Now on the threatened species list in Texas, the unique paddlefish can grow to seven feet, weigh 200 pounds and live for 30 years. It's a filter feeder, capturing plankton on its gill strainers as it swims with its mouth open. A picture is worth a thousand words, as this video about the restoration shows. Providing adequate river flow through the Caddo Lake watershed has been just one critical step in a complex 10-year multi-agency project to restore habitat that will support not only paddlefish but many other species as well.
In March, 47 American paddlefish outfitted with radio transmitters were released in Caddo Lake. They will be followed to determine how well they can do in the lake system in the 21st century. Follow the paddlefish yourself with this interactive map.
Texas Parks and Wildlife staff members are participating in this multi-agency project which also includes U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S.G.S., Caddo Lake Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.