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MDWFP alert: Invasive plant is spreading

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks’ Fisheries Bureau reports that Giant Salvinia — an aggressive, invasive nonnative plant — has now been found in Lake Okhissa.

It has also been found in Pickwick, Bay Springs, Columbus and Aberdeen Lakes, Ross Barnett Reservoir and the Pascagoula River marsh.

“Since this plant has been found in several lakes at boat ramp sites, we believe that boaters are accidentally introducing it as it washes off their boat trailers,” said Fisheries Biologist Dennis Riecke. “This is a very serious situation because once aquatic invasive species are released into our natural waters, they are very difficult and expensive to control.”

If a water body becomes completely covered with it, boating and fishing becomes impossible.

“Anglers and boaters can help stop the spread of all aquatic plants by inspecting their boats and trailers for aquatic plants after each use,” Riecke added.

It is illegal to release or cause to be released either intentionally or accidentally any aquatic species into the waters of the state. Doing so is a Class 1 violation.