Many of our lakes are plagued with overgrowth like salvinia. Do you have any ideas on how to address the problem?
Managing the damage and threats of salvinia, which is actually a fern plant, is under the control of other executive departments, including, but not limited to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
My horticulture and quarantine staff at the Department of Agriculture and Forestry is closely involved with the Sabine River Authority at Toledo Bend and other governing bodies of lakes and rivers throughout the state to combat invasive species like salvinia. I don't believe there is one blanket solution for all bodies of water; instead I believe my office, other state agencies and local authorities should continue working together to come up with the best possible solution for a particular body of water. In conjunction with the LSU AgCenter and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, we have introduced the salvinia weevil in canals and other bodies of water where Giant Salvinia is known to occur. These releases have shown some success and we are continuing to work together on these efforts. At some lakes and rivers, best management practices have also been implemented that include asking boaters and fishermen to wash their boats and trailers as they load up to leave a boat launch. This keeps boats and trailers from transporting invasive species plants from one body of water to another. In severe cases, lakes have been drained, herbicides applied and the lake later refilled. Again, I think it is imperative that we continue basing our decisions on sound science and what is best for a specific body of water rather than trying to make on solution fit every situation.