John Paul’s Landing – A Lesson in Partnerships

In June we gave Dock Line readers a snapshot of the new reservoir that Harris County Precinct 3 (HCP3) has been working on: John Paul’s Landing. We also informed you that the new park and reservoir will be open to the public this fall. Well, due to Mother Nature blessing us with rain throughout the summer, and the abundance of slippery clay in the Katy Prairie soil that prevented crews from working in muddy conditions, HCP3 has pushed back their grand opening date to Valentine’s Day 2018. Don’t worry; it will be well worth the wait.

With all of the amenities fully installed, manicured, and ready to go, John Paul’s Landing is sure to be the treasure of all of HCP3’s parks. Once the main park has opened, the plan is to open a new section of reservoir every Valentine’s Day until the lake has reached 400 acres.

Harris County Precinct 3 has acquired a new partnership that will make John Paul’s Landing even more special. The Magnolia West High School Fishing Team recently enlisted as a Friends of Reservoirs Chapter for the lake. Friends of Reservoirs (FOR) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting and/or restoring fisheries habitat in reservoir systems nationwide. FOR is also a coalition of local citizen groups dedicated to improving fish habitat in reservoir systems. Until now, these groups have been made up of adults banding together to work on much larger reservoirs such as Lake Conroe. The Magnolia West High School Fishing Team is the first (and so far the only) FOR group formed by high school students.

As other FOR Chapters have also done, the students will work with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff to enhance fish habitat at John Paul’s Landing (JPL), which will in turn benefit fish populations, and ultimately enhance fishing success. The team is also working with TPWD to submit grant applications which, if awarded, will help further their work at JPL.

The first hands-on project to be completed in late August is planting native vegetation on a wetland island in the reservoir. This island is surrounded by a gravel shelf that will serve as spawning habitat for bass, crappie, and various sunfish species. The island itself will be partially underwater. These underwater areas are where TPWD will assist the fishing team with planting native vegetation. Once established, the plants will help to stabilize the island banks as well as provide cover for young fish. By planting native vegetation while the reservoir is still a blank slate, we can fill those niche spaces with desirable plants rather than allowing invasive species to take hold and take over.

With a little work and a lot of fun, the Magnolia West High School Fishing Team is sure to create even more opportunities for JPL visitors to take advantage of the fishing mecca that HCP3 has created. We look forward to continuing to foster and develop this partnership as well as others like it.

If your fishing club/team or a group of conservation minded individuals would like to become a Friends of Reservoirs Chapter for one of our other urban reservoirs, let us know! There are plenty of places in the greater Houston area that would be prime candidates for a new FOR Chapter.

To learn more about Friends of Reservoirs, check out: http://www.waterhabitatlife.org/.

For more information about fish habitat partnerships, we suggest: http://www.reservoirpartnership.org/ and http://www.fishhabitat.org/.

For additional information about John Paul’s Landing, go to: http://www.pct3.com/parks/john-pauls-landing-park/.

For information on length and bag limits, check out the TPWD Outdoor Annual or download the app!

http://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/

Information on where to fish in Texas public waters, including the Community Fishing Lakes, is available at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/wheretofish/. If you have any questions please contact us at 979-272-1430 or by email at niki.ragan@tpwd.texas.gov or mark.webb@tpwd.texas.gov.

Follow TPWD’s College Station-Houston Inland Fisheries office on Facebook and Instagram:

www.facebook.com/TPWInlandFisheriesCollegeStationHouston

https://www.instagram.com/fisherieshouston/