TVA officials remove invasive Salvinia fern from Lake Guntersville

TVA removes invasive weeds from Lake Guntersville

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - TVA officials set sail to remove an invasive weed from Lake Guntersville.

For the first time, the Salvinia fern made an appearance on Lake Guntersville.

“Once this gets into the lake the wind moves it around. We were over in short creeks this morning and there are mats about a mile and a half over there. So, this could have come in by accidental dumping of an aquarium, pond reservoir or a boat,” said TVA Aquatic Plant Biologist, Dr. David Webb.

The fern is from South America and reproduces from spores. It can form dense vegetation mats and reduce water flow and oxygen that affects fishing.

Dr. Webb said for the past month they have been using herbicide treatments to remove it.

He said it could take up to a few days for the treatment to remove the fern, but it is scattered over 6 miles of lake right now.

“It will occupy a spot here and whatever is under it won’t grow. It will make such a map it will shade it out," said Webb.

TVA workers are also keeping an eye on other non-native species, including the Cuban bulrush and water hyacinth.

“We go out and look for certain colonies of it then we spot treat it. We try not to treat the native species around, but we really target this plant," said TVA Manager of Natural Resource Management West Operations, David Brewster.

TVA officials said they encourage residents who would like to get rid of their plants to not throw them into a reservoir, but dispose them by burning them or sending them to the landfill to help reduce growth.

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