East Texans battling "the world's worst weed"

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

CADDO LAKE, TX (KLTV) - It's deemed "the world's worst weed"...Giant Salvinia.

"It's not good for wild life or man," said John Sanders.

It's making its mark on a national treasure lake that John Sanders grew up on and still lives on today.

"We used to swim here it was nice," said Sanders, "but it's very unpleasant to be on the bottom of the lake or to swim in the lake anymore."

Since 2006, Salvinia has literally invaded Caddo Lake, but Sanders is using his mechanical harvester machine...

"...to cut that stuff that's attached to the bottom," said Sanders.

The mechanical harvester cuts the root of Salvinia. The machine also picks up the sludge which is decomposed organic material.

"There's your sludge...why the fish can't live on the lake anymore," explained Sanders.

Lake preserver, Jake Canson with the Caddo Lake Institute agrees harvesting is the way to go.

"If nothing else, it can keep boat roads open," said Canson. "Where, as if a boat roads blocked and you spray herbicide on it, you got to wait five or six days before there's ever any an effect."

While Lake Preservers use the harvester to fight Salvinia, Texas Parks and Wildlife is using herbicide.

"We've mobilized all of our herbicide spray crews that are scattered out around the state," said Craig Bonds, the regional director of the Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries. "We have three air boats out here."

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a goal.

"[We want to] reduce the coverage of Giant Salvinia from it's current 1,000 acres down to as low as we can get it," said Bonds. "We know we're not going to eradicate it, we're just trying to get back down to a more manageable level."

The clean-up will take about two weeks to complete. Texas Parks and Wildlife urges the public to inspect and clean your boats and trailers every time you enter or leave the water that way you won't spread Salvinia to other places.

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