciates his support!

James White Letter_700x912

Spring 2016 LLFoR Newsletter

First Spring Planting Adds 2,100 American Water-Willows

LLFoR had its first-ever Spring Planting Tuesday, May 17 with 120 students from 5 ISD’s, 17 teachers, and 57 adult volunteers working to plant 2100 American Water-willow plants at TRA’s Wolf Creek Park. The LLFoR volunteer organization worked flawlessly with most pre-assigned supervisory roles or project functions.

Upon arrival, all students and teachers were guided to their assigned areas, received their gear, and immediately set to work planting2016-spring-01 approximately 900 plants at two sites on Indian Creek and 1,300 plants at 3 sites in Wolf Creek. When students weren’t in the water planting, they were trimming and propagating, sterilizing pots, and helping with other onshore projects. Over a 1,000 2016-spring-02plants were propagated with their help.

We are on track to produce 10,000 plants a year, another milestone.

All work was completed and lunch began at 11:30 am, cooked by host school Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated High School. With all volunteers, including the students and teachers, site clean-up and loading of all equipment went quickly.

We owe big thanks to Bass Pro Shops for gifts to the students; Brookshire Brothers in Coldspring for delivering the lunch perishables to Wolf Creek Park and their LLFoR donation.

Recent High Water Threatened New Plants; Still They Thrive

2016-spring-03After the most recent planting, Lake Livingston rose to its highest levels since Hurricane Rita, threatening the newly planted American Water-Willows. We were all holding our breath to see if the new plants survived, so we inspected the five sites, plus the five sites in the Kickapoo Creek area (planted Fall 2015) on Saturday, June 11.

Over 90% of the plants in Wolf and Indian Creek areas appear to withstood the flooding and high water. The plants stayed in place and are growing (see photos).2016-spring-04

Kickapoo Creek area appears to have survived as well, and the plants are thriving (again, see photos). Remember the Kickapoo plants are now 9 months old, and are growing as TPWD, Inland Fisheries had predicted. The first year’s growth2016-spring-05 is approximately one square foot per surviving plant. We observed some plants with less growth than that and some with more growth. The amount of sunlight received is likely the determining factor. In our future plantings, sunlight exposure will be taken more into account.2016-spring-06

Even the plants in the low light conditions appeared healthy but require more time to become well established.

First Area Replanted

LLFoR, Texas Association of Bass Clubs and Texas Black Bass Unlimited2016-spring-07 re-planted in Livingston State Park (site of first volunteer  planting in 2014) Area on Saturday, June 17. The initial planting was too deep in the water, so they did not make it. This time, they were set into 6 inches of water.

This is our second all volunteer planting, with two more scheduled for July and August. We expect to plant approximately 350 plants in areas where it is not practical to take students.

Volunteer/Staff Base Growing

LLFoR is looking like a team instead of a couple of retirees who had nothing better to do. We now have leaders in several key areas:

  • Onshore Project Lead: Pam Klouda, a Project Manager at UPS, has already streamlined many of our processes and
    accounted for all “starter” and “lake ready” plants. Sounds simple, but tracking thousands of 2” plants and getting
    them into 4” pots is a BIG job, and propagating them when ready is critical to cutting costs of buying plants.
  • Communications: Beth Miller of Communications that Blossom is now responsible for this newsletter, public relations,
    and electronic communications with the public, our partners, volunteers, and our Business Leader’s Council. We’re
    planning to increase the project visibility to attract volunteers and donors.

Texas Black Bass Unlimited is paying to have a professional video produced, with a short version already being used in presentations. The full video should be ready in a week or two.

We’ve had a great Spring and are looking forward to our best Summer months. Help is still needed for propagating and planting while school is out so please contact LLFoR if you don’t mind a bit of hot humidity.

Follow us on Facebook (LLFORORG). Thank you for your support of our website For more information, please contact Tom McDonough at

We are “Bringing Lake Livingston Back to Life

Winter 2015 LLFoR Newsletter

LLFoR logoLLFoR’s Winter was not typical of past Winters. The last three months were busy and productive.
The largest amount of time was spent on the “Best Practices Guide” (BPG). We incorporated all onshore operations and water operations into one guide, which is slightly less than 100 pages. We plan to update the BPG each Winter and redistribute it to the schools. Next on the agenda was the completion of the $20,000 grant from Friends of Reservoirs (FoR). We needed to have all the funds spent by March 31st, and the books closed with the Federal Government. This enabled us to apply for a 2016 grant through FoR. The good news is we were able to submit a new grant request; the bad news is LLFoR does not have the funds to carry us through 2016. You guessed it, fund raising was the next item on the agenda. We took two courses of action; the first was a raffle, and though the final accounting is not in, we did fairly well; the next item was LLFoR formed a “Business Leaders Council” (BLC). What we are attempting to do is get 20 companies, local governments, organizations or individuals to commit to donating $500 per year for the nine remaining years of the project. The BLC is off to a good start, as after two months, we are over 25% of the way to our goal. The BLC donations will be key going forward, as we most likely cannot apply to FoR for a Grant every year. This will provide us bridge funding and gives us the flexibility to do some funding of items which the Federal Government will not allow grant funds to be used for, as well as provide funds for the years we do not get FoR funding.

The first 4 to 5 months of 2016 have been tough for growing plants, due to colder than normal weather, overcast skies and lots of water coming into the Lake. TRA has done a great job in pulling the lake down to pool and not causing flooding downstream. Getting plants started and ready for the Lake planting has been an extremely slow process. Thanks to TPWD, Inland Fisheries they have purchased another 1,250 plants for us. THANK YOU!

We have two Student plantings scheduled for mid-May and late August. We also will attempt two volunteer plantings during the summer. The key here is getting enough plants “lake ready” and have enough left over to propagate for the following year. To this end, LLFoR has added a Project Manager and a Horticulturist to it’s burgeoning staff of three (a 200% increase). I welcome Pam Klouda (former Project Manager at UPS and current Master Gardener) and Zack Slayton (Horticulturist and owner of Texas Living Landscapes) to LLFoR. Pam’s job is to take our project to the next level of organization and Zack’s job is to get LLFoR and the schools producing 10,000 plants per year.

There are many exciting conversations going on with TPWD and TRA. New planting methods are being discussed (I call it the E-Z Button Method). We are also discussing with TPWD about possibly starting to grow Softstem bulrush or Great bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabenaemontani [Scirpus validus]) in the aquatic tanks which would include propagating these plants and including them in the student planting trips. This plant is also Grass carp resistant and can grow from the shoreline into three to five feet of water.

I hope all of our Newsletter subscribers are visiting our website, For the most recent updates on the project, follow us on Facebook, LLFoRorg. Should you know of a company or organization interested in being a member of our Business Leaders Council, please contact me. I also want to thank all the students, staff and volunteers who have helped us over the past 12 months.

Tom McDonough, Project Director, Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs

Bringing Lake Livingston Back To Life