Invasive Species Awareness Week: Giant Salvinia

Not every exotic species becomes a danger when introduced. Most cause no harm or simply fail to thrive. But the 15% that do reproduce and spread rapidly become known as invasive species. Whether you’re a landowner, suburbanite or city-dweller, invasive species will impact you – even if you never realize it.

$137 billion is spent annually to prevent, monitor and control invasive species spread in the U.S. And while it’s tempting to picture that as giant snakes in the Florida Everglades or the northern snakehead in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, here in Texas we have our fair share of invasive species that are equally problematic.

This week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week, a nationwide push to raise awareness of how people can prevent the spread of invasive species and protect their natural ecosystems.  

How can you help?

Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Alerts for Texas by region can be found at

One invasive species you might not know about if you never visit a Texas waterway is Giant Salvinia. 

Salvinia molesta is a South American native that floats in large chains. Because it lacks roots, it can form dense mats that block sunlight from reaching native aquatic species, and its large leaves reduce oxygen levels in the water as they decay. Entire water surfaces can become covered, irrigation pipes blocked, recreational fishing, boating and waterfowl hunting all impacted by its spread.

Giant Salvinia was initially used as an aquarium plant and for decorative water gardens. It was first found outside landscape cultivation in Texas in 1997 and continues to spread throughout the eastern region of the state. 

More reading on Giant Salvinia in Texas:

If you want to learn more about how you can make a difference, share this post and invite your friends to subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!

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