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Fighting Salvinia On Caddo Lake

 

Efforts to Fight Salvinia on Caddo Lake Expand

WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 – Uncertain, Texas

Today ground was broken to expand existing Weevil rearing efforts. The Caddo Biocontrol Alliance is doubling capacity to produce weevils that exclusively live in, feed on, and damage the world’s worst aquatic weed – Giant Salvinia. Caddo Lake has been dealing with the invasive species since 2006. Biocontrol efforts, using a natural agent to manage Salvinia, are expanding, with a groundbreaking on new greenhouses being built this Summer.

“We’ve learned a lot about raising these weevils over the past five years,” said Robert Speight, president of the Caddo Biocontrol Alliance (CBA.) “This is a collaborative, multi-pronged approach, where Texas Parks and Wildlife sprays herbicide to kill the plant, and in locations that aren’t right for herbicide, Caddo Biocontrol Alliance uses weevils to reduce the plant’s mass,” according to Speight.

Funds to construct the new greenhouses were provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Cypress Valley Navigation District, and grassroots donors. New laboratory space and additional land to house the expanded efforts were secured by the Caddo Lake Institute’s Chairman of the Board, conservationist, world-renowned musical artist, and East Texas native, Don Henley. Multiple organizations have been instrumental in the success of the Caddo Biocontrol Alliance since its beginning. The Greater Caddo Lake Association of Texas (GCLATx) has a long history of supporting Caddo Lake’s future as well as preserving its past, and provided critical support to Caddo Biocontrol Alliance (CBA.)

In addition to these nonprofit partners, U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert, State Senator Bryan Hughes, State Representative Chris Paddie, and former State Senator Kevin Eltiffe have supported Salvinia management efforts. Also, in support are the Cities of Marshall and Uncertain, Texas, and the Harrison County Commissioners Court. The number of nonprofit and government organizations working together to conserve the unique ecology and economic integrity of Caddo Lake is a testament to how valuable this natural resource, a Wetland of International Importance, is to the region.

Hard freezes in 2017 and high water in 2018 and 2019, have significantly reduced coverage of the plant, along with aggressive herbicide and weevil applications. Currently, 1,000 acres of Caddo are covered with the plant, down from a high of 12,000 acres in 2013. The expansion provides additional resources to stay on top of this challenging situation and maximize chances for success.

For further information contact: Robert Speight, President Caddo Biocontrol Alliance, caddolakeresources@gmail.com or Laura-Ashley Overdyke, Executive Director of the Caddo Lake Institute, lao@caddolakeinstitute.org