We are restoring a native species 50 million years older than the dinosaurs.
It will be Wednesday (Sep 18) around 11:30 am until 12:15 pm. We expect the USFWS trucks to arrive at 11:30. They will begin acclimating the fish to the bayou water. We anticipate they will start releasing fish at noon and that it will be over by 12:15.
Involved in the release are the USFWS, TPWD Inland Fisheries, and the Caddo Lake Institute. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides some of the funding. It will be at Jefferson’s City Boat Ramp on Big Cypress Bayou, just off 134. The address is 400 E. Austin St.
In 2005, the Caddo Lake Institute with many key nonprofit and government partners began working on a flows regime. It is designed to help restore habitat and fisheries in Big Cypress Bayou/Caddo Lake. One key native species is the Paddlefish. They had disappeared from Caddo after the loss of springtime pulses indicating it was time to spawn, and lack of rocky bottoms on which to lay their eggs. The flows project remedied those issues, providing springtime pulses and sediment scouring. The USACE placed gravel spawning shoals in Big Cypress Bayou which remain clear of sediment. Experimental releases of Paddlefish begun in 2014 and it was successful. In 2018 a full-scale restocking of Paddlefish began and will continue until we establish a viable population. These fish are 350 million years old, older than the dinosaurs. They are filter feeders, have no scales and primarily no bones. They are listed as threatened in the state of Texas and are not game fish. Game fish restocking occurs regularly in Caddo.