LAKE FORK – The presence of invasive giant salvinia has been found on a popular area lake. The plant has been confirmed at three locations on Lake Fork, the largest total infestation ever found on the lake. Twelve to 15 acres of the plant have been found. John Findeisen, leader of the Brookeland Aquatic Invasive Species team said, “There’s enough giant salvinia scattered throughout the lake that eradication would be almost impossible at this point.” About 90% of the infestation, about 10 acres, is confined to White Oak Creek behind a containment boom. But the other scattered plants confirmed along the highway 17 bridge at Fisherman’s Cove Boat Ramp, and directly across from White Oak Creek cannot be contained to their current locations.
In addition to placing the containment boom around the White Oak Creek infestation, TPWD staff will be conducting chemical treatment on the other giant salvinia mats. Because the giant salvinia cannot be contained and will only be maintained at the lake, TPWD will not be treating the giant salvinia patches currently mixed in with native emergent plants.
Judging by the distribution and age of the plants, it is apparent the giant salvinia at White Oak Creek has been in place for at least 8-10 months, Findeisen said. As is the case for other introductions in East Texas, the plants were most likely introduced to the lake by boat trailer. Boaters should remember to clean their boats and trailers before leaving the boat ramp. Transporting giant salvinia, along with other invasive species, is prohibited by law and punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation. Boaters and property owners are urged to clean, drain, and dry their boats and trailers in between trips and to report additional infestations outside of the affected areas.