Giant salvinia is a highly invasive species attacking Texas lakes and rivers. This free-floating aquatic fern is basically an environmental “bully.” It can double in size in less than a week, forming mats three feet thick! It crowds out native plants that provide food and habitat for local fish and birds. It makes boating, swimming, and fishing nearly impossible. Follow this link to see infested waters, report a giant salvinia sighting, and sign up for updates and news about giant salvinia.
Another species invading Texas is water hyacinth. Like giant salvinia, it forms huge mats that clog the water and impede recreation. These mats can cover the entire surface of a water body, causing oxygen depletion, which can be deadly to fish. Water hyacinth takes up water and evaporates it through its leaves at a rate of 3-12 times that of open water. In other words, it would be better to let the blazing Texas sun evaporate the water than allow this hyacinth plant to grow here. This map shows where water hyacinth is found in Texas.
Zebra mussels are small, bivalve, freshwater shellfish. They’re particularly bad because they cause extensive economic, recreational, and ecological damage to any body of water they invade. These mussels reproduce rapidly and have no natural predators.
Zebra mussels can clog drinking water systems’ intake pipes by forming colonies and can also cause problems for native wildlife. They filter and eat the beneficial algae that native species use for food while rejecting the blue-green algae that can build up and cause harmful algae blooms.
Their sharp edges can also create dangerous footing in places people swim and recreate. Stepping on a zebra mussel colony hurts! Use this map to see where zebra mussels are located.