By John Eremu
A new water weed, described by Uganda fisheries officials as worse than the water hyacinth, has covered expansive areas of lakes Kyoga and Bisinia.
The weed referred to by locals as Nankabirwa, due to the absence of a native name, has been identified by conservationists as the Giant Salvinia Molesta.
It is ranked by the International Conservation Union (IUCN) among the worst 100 invasive weeds in the world.
The importation of Salvinia has been outlawed in many developed countries because of its devastating ecological and economic effect.
The weed was added to the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) Alert List in 2007 and transferred to the List of Invasive Alien Plants in 2012 (EPPO 2012), according to IUCN.
Research indicates that this aquatic fern, thrives in slow-moving, nutrientrich, warm, freshwater.
It grows very rapidly, out-competing most aquatic plants and is dispersed long distances within water bodies via water currents and between water bodies through animals and contaminated equipment, boats or vehicles.
[Read more on this weed in Thursday's (today) New Vision newspaper on Page 18 of http://epaper.newvision.co.ug/login.aspx]
The weed as seen on Lake Kyoga about a year ago
The salvinia on Lake Kyoga about four months ago
The impact of salvinia on Lake Kyoga today