Bay Natchez — A quick trip into Bay Natchez and you'll soon notice the water, gets rough from all the Giant Salvinia. This little plant, is costing the state big bucks -- $8 million a year -- as the plant spreads at a rapid pace. And the warm winter from Mother Nature, was no help.
"This year, with a mild winter, I'm expecting it to be a little worse," said Jonathan Winslow, a biologist with Wildlife and Fisheries. "For sure."
The Salvinia blocks sunlight from the water. Microscopic algae produce oxygen in the water. They die with no sunlight. In turn, the fish die with no oxygen, and this floating water fern, spreads like the plague.
"If left unattended, it has the ability to double its bio-mass every 5-7 days," Winslow said.
The Salvinia is native to Brazil. There's no telling how it ended up in Louisiana. But one way to cut down on the rapid spread in our state is a basic for all boaters.
"A lot of ways it goes from water-body to water-body, it gets picked up on trailers," Winslow said.
Boaters should clean trailers and boats after every trip, in the water.
State officilas said they are fighting the Giant Salvinia by using both chemicals and insects that eat away at the plant. They also said they are constantly researching other ways to kill the invasive species.