AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed the presence of common salvinia at Kurth Reservoir near Lufkin after being notified of the presence of the invasive plant by a City of Lufkin employee March 18.
After surveying the reservoir March 19, the TPWD Brookeland Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Team reported three total acres of common salvinia scattered along four sections on the shoreline. TPWD applicators will utilize a contact herbicide to control the common salvinia while minimizing damage to beneficial, non-target vegetation at the lake.
Common salvinia is related to giant salvinia but typically does not grow as large as its more invasive relative. Common salvinia can still create similar access and recreational issues just like giant salvinia, so TPWD will be aggressive with its control efforts at Kurth Reservoir.
This is not the first time invasive species have found their way to Kurth Reservoir. In 2012, water hyacinth was discovered in the canal near the boat ramp. Through TPWD’s rapid response effort the water hyacinth was quickly eradicated and no new infestations have occurred. Hydrilla is also present in Kurth Reservoir but is not problematic.
“As the temperature outside gets warmer we are going to see an increase of both giant and common salvinia growth on infested reservoirs,” said John Findeisen, Brookeland Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Team Lead. “Herbicide treatments will help us control giant and common salvinia on lakes where it has been discovered, but since it spreads easily and quickly we also need lake users to thoroughly clean, drain, and dry their boats and equipment before leaving the boat ramp to prevent new infestations at other East Texas lakes.”
Boaters recreating on any of the 20 lakes infested with giant salvinia or now on Kurth Reservoir, infested with common salvinia, should be particularly vigilant about taking these actions. Other East Texas lakes currently infested with giant salvinia include Lake Athens, Brandy Branch Reservoir, Caddo Lake, Lake Conroe, B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, Lake Fork, Lake Livingston, Martin Creek Reservoir, Lake Murvaul, Lake Nacogdoches, Lake Naconiche, Lake O’ the Pines, Lake Palestine, Lake Raven, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Sheldon Reservoir, Lake Striker, Lake Texana, Lake Timpson, and Toledo Bend Reservoir. Common salvinia can be found on B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir and Sam Rayburn Reservoir as well. Additionally, both common and giant salvinia can be found in many of the numerous creeks, bayous, and rivers along I-10 from Beaumont to Houston and then south to the Brazos River.
All boaters, anglers and lake-front property owners should learn to identify both common and giant salvinia as well as other invasive species that occur in Texas waters. Most importantly, boaters should remember to clean their boats and trailers before leaving the boat ramp. Transporting invasive species, is prohibited by law and punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation.
Anyone who spots this invasive plant should report additional infestations outside of the affected areas by calling (409) 698-9121 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on proper cleaning protocols for boats and equipment, and to learn more about giant salvinia and other invasive species, visit tpwd.texas.gov/giantsalvinia.