Giant Salvinia Invading Caddo Lake – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]


[rain] Well, let’s pull in another
hole or two. IT’S A RAINY DAY ON
CADDO LAKE. We’ll follow you. Here we go. [airboat starts] AND BIOLOGISTS ARE
ON THE HUNT. We’re going back towards the
state line right now and I’m pretty sure we’re going
to find it down there. WHAT THEY’RE AFTER IS
A SMALL PLANT… We’re looking for Giant Salvinia. ONE LITTLE PLANT WITH
A BIG, BAD REPUTATION. There’s a piece right yonder. -That’s it.
-Yeah Not very big yet. This one little thing here can expand
into acres and acres and acres. That’s why they call it the
world’s worst weed. [music] GIANT SALVINIA, HYDRILLA AND WATER HYACINTH, LIGUSTRUM AND SALT CEDAR, THESE INVADING PLANTS
ARE ALL EXOTIC AND GROW OUT-OF-BALANCE
WITH NATIVE PLANTS. This is parrot feather. It’s a native to South America and, as you can see, once it
gets in these bodies of water, it will completely take over. It’s a very attractive plant visually, but in South America it fits in with
the natural ecosystem. Here it does not. [chain saw] Once salt cedar at a time. FROM WEST TEXAS DESERT
TO EAST TEXAS LAKES, INVASIVE PLANTS ARE CAUSING PROBLEMS
FOR NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS. AND BIOLOGISTS LIKE TIM BISTER ARE FIGHTING BACK. Almost looks like you could walk
across it, doesn’t it? CADDO LAKE IS NO STRANGER
TO INVADING EXOTIC PLANTS. This is hydrilla here, probably the most abundant
invasive on the lake right next to the water hyacinth. BUT THERE IS A NEW VISITOR
FROM SOUTH AMERICA, GIANT SALVINIA. See that plant right there? IT HAS EVERYONE CONCERNED. Looks like it. -Right here?
-Yeah. Yep. Sure is. We kind of figured it was going to
eventually get here and it did. CHANCES ARE, GIANT SALVINIA
CAME TO CADDO BY BOAT TRAILER, What do you think about
that one? AND WAS FIRST BROUGHT TO THE STATES BY SOMEONE WHO JUST
THOUGHT IT WAS PRETTY. BUT A PRETTY PLANT AWAY FROM
NATURAL PREDATORS CAN QUICKLY BECOME A
PRETTY BIG PROBLEM. Doing our best to keep it out of the
Texas side of Caddo Lake. Salvinia is the latest one
and it’s by far the worst. I think everybody that lives
on the lake should take up a very big interest in it. FOR LAKE COMMUNITIES THE STAKES ARE VERY HIGH. I have 2 tourism-based
businesses on this lake. [traffic noise] THE LOCAL ECONOMY HERE REVOLVES
AROUND FISHING, BOATING, AND TOURISM, ALL OF WHICH ARE THREATENED
BY GIANT SALVINIA. This was one of the first areas
that it came to. ON THE LOUISIANA SIDE
OF CADDO LAKE, THE INVASION IS UNDERWAY. It looks like all this brown area,
the State of Louisiana might have been out here doing
some herbicide spraying, which is good. It just grows so fast and to be
on top of it all the time, it’s just a… it’s an uphill battle. Been described as the worst aquatic
plant in the world and doubles in size in a week. and it blocks out the sunshine. It takes
oxygen out of the water. All everything just is gone.
It’s the only thing that survives It’s the type of thing that can just
completely kill a lake like Caddo. The water’s a little higher
than last time. It was trying to come back.
We’ll go see what’s in there. KEN SHAW AND JACK CANSON ARE ALSO DETERMINED TO
SAVE THIS LAKE. Can you nose that way
a little, Kenny? THE SMALLEST PIECE OF THIS PLANT
CAN START A WHOLE NEW COLONY. SO TO KEEP FLOATING
SALVINIA IN LOUISIANA FROM CREATING NEW
PROBLEMS IN TEXAS, A LOCAL COALITION IS
TRYING SOMETHING BOLD. The western half of the lake
right now is not infected and we want to keep it that way. THIS GROUP IS BUILDING A
FENCE ACROSS CADDO LAKE. We’re running 2 miles of rope,
2 miles of netting and we’re installing over
500 posts. I guess you could call it
a major experiment. There are no 100% guarantees with
it but on the other hand, we don’t see that we have a choice. THE BARRICADES SHOULD SLOW
THE PLANT’S ADVANCE BUT ONLY TIME WILL TELL. We’re prepared to fail here and there but we’re not prepared to lose the
war against Giant Salvinia because we didn’t try something. [anchor] It’s a nasty problem
killing life in the water. Tonight NBC’s Don Teague tells
us about 1 community that’s refusing to go down
without a fight. [reporter] You’re looking at an
act of desperation… NBC Nightly News came down
and did a story on it. It’s because of this fence. [reporter] It spreads from lake
to lake by boat trailers and has now infested more than
50 lakes from Virginia to California. and for now the future of
Caddo Lake hangs on 2 miles of
orange netting. AFTER WEATHERING 1 GROWING SEASON THE SALVINIA BARRIER
SEEMS TO HAVE HELPED. Without all the efforts that have
gone on this year on Caddo Lake, it could be a lot worse. Definitely opens eye when somebody
comes out here to the lake and sees this big orange fence, getting the public aware. We should constantly be
on the lookout. Eduation goes hand in hand
with prevention. [Jack] It makes people realize that
this is a serious problem otherwise no one would let those fools build that fence across this lake. And we feel like we are stopping some major infestations
from happening. UNFORTUNATELY, A GOOD YEAR
OF FIGHTING ONE INVASIVE DOES NOT MEAN SUCCESS
WITH THEM ALL. [Jack] It’s ironic in some ways
that we’re also having the worst year for water hyacinth in anyone
down here’s memory. BY LATE 2007, THOUSANDS OF
ACRES OF CADDO ARE COVERED. [Tim] The water hyacinth really
has taken off this year. IT’S BAD NEWS FOR BIODIVERSITY, BAD FOR BOATERS AND FOR THEIR MOTORS. With some herbicide treatments you can
keep these boat roads open. With a lot of the efforts going
towards Giant Salvinia, it’s taken away some efforts
from water hyacinth. It’s a manpower issue and
it’s also a money issue. You know, herbicides aren’t cheap but you also have to have
the staff to apply it. AQUATIC HERBICIDES MAY BE
PREFERABLE TO INVASIVE PLANTS BUT CHEMICALS ARE JUST ONE OPTION. [Howard Elder] We would rather not use
herbicides if we can help it. This is alligator weed. In the summertime, it will
increase to the point to where you could not move
a boat through it. TO COMBAT INVASIVE ALLIGATOR WEED, BIOLOGISTS ENLIST A TINY ARMY. Those are alligator weed flea beetles. We’re actually introducing insects
that are the natural predators and we want to employ them
as much as possible. That green spot right there
looks like the best. The danger of course is you’re introducing
an exotic to control an exotic. BUT THESE BUGS ARE NOT RELEASED
WITHOUT EXTENSIVE TESTING. They have been approved by the USDA
as bio-control agents. We can be reasonably confident that they are not going to
impact the environment or the ecology where
they are placed. -We can come back and check them.
-Okay. See how they’re doing. We’ve come a long way in
bio-control efforts. We don’t expect them to
eradicate the plant but we do expect them
to reduce it. AND OTHER BIO-CONTROLS ARE
BEING DEVELOPED… You can see these scars on the leaf
doing a little bit for us. EVEN FOR THE WORST INVADERS. With Giant Salvinia, I am
very optimistic. We’ve seen really good results
with the weevil. AT AN ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
LAB NORTH OF DALLAS, BIOLOGISTS ARE STUDYING
A TINY WEEVIL THAT MAY HELP KEEP GIANT
SALVINIA IN CHECK. In a lot of areas where it has
been released, it has gone in there and it has done
an excellent job of controlling and eventually they decimate
the Giant Salvinia. Look at the damage! You’ll never eradicate it but I think it gives us a
management tool. They are just feeding like crazy. BUT THE BEST TOOL TO MANAGE
INVASIVE PLANTS MAY SIMPLY BE EDUCATION. One of the most important things is
public awareness and public involvement. We assume that many of these plants
made it into the United States through the aquarium trade or perhaps through the water
garden trade. Check your boat trailers,
check your boats, you know, so that you don’t spread this
somewhere else. WHILE THE STRUGGLE AGAINST
INVASIVE PLANTS CONTINUES FOR THE FOLKS
AT CADDO LAKE, THEIR DEDICATION ALSO ENDURES. We’re very fortunate up here
at Caddo Lake to have these people that
care about the lake. Caddo is that important. It’s more important than
any of the rest of us. All of the entities that have anything
to do with Caddo Lake, they understand this is a
fight we can’t lose. We’ve got to all pull together
and we’re doing it.

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