Airboats are back on the Ross Barnett Reservoir and so is Hydrilla. Hydrilla is a type of vegetation trying to take over parts of the reservoir. That spells trouble for the ecosystem and boaters.
Hydrilla, which looks like a beautiful lily pad with white flowers, has consumed a huge section of water near Tommy's Trading Post up on Highway 43. Birds can be seen walking across the top of them in search for food. Underneath, it's like spaghetti junction.
Howard Harris was fishing with friends and he said, "Your boat, the back end gets caught in the lily pads and you also lose a lot of hooks in the lily pad."
The fishermen like to fish near the plants. Harris said he pulled in a few, "A perch and about 10 catfish."
Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant species that can cause considerable damage to a lake and its ecosystem. If nothing is done to control it, the plants can choke out game fish, limit boating and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Clarence Bradfield was out on the water Wednesday and said, "It would be better if they take them out, I would say, because I love fishing."
Reservoir officials have hired a company to spray liquid herbicides on the Hydrilla. Boats were in the water at Goshen Springs boat launch Wednesday.
Concerned, Harris posed this question, "What would it do to the species out there, the fish?"
The chemicals are approved for use in the water by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Reservoir officials say boaters may soon see a distinct color change in the lotus throughout the lake. 67.7 acres will be sprayed. Imperative they say to keep the weeds from spreading and becoming a bigger problem.
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