Hydrilla slowing freshwater flow in bayou
November 10, 2006
What’s green, spreads like kudzu, can
grow a foot per day and visits havoc on
the local environment?
Martian teenagers is not the answer.
If you said “hydrilla” you’d be correct.
And it is a key reason why Lafourche
Parish is having problems delivering water
to its residents free of tainting from Gulf of
Mexico sea salt.
Every day this week, two waterborne
threshers - officially called submerged
aquatic vegetation harvesters - have
wheeled up and down Bayou Lafourche
north of Thibodaux, gathering stalks of the
non-native seaweed-type plant.
Hydrilla, also known as aquarium grass,
has over-run the upper reaches of the
bayou. The vegetation soaks up fresh
water like a sponge, leaving less of it to
“It was like the perfect storm this summer.
This stuff has re-established itself in the
northern reaches of the bayou in the last
six or eight months,” said Archie Chaisson, executive director of the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District. “In the
beginning of the summer this stuff just started taking off. There was a lack of rainfall, and the bayou’s flow was not
heavy. This stuff acts as a filter for the water; it clarifies it to an extent. There’s been plenty of sun and clear water
and this stuff can grow up to a foot a day, it is that intense.”
Chaisson said he could use a few more cutters.
“We could use two or three at least,” he said.
But experts on Louisiana’s continued battle against intrusive salt water say it will take even more than unlikely
victory over the hydrilla.
Saving Bayou Lafourche - whether through a freshwater diversion project currently in progress or construction of
a new floodgate that will keep out the salt water – is in everybody’s best interests.
That’s according to to Kerry St. Pé, executive director Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.
“Bayou Lafourche is important to all of us, and it is important to oil and gas exploration in the North Central Gulf of
Mexico,” he said.
John DeSantis can be reached at 448-7614 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Estuary Invasives