Farm in Argyle awash as demand for aquatic plants bubbles forth

11:00 AM CDT on Sunday, June 22, 2008

By Lori Forgay/Staff Writer

When it’s harvest time on Joe Snow’s 5-acre property in Argyle, it can mean gathering tens of thousands of aquatic plants.

“We harvest large numbers of plants for some of these projects — 50,000 to 60,000,” said Snow.

His plants are used for a wide variety of projects.

DRC/Barron Ludlum

DRC/Barron Ludlum

Joe Snow sits among aquatic plants at his farm in Argyle.

“Native aquatic plants have a lot of beneficial functions in the ecosystem,” he said, adding that they help improve water quality, control erosion and provide nutrients. “We try to put in a diversity of plants … a whole host of native aquatic plants.”

Snow has worked with the University of North Texas as a research scientist contractor to the U.S. Corps of Engineers at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research facility. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in environmental science, both from UNT.

Snow also has participated in habitat restoration projects for reservoirs, rivers and other aquatic ecosystems across the nation, including a local wetland reclamation project in Gainesville.

“He’s a good propagator of plants,” said Aaron Goldstein of Gold Construction and Landscape, who has known of Snow and his aquatic plants for more than a decade, and is working with him on two upcoming projects in Athens and Lantana.

“He’s done it so long; he knows what he’s doing,” Goldstein said.

Snow is a member of the Aquatic Plant Management Society and the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration. He has worked with municipalities, state agencies, water districts, and commercial and individual clients.

He has also designed water gardens at Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas and will be a supplier for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, which is now under construction.

With a wide slate of projects, Snow says he and his employees stay busy.

“We get muddy around here,” said Mary E. Smith, one of Snow’s employees, while her feet were immersed in a partially cleared rectangle bed that was a mixture of water, mud and duck potato — a spreading aquatic plant that grows from tuber-bearing roots.

Smith, an herbalist, and her daughter, Heather Taylor, an aromatherapist, were working to get the duck potatoes ready for customers.

During the busy harvest season, work is plentiful.

“It’s ongoing,” Snow said, laughing.

“It never ends,” Smith said.

But when working with the plants, Smith said, “we forget time.”

Joe Snow Aquatic Plants

Where: 11141 S. Hunter Hill Court in Argyle

Contact: 940-390-7053

LORI FORGAY can be reached at 940-566-6845. Her e-mail address is lforgay@dentonrc.com.