Gov. Rick Perry today urged boaters to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the invasive giant salvinia plant in Texas lakes. This exotic plant clings to boats, motors and trailers, and is usually spread unknowingly by people moving their boats from lake to lake.
"Texans need to be aware of the threat from giant salvinia, and active in its management," Gov. Perry said. "If we don't get a handle on it and the other invasive species that are working their way into our ecosystem, the Texas we know and love will be changed forever, and not for the better."
A native of Brazil, giant salvinia is a floating, rootless fern that can double its coverage area in less than a week. Left unchecked, the plant can potentially devastate lake ecosystems and tourism economies by choking off boating and fishing access to an entire lake, clogging power plant water intakes, and displacing beneficial native plants needed by fish. Because of the plant's rapid growth rate, herbicides and mechanical methods are impractical and costly temporary measures.
"Not only is giant salvinia imperiling the ecology of our Texas lakes, it's threatening the economies of lakeside communities that depend on fishing, boating and tourism," Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith said.
Transporting giant salvinia or other invasive species is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation. To prevent the spread of the plant, boaters are encouraged to learn to identify and report giant salvinia and other invasive aquatic species, clean boats, trailers and gear, and place plant material in a trash can before leaving a boat ramp area.
Boaters may report sightings of giant salvinia at email@example.com or (409) 384-9965.
For more information about giant salvinia and other invasive species, please visit