Giant salvinia makes a comeback in South Mississippi

The nuisance plant has died off a bit over the last few days due in part to the work done by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and a new herbicide.

Giant salvinia makes a comeback in South Mississippi

GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - The giant salvinia has returned to South Mississippi. Also known as koi candy, the invasive weed is lurking in Jackson County bayous.

Over the week, the situation has gotten considerably better due in part to the work done by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. A new herbicide now being sprayed on the vegetation is more successful than previous options, but the fight isn’t over yet, and you can help.

“It has been growing for the last couple of years and we’ve been trying to fight it back,” said Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins. “We’ve tried everything that we can. We were using a herbicide, basically like RoundUp. We would go in, spray it, kill it, and break it back. It was working great. When we had a break, back when everybody had to stay at home for about 2-3 weeks, it started spreading tremendously,” Spraggins said.

Giant Salvina Management

East winds from the tropical storm in the Gulf have pushed Giant Salvinia into the western most parts of Jackson County’s waterways. Our Invasive Species staff continues to combat this invasive plant on the Mississippi Gulf Coast through monitoring and management. This week we focused on spraying salvinia in Jackson County’s waters including, Bayou Pierre, Sioux Bayou, City Park Boat Ramp, Mary Walker Bayou and canals near Huck’s Cove.

Posted by Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on Friday, July 24, 2020

“So now we’re using a new herbicide that’s given to us from Mississippi State; it’s called Clipper. Just a little bit of it, like two ounces of it, you can put it in and it will cut back on what we have to use as much as 75%. It’s doing great right now. The problem is rain. When it rains we have to have x-amount of hours before it rains, to spray it, or else it will just wash right off,” Spraggins said.

It was pretty bad last year, Spraggins said, because of the freshwater intrusion due to the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. However, freshwater isn’t the only reason the intrusive weed creeps back into South Mississippi waters.

“The wind speed and direction also matters. For example, we had that tropical depression that came in over the weekend and it pushed it back into the bayous, the Sioux Bayou and the Mary Walker Bayou. Now it’s more contained. That’s good for us,” Spraggins said. “It’s not good for the people there that have to deal with it, but we can go in with it contained and spray it and have a better chance of killing it.”

While it’s not impossible, there are ways of transplanting this aquatic plant into areas that are not yet affected.

“If you have a boat, when you’re in that area and you pull your boat out, if you will rinse that boat off, the motor, and rinse it out, it will help keep from carrying it somewhere else,” Spraggins told WLOX.

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