Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist
Regions across the US are waging war on invasive aquatic plants, with a particular focus on preserving water access and usage. Unless designed for a specific safety purpose, waterbodies are supposed to support aquatic biota, including plants. However, many of these invading species are often mistaken for native plants that are important for a balanced or natural ecosystem. How can pond owners, community associations, and recreational users distinguish between them? What signs help reveal that a plant is ‘invasive’?
Foremost, a large amount of growth in a confined area can be a primary indicator of an unbalanced plant community – often suggesting non-native or invasive growth. Dense growth removes open-water habitat or may decrease the potential species diversity a system can support. Understanding a balance of biota is also key to preserving or restoring an aquatic ecosystem.
Action towards awareness of invaders is also important. Questioning whether or not a species is supposed to be in the waterbody is a great step to take, especially when widespread or ‘new’ growth is present. New plant growth in a lake or pond may indicate the presence of an invasive species, potentially brought in by recreation, urban development or wildlife.