Giant Salvinia Moves Deeper into Toledo Bend Reservoir

Media Contact: Howard Elder, (409) 384-9965; icle__media__contact">Media Contact: Howard Elder, (409) 384-9965;

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Runoff from recent rains flushes plants into main lake.

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ATHENS, Texas — A ribbon of giant salvinia and water hyacinth 200 to 300 yards wide and more than a mile long is floating down the middle of Toledo Bend Reservoir.

"Runoff from the recent rains flushed the plants out of shallow areas on the upper portion of the reservoir that normally act as nursery areas and are inaccessible to most conventional treatment, and they are moving south," said Howard Elder, aquatic vegetation biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). "It’s what we feared would happen."

Being located in the open reservoir actually makes the plants more accessible to spraying with herbicides.

Elder is moving as quickly as possible to survey the extent of the infestation and acquire sufficient herbicide to treat the area. "We use glyphosate, which is the safest herbicide we can use," he said. "However, we will not treat any location that is within two miles of an intake for a potable water supply."

Elder is treating the situation as an emergency and will hire a contractor to apply the herbicide by helicopter as soon as possible.

"It usually takes about two weeks for effects of treatment to become readily visible," he said. "We do want the public and all the water suppliers who take water from the lake to be aware of this action."

Elder can be reached at (409) 384-9965.