Take a Walk in the Wildlife

Feb 28, 2018

The Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is having Forester Chris Foster lead the Invasive Species Walk and Talk Saturday, March 2 from 10-2.

Chris Foster, a forester at the North Louisiana Refuges Complex, is hosting the walk and talk to raise awareness about the invasive species present in the Northeast Louisiana region. Many people know about the kudzu issue, but there are several other species threatening local waterways and plant life.

One invasive species which poses a threat to the integrity and structure of lakes and waterways is the Giant Salvinia. This aquatic fern is extremely aggressive and has the potential to double in size over the course of about four days. It first appeared in the Black Bayou Lake about 4-5 years ago. "We thought we had it under control, and then about two years ago when we had the last big flood event in 2016, it really took off on the lake," states Foster.

While pretty, Giant Salvinia is extremely aggressive and can double in size over the course of four days.
Credit Florida Fish and Wildlife, flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The main way Giant Salvinia spreads is by getting caught on the side or underside of a boat. The fern can survive for weeks on minimal amounts of moisture and can spread anywhere there is water. The best possible procedure for removing any possible traces of Giant Salvinia is to thoroughly clean out the underside of the exposed boat and trailer.

Like many invasive species, the Giant Salvinia made its way into the local waterways as an ornamental plant. Because of its appearance, the fern is often used in fishbowls. The plant was possibly dumped into a waterway from a fishbowl, where it then made its way into the local waterways.

More information about National Invasive Species Awareness Week is available here. More information about Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is available here and on Facebook.