NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Lake Nacogdoches has now become the fifth lake in Texas, since September, to be infested with Giant Salvinia. Experts found that the invasive plant covered almost 30 acres of the reservoir.
John Fendeisen is a part of the aquatic habitat enhancement team at the East Texas State Hatchery, who have been the key players in controlling the infestation in Nacogdoches.
"One acre can become two acres, in a week," Fendeisen said. "And, that could become four. And, it's just exponential growth, on it. We've had them in the lakes before, but it's been an isolated population, where we've been able to go in and remove that plant from it. But, now it's so big and so vast that eradication of the plant out of these new lakes is virtually impossible."
Because the plant grows so thickly, it blocks out life-giving sunlight to fish and plant life below, causing an increase in the death of native species.
"But, it also grows vertically," Fendeisen said. "You can get one inch of Salvinia, but I've seen it as thick as five inches, on Caddo Lake. It can stop boats to where they just can't get through it.">
The usual prescription of herbicide and Giant Salvinia weevils is in action, but, in Lake Nacogdoches, cutgrass and torpedo grass are acting as a wall against the invasive species.
"They are two other non-native species, but they're actually a benefit right now, in that they're helping prevent the Giant Salvinia from becoming lake wide or widespread," Fendeisen said.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department say that the plant was most likely brought in by a boater, who didn't follow one of the strictest rules of boating: clean, drain, dry.