AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) inland fisheries staff found less than 1 acre of invasive giant salvinia in multiple locations at Houston County Lake near Crockett Nov. 8.
After being tipped off to the new infestation on social media, the TPWD Brookeland aquatic habitat enhancement team (AHE) deployed to the reservoir and found the majority of the invasive plant in the south cove with more scattered in areas on the north side of the lake. Those areas will be treated with careful application of contact herbicide on larger mats of the invasive plant.
“All three growth stages were observed during the survey, indicating it is a relatively new infestation,” said Brookeland AHE team lead John Findeisen. “We will begin treating the giant salvinia at the lake in the coming week, but we also need hunters, anglers and all other lake users to help prevent it from spreading further by cleaning, draining and drying boats, trailers and gear every time they leave the water.”
Giant salvinia is currently present on 17 East Texas lakes, including Houston County Reservoir, Caddo Lake, Lake Conroe, B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, Lake Livingston, 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, Hemphill City Lake, and Toledo Bend Reservoir. Additionally, giant salvinia can also be found in most, if not all, of the rivers, creeks, and marshes between Houston and Beaumont.
In addition to harming the recreational experience at lakes and damaging aquatic ecosystems, the transport of aquatic invasive species can result in legal trouble. In Texas, transporting prohibited invasive species is punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation. Boaters are also required to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles before leaving