Salvinia again threatens area waterways

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's been called the green monster and it has nothing to do with Halloween. The salvinia is an invasive water weed and it's again threatening area waterways.

It was about then years ago when the Giant Salvina was found at Toledo Bend. The invasive tropical plant can grow to cover forty square miles in about three months.

Recent hurricanes got rid of the water weed but now it's re-appearing according to bass fishing champion Willard Booty who brought his concern to Calcasieu Police Jurors. "It's become a real problem for safety. It's restricting the use of our waterways. It's filled up marshes, it's filled up canals that I know about at the west fork, up Houston River."

Booty says he knows first hand what can happen when a boat tries to maneuver through the thick mess. "We had to push with a 150 horse motor, is all you could do to push through it, from the lower end of Sam Houston State Park to the upper end and then it was spots."

Officials with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries along with LSU Ag center are fighting the salvinia problem. Says Kevin Savoie with LSU Ag Center, "There was an infestation a few years ago in Cameron that I was involved with and they sprayed that plant with herbicides for almost two years and never got full control of it."

Bobby Reed with Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries says it's a challenge: "You can spray the river all day long. The next day the wind shifts or you get a flush of rain and you got a brand new population that comes from the backwater areas back out and it's almost like you're back at square zero. It's very frustrating."

Boaters can help fight the spread by making sure they don't give the water weed a free ride from one waterway to another. The salvinia can't survive in saltwater so a flood that pushes it out or a hard freeze 18 degrees or colder are two natural ways to get rid of it.

Jurors in committee agreed to adopt a resolution supporting measures to rid area waterways of salvinia and debris.

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