TOLEDO BEND (KPLC) - Aerial spraying for giant salvinia is complete at the Toledo Bend Reservoir, according to Ashley C. Wethey, spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The spraying began on Nov. 29.
Wethey said officials did not get the desired coverage within the first two days of spraying due to time spent "ferrying" to different areas. She said the cold temperatures also did not allow officials to start spraying until mid-morning.
"However, because there was a significant amount of salvinia on the Texas side of the north end of the lake, we decided to do two more days of aerial spraying. Those applications were done on December 11 and 12. In the four days of helicopter spraying, we treated approximately 1,250 acres of giant salvinia," Wethey said. "The areas that were treated during the first application were already brown, and the coverage was thinning."
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries contracted the aerial herbicide application earlier this year. According to a news release from the department, efforts concentrated on shallow backwater areas void of trees, and follow-up herbicide spraying via airboats for tree-filled waters and edges of the treatment area.
Officials say that giant salvinia is a free floating plant that does not attach to the soil, but instead remains buoyant on the surface of a body of water. It was reportedly first discovered on Toledo Bend in 1998 and was the first established population of the plant in Louisiana.
According to officials, the recent drought and resulting extremely low water levels helped to keep giant salvinia growth at a minimum. However, water levels are beginning to return to normal, providing lots of open water for the plants to reproduce.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting many of Louisiana's abundant natural resources.