Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011TX398B

Evaluation of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) as a Biocontrol Agent for Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta)

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $4,136 Total Non-Federal Funds: $13,737

Principal Investigators: Michael Neisch, Michael Masser

Abstract: Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) is an invasive, introduced aquatic macrophyte that has quickly established itself in Texas waters. Listed as one of the most problematic aquatic plants by the state, giant salvinia is a floating weed capable of doubling in size in a week. It replaces native aquatic plants that provide food and habitat for invertebrates and fish and grows to such high densities that it blocks sunlight and reduces dissolved oxygen concentrations to dangerously low levels. Mats of giant salvinia become so thick that it is nearly impenetrable by boat and it easily clogs agricultural intake pipes for irrigation. First identified in 1998 in the Houston area, giant salvinia has since become established in Lake Conroe, Toledo Bend Reservoir, Caddo Lake, and at least 8 other Texas impoundments. This research will greatly aid in evaluating grass carp as a potential biocontrol mechanism for giant salvinia. They have the potential to be significantly less expensive, as well as requiring less maintenance and fewer ecological side effects than other control options.