Friday, November 6, 2009

Giant Salvinia in Toledo Bend

The Plant Doctor, Dennis Franklin, liked to say that a weed was a plant whose value had yet to be discovered. Every plant had some value, he believed; you sometimes just had to look really hard to find it. That's certainly the case with giant salvinia, that whorlly mass that is driving botanists, recreational anglers, swimmers and those who just love being the water, crazy.

Along with the other major waterway pest - water hyacinth - giant salvinia is threatening the quality of life at Toledo Bend Reservoir. The South American native can double in size in as few as 4 days. An aggressive invasive species, giant salvinia can cover the surface of a lake or other still water and choke off the oxygen supply, killing other water plants, and eventually, fish.

Giant salvinia was found in the northern part of Toledo Bend some time back. The recent rains flushed it into the south end. Now, it becomes a battle of wills between the plants and Texas Parks and Wildlife. No matter how much pesticide - or money - you throw at it - a noxious weed has Mother Nature on its side.

Like Dennis, I can admire the plant's structure and strength, but still hope it loses the battle for survival when it shows up in places where it shouldn't be. Sadly, it's one of the facts of life in a global society.

1 comment:

  1. i read where the state was spraying the beds of grass this weekend...but would take a couple of weeks to determine how successful the effort was.... and most of the invasion was on the Texas side of the lake...