JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Giant Salvinia has now been found in Pickwick, Bay Springs, Columbus, and Aberdeen lakes, the Ross Barnett Reservoir and the Pascagoula River marsh. MDWFP has also reported Giant Salvinia in Lake Okhissa near Bude, MS.
The plant, which is native to Brazil, is capable of spreading rapidly and consumes the light and oxygen in the water where it grows - negatively affecting underwater plants and animals.
If left untouched, Giant Salvinia can soon cover the top of a lake or river, making fishing and boating impossible.
According to Warren Strain with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, millions of dollars have been spent in Louisiana to spray and kill Giant Salvinia populations.
“Since this plant has been found in several lakes at boat ramp sites, we believe that boaters are accidentally introducing it as it washes off their boat trailers,” said Fisheries Biologist Dennis Riecke.
“This is a very serious situation because once aquatic invasive species are released into our natural waters, they are very difficult and expensive to control,” Riecke continued.
Riecke says that anglers and boaters can stop the spread of Giant Salvinia by inspecting their boats and trailers for aquatic plants after each use. Boaters should also always clean, drain and dry their boats and trailers after each use.
Either done accidentally or intentionally, it is illegal to release or cause the release of any aquatic species into the waters of the state. Doing so is a Class 1 violation.
If a boater or angler spots a non-native aquatic species, they are encouraged to contact MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601) 432-2200.