The aquatic fern Salvinia, originally from Brazil, was first spotted by neighbors Bob and Pam Warren who contacted Raymond Kahaunaele of the Kauai Invasive Species Committee in September. Without heavy winter rains the weed has enjoyed unusually favorable growing conditions. A battle plan is being developed beginning with a physical accessment of the river today, Monday February 29th. by KNA representatives, neighbors and the KISC. A volunteer weeding effort may be neccessary as well as state approved herbicide applications. Stay tuned for a call to the boats!
The problem fern is Salvinia molesta, once commonly used in aquarium settings, but so aggressive an invader that it is now on the federal noxious weed list. It is illegal to possess the plant in the United States. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has referred to it as “possibly the world’s worst weed.” The fern is free-floating, and while it is sterile, it reproduces readily from fragments. And that’s the problem. Salvinia under good conditions can double its water coverage in just two to three days.
Salvinia is a severe threat to fresh waterways. Reference the incidence with Oahu’s Lake Wilson, which was 90% covered by salvinia growth in a matter of months.