Invasive plant Alligatorweed found at Otter Slough Conservation Area near Dexter
DEXTER, Mo. (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Conservation is working to remove an invasive, non-native aquatic plant that was recently found at Otter Slough Conservation Area.
The department said this is the first time the plant known as Alligatorweed has been recorded in Missouri, although it is found in several southern states.
“We believe the plant was introduced inadvertently by boat, motor, or trailers of waterfowl hunters who had been in southern states such as Arkansas or Louisiana, which have a lot of this plant,” said Mike Reed, MDC Fisheries Management Biologist. “The plant spreads by stem fragments very readily.”
Reed said it’s native to South America and grows quickly, forming dense mats that crowd out native species. The invasive plants grow in or along streams, ponds, lakes, ditches and wetlands.
He said the MDC has an treatment plan, including eradicating the plant from Unit 31 at Otter Slough and preventing it from growing in more units at the conservation area.
“Unfortunately, Unit 31 at Otter Slough CA is being held out of the waterfowl hunting program this fall to allow the unit to be held dry in attempt to kill remaining alligator weed,” Reed continued.
According to Reed, the plant is controlled in southern states using EPA-approved aquatic herbicides and biological control using a beetle specific to the plant.
Herbicide has been used on the Otter Slough alligator weed population, Reed said. But unfortunately, the beetle can’t be utilized as it will not survive Missouri’s winters.
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