The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks’ Fisheries Bureau (MDWFP) reports that Giant Salvinia, an aggressive, invasive nonnative plant, has now been found in Pickwick, Bay Springs, Columbus, Aberdeen Lakes, Ross Barnett Reservoir and the Pascagoula River marsh. Most recently it was found at Lake Okhissa, a US Forest Service lake near Bude, MS.
Related: Salvinia emergency causes boating ban in reservoir
“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.”
Millions of dollars are being spent in Louisiana to spray and kill Giant Salvinia populations. If a water body becomes completely covered with it, boating and fishing become impossible.
“Anglers and boaters can help stop the spread of all aquatic plants by inspecting their boats and trailers for aquatic plants after each use,” Riecke added. “Boaters and anglers should always clean, drain and dry their boating equipment after each use and certainly before traveling to fish or boat at a different location to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.”
It is illegal to release or cause to be released either intentionally or accidentally any aquatic species into the waters of the state, and doing so is a Class 1 violation.
Anglers and boaters are encouraged to report all non-native aquatic species they encounter to the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau. Those seeking additional information may call the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601)-432-2200.
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