Extreme Winter Weather Will Impact Aquatic Weed Coverage

The recent cold fronts that passed through Louisiana resulted in prolonged periods of sub-freezing temperatures, and single-digit temperatures in some areas. While these extreme conditions had many devastating effects on our state, they will also result in a reduction of aquatic weeds across the state.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is currently evaluating impacts of the freeze on aquatic vegetation coverage statewide and will continue this assessment as we move into the spring. The extent of this impact will not be known for several weeks, as consistently warm water temperatures are needed for the dead plants to decompose and drop from the water surface. Some plants will continue to float and remain green temporarily, but many will eventually die, break down and sink.

Aquatic weeds, such as giant salvinia and water hyacinth, are two of Louisiana’s “invasive species” – organisms that cause ecological and/or economic harm when found in areas where they are not native. This aquatic vegetation can multiply quickly and become incredibly dense, inhibiting access to waterways and shading out native vegetation.

 

 

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