Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Invasive Aquatic Plants

Spring is right around the corner and those of us in the pond industry are gearing up for anothermanagement season.  This discussion is intended to inform the reader on the importance of keeping non-native aquatic plant species under control .

Depending on the intended usage of your particular body of water, may help influence the level of control desired. In a perfect balanced pond or aquatic ecosystem, there are many different types of organisms that coexist together to form a natural food chain. A brief example would be phytoplankton, tiny free floating photosynthetic aquatic organisms, are one the smallest links at the base of the chain. They feed and transfer nutrients to amphipods, arthropods, and other small aquatic residents that in turn feed small amphibians and juvenile fish. 

When a non-native plant species enters our aquatic ecosystem it normally has a negative effect on the natural food chain. One major effect is that being new or introduced to a system there is little or no natural predation. So the benefit of it being a food source is nonexistent. Since there is no predation, they tend to out compete native species for light and nutrients. Another negative effect is the decline in organisms as food sources. As the non native species takes over the body of water it becomes less suitable for larger populations of native plants and organisms to survive, therefore limiting the amount of food present for larger fish and amphibians.

One responsibility as a pond specialist and steward to the environment is to keep non native plant species in check with the natural environment. We believe a balanced body of water is the best management practice and enjoy bringing this service to the public. As water becomes increasingly important in the future and the issues of climate change unfold, we look forward to the work that lies ahead in the industry.

By:  Drew Drake, Aquatic Specialist
AQUA DOC Lake & Pond Management

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