We're online!! The Caddo Lake Giant Salvinia Eradication Project is now being prominently displayed on the web. With the addition of this blog and a new facebook page up and running, we hope to better spread the word to the masses about the efforts to kill giant salvinia at Caddo Lake. If you are reading this, then you know how to get to the blog. You can look us up on facebook by searching for "Caddo Lake Giant Salvinia Eradication Project." You can probably find us just by searching for Caddo Lake, but you never know.
If you have been by the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge lately, you may have noticed two really big greenhouses out behind the headquarters. These greenhouses are being used to grow giant salvinia and salvinia weevils year round so that live weevils can be released on Caddo Lake early this spring while giant salvinia is still recovering from the winter.
Each greenhouse has 2 large tanks inside that are 15ft x 48 ft and hold about 6,000 gallons of water. The Karnack Volunteer Fire Department has been great and helped us out with obtaining water from Caddo Lake to fill these tanks. Believe it or not, giant salvinia is actually hard to grow. It just so happens that it really likes the conditions in Caddo Lake.
Salvinia weevils (Crytobagous salviniae) are a biological control agent used to kill giant salvinia. The weevils currently being grown at this facility will be released on to Caddo Lake this spring providing a cost effective mechanism for controlling giant salvinia in those parts of the lake that are off the beaten path.
The weevils themselves are tiny little critters that are barely longer than 2 millimeters or about the width of 2 pennies stacked together. The weevils feed on and lay their eggs in giant salvinia causing damage to the plant. When the eggs hatch, the larve eat their way out of the plant causing further damage to the plant and its eventual demise.
So now that you know what is going on in those greenhouses, stop by the main office and ask for Patrick. If he is there, he will be glad to give you a tour.
Don't forget, you can also check out the project website at: http://cise.tamu.edu/caddo