FWC News Release
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291; Bekah Nelson, 850-265-3676
Photos at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/albums/72157634108971916

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will treat an invasive aquatic plan known as giant salvinia or salvinia molesta on Deer Point Lake in Bay County. The first treatment will be on March 10, weather permitting, followed by additional treatments as deemed necessary.

Bay County officials in coordination with the FWC will close the North Bayshore Boat Ramp during the treatment to ensure boaters do not spread this plant to other area lakes. The ramp will be closed for a minimum of four weeks and possibly longer. The FWCs Invasive Plant Management Section will treat less than one acre of the lake, as well as a small pond nearby.

Applications of Clipper, Diquat and Penoxulam herbicides will be used in the treatments, and there will be no restrictions on fishing or swimming in treated areas. These herbicides are approved for use in waterways by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There will be temporary irrigation restrictions for seven houses near the boat ramp, and the FWC will contact the residents.

Giant salvinia is native to southeastern Brazil and northern Argentina. It grows year round and has been found in north, central and southwest Florida where the FWC attempts to eradicate it. Giant salvinia grows rapidly and can form dense vegetation mats that reduce water flow and lower the light and oxygen levels in the water. This stagnant, dark environment negatively affects the abundance of freshwater species, including fish and submersed aquatic plants. Giant salvinia invasions can alter wetland ecosystems and cause wetland habitat loss.

With infestations of giant salvinia, there are many potential negative impacts to consider, including impacts on beneficial native fish and wildlife habitat, navigation, flood control, potable and irrigation water supplies, recreation and the aesthetic qualities of lakes. The FWC attempts to balance the needs of users of the lake while managing this invasive exotic species.

For questions about this treatment, contact Derek Fussell, FWC invasive plant management biologist, at 850-510-1224.

For more information about invasive plant management in Florida, go to www.MyFWC.com, click on WildlifeHabitats and then on Invasive Plants.