Texas Parks & Wildlife: Giant Salvinia found at Lake Athens, Lake Gilmer

Great Salvinia

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed the resurgence of giant Salvinia on Lake Athens and Lake Gilmer following a survey. This aquatic fern causes big problems for boaters and wildlife.

Giant Salvinia is currently one of the most dangerous invasive aquatic plants in Texas that doubles in size if left untreated after a week. This resurgence was found on Lake Athens on September 16th. Salvinia was also found at the boat ramps of Lake Gilmer.

Frequent boater Martin Rejcek explained how this species affects his time out on the lake.

“Well, you’re going to try and avoid that area if all possible, and you have to drain the boat when you leave, make sure you don’t have any water left in there and clean the boat real well and the trailer also," Rejcek said.

Rejcek visits lake Athens five times a year, and he described the scope of the plant.

“You can contaminate the rest of the area if you pick any of it up," Rejcek said. "It’s a really fast-growing vine, and it will spread really fast.”

Salvinia is a major threat to aquatic ecosystems and produces thick mats that make boating, fishing, and swimming nearly impossible.

Boaters need to remove all plants, mud, and debris from boats to prevent giant Salvinia

“We’re going to wipe the boat down before we leave, and make sure the water is drained out, just to make sure its clean and nothing left on the trailer," Rejcek said.

Washing the boat can reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species

“If you take that Salvinia from this lake and go to another lake, you’re going to contaminate that lake," Rejcek said.

The team monitoring the aquatic vegetation says the warm winter and prime growing conditions in the spring and summer contributed to the expansion of Salvinia in lakes where Salvinia has been present.

The Parks and Wildlife Department said later this week, they will conduct a more comprehensive survey of lake Gilmer.

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