Inspired by America Recycles Day (ARD) on Nov. 15, Texas Stream Team, as part of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, is calling on Texans to take part in the new Stream Team Monofilament Finders project to help conserve, protect and improve bird, fish and wildlife habitat along Texas waterways and coastlines.
“Two million Texans enjoy fishing in our waterways every year, and this means a lot of fishing line is forgotten or thrown into the environment,” Nature Program Specialist Briane Willis said. “Fishing line is one of the most persistent forms of pollution in our oceans today, and can cause damage to wildlife that ingest it or become entangled in it.”
With the support of the Texas State Aquarium, Texas Stream Team answered this preventable hazard through the Stream Team Monofilament Finders. It is open to all Texans wanting to help restore the environment and remove abandoned fishing line from Texas waterways.
“Monofilament fishing line is a form of nonpoint source pollution that everyone can help battle against,” Willis said. “It takes a little bit of awareness, consideration, and effort to keep this dangerous line out of the environment, but it’s an easy way to directly help animals in our creeks, rivers, lakes, bays, estuaries, and ocean.”
Monofilament fishing line is the most common and only recyclable fishing line used today. To make the job easier, Texas Stream Team has compiled a map of more than 50 recycling kiosks across the state on the project page, TXMonofilament.org.
“For non-anglers with limited fishing experience, the best first step is to go a tackle shop and become familiar with the different kinds that are labeled there,” Willis said. “Once you can see the differences, it is easier to identify the line you find in the environment. All fishing line should be removed from the environment, even if it’s not recyclable.”
The project also consists of an online monofilament tracking form for participants. This data will inform Texas Stream Team where line is being lost, where it is collecting in the environment, and where more work needs to be done to restore habitats.
“Our goal is to expand the recycling stations and removal efforts across Texas, wherever they are needed most,” Willis said.
To get involved, individuals should visit TXMonofilament.org to view the training video and explore the issue of fishing line further. Then they may visit Spring Lake to obtain a free collection bag with protocol card attached and start collecting.
About The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment was named following a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation in August 2012. The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment is dedicated to environmental research, stewardship, education and service. The Center is led by renowned conservationist Andrew Sansom, Ph.D.