Invasive Species Control

The Texas Gulf coast is host to several exotic species that you may be familiar with, some of the most notorious and invasive of these being fire ants, grass carp, nutria, hydrilla, water hyacinth, and Chinese tallow trees. A more recent invader that has the potential to be as damaging as Chinese tallow is Brazilian peppertree, which was discovered not too long ago on Galveston Island.

Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius)

Brazillian Peppertree

The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) is engaged in a project to eradicate Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius) from Galveston Island. Brazilian peppertree is a non-native, invasive plant species that was brought to Texas as an ornamental plant and is considered one of the greatest threats to native biodiversity. This opportunistic species quickly forms dense thickets, shading out native vegetation and drastically affecting plant and animal communities.

The current and largest-scale phase of the control work began at the end of August 2010 and will continue through September 2010. Control work is focused on four areas on and around Galveston Island—the I-45 corridor, Corps Woods, Ten Mile Road, and Pelican Island. Following control work, GBF will continue to monitor the treated areas and re-treat new growth. We ask that if you see Brazilian peppertree growing on your property or anywhere on Galveston Island, please contact Matt Singer, GBF’s Conservation Lands Manager, at or 281.332.3381 x206 to arrange for removal.

This project is funded by grants from the Texas General Land Office Coastal Management Program, NOAA, Galveston Bay Estuary Program/TCEQ, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program.

GBF became involved in the control of Brazilian peppertree just after it was first discovered on Galveston Island. In 2005, GBF, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Galveston Bay Estuary Program, Restore America’s Estuaries, and NOAA partnered on an initial control project that resulted in the chemical treatment/removal of Brazilian peppertrees from all known locations of infestation at the Sweetwater Nature Preserve, Galveston Island Municipal Golf Course, Scholes Airport, and 17 private residential properties. As part of this project, GBF produced a one-page fact sheet, "Brazilian Pepper Tree on Galveston Island: The Next Chinese Tallow?," available in our Publications.

For more information on Brazilian peppertree, see "The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area," available from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera)

GBF will soon be working on control of Chinese tallow on its 166.8-acre preserve, known as Rich Sanctuary, on Trinity Bay near Anahuac. Funding and technical assistance for this project is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Texas Coastal Program. For more information on Chinese tallow, see "The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area," available from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)

Grass Carp

In April 2002, GBF compiled and published a literature survey of articles and technical papers relating to the policy, biology, and management of grass carp. GBF also produced a four-page fact sheet, “Grass Carp in Galveston Bay: What You Need to Know About this Exotic and Invasive Species,” available in our Publications. Both the literature survey and fact sheet were produced with funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the GLO Coastal Management Program.

Both Chinese tallow and Brazilian peppertree are "prohibited species" listed on the State of Texas’ Noxious Plant List, 4 TAC §19.300. As of January 6, 2005, it is unlawful to sell, distribute, or import any live form of these plants into the State of Texas!