ATHENS – In recent weeks, the Inland Fisheries Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) discovered a resurgence of the non-native aquatic plant water hyacinth at Lake Quitman. This plant is a free-floating (non-rooted) aquatic plant native to South America. It was originally introduced into North America in the late 1800s and has been widely spread around the country through the water garden and aquarium trade, and by boaters. The plant is popular with water garden enthusiasts primarily due to its attractive lavender or pink flower; however, water hyacinth is a prohibited plant in Texas and is illegal to sell or possess. Water hyacinth, along with other non-native plants like giant salvinia and water lettuce, provide virtually no benefit to fish or the aquatic environment. The plants reproduce rapidly and can quickly cover large portions of a lake’s surface, blocking access for boaters, reducing dissolved oxygen available for fish and other aquatic organisms and generally impairing water quality.
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