Lake Nacogdoches' giant salvinia infestation spreads

Updated: Jul. 19, 2018 at 7:09 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (News Release) - The fight against giant salvinia is one shared across East Texas. The invasive species has been clogging lakes for years, including Lake Nacogdoches.

Recently, Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists have noticed the plant spreading.

"We don't want to see the lake taken over by plants that destroy the beauty and the usefulness of the lake," said Phil Herman, a home owner.

Herman has called Lake Nacogdoches home for 10 years and said he keeps a close eye on the water.

This was why he immediately noticed the TPW boat near the giant salvinia.

"We noticed that it had started to spread a little bit from the area where we had seen it last," said Thomas Decker, a TPW invasive species biologist.

The invasive plant was first found earlier this year, but it has since spread from northern parts of the lake.

"Hogs will root around in salvinia that's trapped on the shore after the lake's gone down," Decker said. "And, they get it stuck to themselves, and then they go to the next place. And, they end up putting it in."

The biologists are combating the spread by introducing the plant's natural enemy to the lake. They're called weevils.

"If they actually establish to levels where they'll control it, I think the salvinia is, for the most part, just going to be another thing in the lake, another plant in the lake," Decker said.

But, biologists have a backup plan if the weevils fail.

"If not, we'll continue to monitor it, and if it does require herbicide, we will do that," Deckers said.

What biologists won't be doing is giving up the fight.

"We've always enjoyed the lake," Herman said. "We've always tried to respect it. So, we're happy to see that they're trying to take care of it."

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says that weevil populations take up to two to three years to become stable.

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