South Texas non-profit creating a better tomorrow at Lake Findley
The Alice Green Alliance (AGA), a non -profit that organized this past year, has made significant strides with the main purpose to clean up Lake Findley. AGA held a lake clean-up event on Saturday, May 15 and the community turned out to help.
The event came after a letter from the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) that gave support to the AGA's efforts at Lake Findley. The letter stated that the TPWD is to provide a supply of catfish to the lake on Thursday, June 3.
A better Lake Findley mission started in the summer of 2020 when Alice resident Daniel Benavides noticed apparent neglect at the lake and an excessive overgrowth of star grass and algae. Since his initial interest, he has since joined forces with Charlie Bazan, a local Alician, that shared the same hopes of a better Lake Findley. This alliance helped formed the non-profit organization AGA which has included a board of directors and a strong community volunteer base.
One of the issues related to the lake's neglect was a severed relationship between the City of Alice and TPWD back in 2012. This past year AGA and the current city administration have worked together to rebuild that relationship. After a brief delay from the February freeze, TPWD started collecting data and analyzing the ecosystem at the lake- an effort that will take time to get back on track.
"The Corpus Christi Fisheries Management District team has conducted both an overnight gill net survey and a Spring electrofishing survey, each at multiple stations. TPWD decided an initial cause for action would justify a supply of catfish for the lake," Dusty McDonald, Corpus Christi Fisheries Management District said. "Our management recommendation is to stock Channel Catfish, normally these requests are made at the start of the year and the likelihood of getting fingerlings is dependent on fish production availability and the demands from other fishery management districts throughout the state. However, as luck would have it, TPWD hatcheries were retiring 307 broodstock (adult) Channel Catfish. District supervisors throughout the state made efforts to compete for this broodfish for Alice because Lake Findley was awarded the most of any of the other district requests. The benefit of stocking adult broodfish is that it creates an immediate trophy catfish angling opportunity and they hopefully will serve as a way to re-establish a self-sustaining Channel Catfish population for the future."
"The TPWD went to bat for Alice to receive the catfish," Bazan said. "The state normally does not offer catfish supply this late in the season- we are very grateful."
The TPWD and AGA partnership is one of many issues the non-profit have worked on. The next area of business is stocking the lake with grass carp or tilapia fish to help battle the excess grass and algae. This issue has been a deterrent for kayaking and swimming in the lake especially in the summer months when the heat aspirates the spread.
"The City of Alice plans to support the grass carp and AGA efforts at the lake," City Manager Michael Esparza said.
AGA has taken efforts one step further with clearing out a nature trail and lake clean-up. The first phase was completed on Saturday.
"The future goals are to host education and kayak classes for community youth and create a real park and recreation establishment for the City of Alice," Bazan said.