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It was something that most sportsmen in North Louisiana were hoping for. Though this year's hard winter freeze brought on it's own set of challenges, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says it really did a number on the invasive salvinia and water hyacinth that has choked most of our local lakes.

While we didn't get the ultimate goal of total eradication, the good news from LDWF is that giant salvinia coverage was reduced by more than 95%. I've personally spent multiple days on Caddo Lake, Cross Lake and Lake Bistineau over the last few weeks and have observed their findings to be accurate.

LDWF biologists, who continue evaluating vegetation coverage after the winter storms, have found varied results throughout the state. Smaller quantities of viable giant salvinia plants have been found in waterbodies where it was previously located.

In north Louisiana, waterbodies such as Turkey Creek Lake, Lake Darbonne and Caney Creek Reservoir are not yet showing signs of active vegetation growth – a positive indicator that there has been an extensive kill of giant salvinia.

Other waterbodies like Caddo Lake, Lake Bistineau, Black Lake and Saline Lake, which had more extensive vegetation accumulations going into the winter, are already showing signs of active vegetation growth. However, much of the previously present giant salvinia has died and fallen out.

There is still some residual dead and dying plant material in some north Louisiana lakes, and it is expected that these aquatic weeds will continue to decompose and sink over the next several weeks.

LDWF biologists will continue to assess lakes statewide. LDWF herbicide spraying crews will target lakes with chronic giant salvinia issues. This will help to maximize the decreased plant coverage that resulted from the winter storms. In addition, the department will continue to use various methods to combat undesirable aquatic vegetation, including drawdowns, biological controls such as salvinia weevils, and private contractor spraying when it becomes necessary and as funding allows.

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