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FYI: February 2002

FYI - February 2002
FYI — February 2002
By Brad Dunn
   
 
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Weevil to the Rescue and more
• Part 2: Manhunt for a Boatbuilder, and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Cruisingguides.com
• Penchantpublishing.com
 

Weevil to the Rescue
Like the sci-fi Blob that grew exponentially as it ate people, an unruly foreign plant known as Giant Salvinia now threatens to blanket lakes in at least 12 states. The plant, found naturally in Brazil and Bolivia, floats on water and grows unimaginably fast. Small lakes can be covered by dense mats of the weed in days. Accumulating to a thicknesses of up to three feet, the colonies block sunlight to waters below, killing indigenous plants, bugs, and fish. The result is not only environmental destruction but also devastation to the local economy and industries like fishing, farming, and hydroelectric power. What's worse, recreational boaters who trailer their boats from one lake to another are suspected of causing most of the Salvinia's spreading.

"This plant has been an enormous problem in 12 countries and three continents," says Philip Tipping, PhD, a research entomologist at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. "In the 1980s it brought the shipping industry in New Guinea to its knees. Now it's here."

But help is on the way. In October Tipping led a new assault on the vile vegetation. He released more than 1,000 Australian weevils at lakes in Texas and Louisiana. The insects, originally from Brazil, feed exclusively on the plant by tunneling through its foliage and eating its terminal buds.

The strategy has worked phenomenally in other places, including New Guinea. But will they kill off the Giant Salvinia here? "I would expect these insects to work extremely fast on this plant," Tipping says. "But we'll have to wait and see."

In the meantime, Tipping says boaters should be careful to clean their hulls thoroughly before hauling them to other lakes.

ON SHELVES: The Cruiser's Guide to Hurricane Survival
Every year hurricane season catches many boaters off guard. Now's the perfect time to prepare yourself for this year's squalls. The Cruiser's Guide to Hurricane Survival tells you how to weather the biggest storms, whether you're at the dock, on the hook, or coming in from sea. With tons of photos and diagrams, the book not only helps you identify weather patterns from barometer and wind data, but also how to protect your boat in any conditions. You can also order an e-mail version of the book for $9.95 at www.cruisingguides.com.
$14.95, paperback. Cruising Guide Publications.

February Events
Jan. 27-Feb. 4. The Chesapeake Bay Boat Show in Baltimore. (212) 984-7000.
Jan. 31 - Feb. 3. The 19th-annual Hartford Boat Show in Hartford, Connecticut. (860) 767-2645.
6-9. IBEX in Fort Lauderdale. (207) 359-4651.
13-18. The Grand Center Boat Show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (800) 328-6550.
14-18. The Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami. (954) 764-7642.
14-20. The 59th-annual Miami International Boat Show. (305) 531-8410.
15-17. The 19th-annual Boat Show in Ocean City, Maryland. (410) 289-8271.
15-18. The Pennsylvania Boat Show in Philadelphia. (804) 288-5653.
21-24. The New Jersey Boat Show in Edison. (732) 449-4004.

Next page > Manhunt for a Boatbuilder, and more! > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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