Aquatic alien invades Okavango Delta

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems 30 December 2009

The ‘salvinia molesta’ – also known as the Kariba weed, is a freshwater weed of South American origin that has, over the last 25 years, invaded the Okavango delta.

Lily in Okavango Delta. Photo by geoftheref under Creative Commons Licence 2.0

The weed floats on slow moving waters and can rapidly cover the water’s surface forming a dense mat of vegetation. The result is a strangulation of air movement causing severe environmental damage, and threatens not only fish and other marine species but also has a direct economic impact on the local communities.

With the assistance of the local communities the alien invader is fought back through initiatives administered by the Botswana Dept of Water Affairs and the Biokavango Project. Part of these initiatives includes the introduction of small weevils, with an average life-span of 60 days, which feed on the weed reducing its infestation.

Source: Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)
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