AQUATIC VEGETATION MANAGEMENT
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
Fast-growing water plants clog Florida inland waterways, impede navigation and promote flooding.
Vegetation is an important part of every aquatic ecosystem, but sometimes it can get out of control. Additionly, certain non-native plant species are extremely invasive and can take over large areas of water.
Excessive aquatic plant growth can lead to several common problems:
1. Too much vegetation can impair recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, and boating.
2. An overabundance of aquatic plants and algae can reduce oxygen levels in the water, which can contribute to fish kills.
Decomposing algae and plants also contribute to oxygen depletion. When plants die, bacteria and fungi break down the decaying plant material. This process uses up the oxygen in the water.
Oxygen depletion can also occur when algae or free-floating plants such as duckweed or milfoil completely cover the water’s surface. These surface growths reduce the amount of light that can penetrate the water, inhibiting photosynthesis (and oxygen production) of plants in deeper waters.
5. Excessive plant growth can impede water flow in drainage ditches, irrigation canals, and culverts and cause water to back up.
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6. Excessive plant growth can trap sediment and debris, gradually filling in bodies of water. When the plants die and fall to the bottom, they accelerate this process.
7. Aquatic weed growth can provide the quiet water environment that is ideal for mosquito larvae development, vermin and snakes.
8. Excessive plant growth lessens aesthetic appeal and lowers property values.
9. Invasive plant species such as Eurasian watermilfoil, Water primrose and Brazilian pepper can destroy stands of native vegetation. This can have adverse effects on the animals that depend on the native vegetation for habitat and food.