Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arkansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arkansas Project

Risk assessment for Giant Salvinia in Arkansas waters

August 2022 - June 2023


Participating Agencies

  • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) is the second worst aquatic weed in the world, and in North America, it causes millions of dollars in damages per year to agriculture, fishing industries, recreation, ecosystem health, and human health. Giant salvinia is spreading rapidly throughout the Southeastern United States, including in Arkansas, and climate change is likely to exacerbate the risk and rate of its spread. A preventative management approach that focuses on early detection and rapid eradication responses will be the most successful and cost effective. Thus, there is a critical need to develop a risk assessment tool that both facilitates early detection of giant salvinia and assesses the feasibility of rapid eradication. Here, our goal is to develop and implement a risk assessment tool that 1) facilitates early detection of giant salvinia by quantifying the likelihood of giant salvinia invasion in Arkansas under multiple potential future climate scenarios and 2) determines the feasibility of successfully eradicating giant salvinia in water bodies if giant salvinia is introduced. This risk assessment tool will help Arkansas Game & Fish Commission develop and improve preventative management strategies such as prioritizing monitoring efforts, developing rapid response plans tailored to specific water bodies, and targeted public outreach.