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Herbicides sprayed almost daily to manage Cross Lake salvinia - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Herbicides sprayed almost daily to manage Cross Lake salvinia

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Salvinia isn't much of a problem on Cross Lake's open waters, but on the lake's west side, among the cypress trees, the water can disappear under a thick green blanket of the weed. It's there to stay, but the city can manage the growth. They do so with herbicide and lots of it. Business at Johnston Fishing Camp on the lake isn't so good since salvinia took over the waters.

"It's gotten so bad that we don't have very much business," Jim Steward says. He manages the place. "It's got our boat stalls closed in. The fishermen don't want to come out and launch their boats in it, it's so bad."

Steward doesn't mind if the city sprays the herbicide glyphosate to manage the weed. Officials say that's the best way to handle it.

"If it works, they need to put more of it because every day there's more and more out here," Steward said.

Edko, which the city contracts to manage salvinia, says they try to spray 5 or 6 days a week at around $100 an acre. Glyphosate, their weapon of choice, is same stuff found in the herbicide RoundUp, only its modified for aquatic use. The EPA says it doesn't pose much of a risk to humans or animals, but it does to plants besides salvinia. Ricky Kilpatrick, a LSU forestry agent, says spraying shouldn't kill the lake's cypress trees.

"No, it won't hurt the cypress trees," Kilpatrick said. "Now, if you got up in the needles of the trees and sprayed the green foliage it would, but it's not going to hurt the trunk or the base of the tree."

The city is trying a more natural method to handle the weed. Kilpatrick says the local LSU Ag center has introduced a weevil that eats salvinia.

"Some of our research entomologists have been raising and trying to reproduce these weevils that attack salvinia in it's natural range," Kilpatrick said. "They're working with the city to release them, and there are some that have been released. They will continue to do that."

Salivina can grow at an astonishing rate. It can double its coverage area in 36 hours, according to LSU Ag center. That makes it very hard to control.

 

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