Giant Salvinia strikes Reservoir again, solutions being discussed to eradicate it


RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Giant Salvinia is a nasty weed that spreads like underwater bamboo, and the Pearl River Water Supply board members are doing their best to rid the Ross Barnett Reservoir of it.

The board has taken several measures in an attempt to completely wipe out any giant salvinia presence in the Rez. They have another solution in mind, but not everyone is pleased with it.

In mid-October, the Ross Barnett Reservoir was deemed Salvinia-free, but  since then, the plant has made a reappearance.

John Sigman, the General Manager of the Pearl River Water Supply District, explained that they are running out of time. “If we don’t make this one last attempt, we don’t have any attempts left,” Sigman said. “We felt like maybe there would be a chance that there’d be some more pockets that we didn’t find. We raised the lake, and indeed there were pockets and that flushed out. So, we began attacking that with spray, with booms, with additional pickups and all the techniques that we have. Now, we’ve got to decide what to do for the long range.”

The Parks Policy Committee made a recommendation to the Board of the Pearl River Water Supply District Sigman said it could be their last hope.

“That recommendation was to continue the fight for eradication,” Sigman explained. “[That] involves lowering the lake significantly — more than we have before — lowering the lake four feet from where it is now.”

While this may be necessary, it will not be ideal for organizations like the Jackson Yacht Club.

Robert Muller, the club’s Vice Commodore, explained that the water level this proposal entails will not suffice for large boat owners and leave them with their hands tied.

“We understand the need,” Muller said. “We need to get rid of this plant, but it seems like a drastic measure that will impact a lot of people who have no other option. What are they supposed to do?”

Sigman said they need to act fast.

The board will vote to make the final decision on Thursday morning.

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