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Invasive Species of Lake Jackson Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

The fluctuating water levels and habitats within the preserve prevent the domination of most potential invasive species. The main threats are hydrilla and the island apple snail. Chinese tallow (popcorn tree), alligatorweed and water hyacinchs are also present, but controlled.

The island apple snail is well-adapted for these conditions and is thriving in all areas of the preserve.This invasive species is originally from South America. They are voracious eaters that feed off of alltypes of aquatic plants, threatening the natural environment and reducing the habitat for other native species. There are no effective control measures for the snail and they remain a major problem in Lake Jackson.

Hydrilla has been difficult to control, but the drawdown in 1999 nearly eradicated it and allowed for easier management of the remainder. It is being managed by a combination of herbicidal treatments and sterile grass carp which are introduced to eat the hydrilla. Hydrilla is still abundant, especially in areas with heavy runoff pollution. The major threat of hydrilla is its ability to dominate the ecosystem at all levels of the lake's water column. The only known benefit of hydrilla is as a food source for migrating waterfowl.

Alligatorweed has historically been controlled by the alligatorweed flea beetle, but has begun expanding recently. Recent cold weather may have killed the beetle. Water hyacinths are less abundant on the lake and have been controlled using herbicides. Chinese tallow is a tree that can become invasive in saturated areas. Most of the areas where it has become established are disturbed areas where native species have been removed, but it can be a problem for native species such as tupelo and cypress. Cuban bulrush is an invasive plant species that can form large floating colonies. It is controlled by herbicide and also eaten by waterfowl. This species is one of the newer invasive plants to come into Lake Jackson Aquatic Preserve.

 
Alligatorweed

Alligatorweed

 

Chinese tallow

Chinese tallow (popcorn tree)

 

 

Last updated: December 06, 2016

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