Written by James Burns
Too many weeds can spoil a lake, and make fishing difficult, if not impossible. There is one thing that is worse: Too many of one type of weed. When this begins to happen, there is a danger of having this pond or lake become a monoculture. Some weeds tend toward domination. Many of the most dominant weeds in U.S. ponds and lakes are exotic aquatic invasive species like Hydrilla and Giant Salvinia, and most of them are a serious threat to the necessary biodiversity of our ponds and lakes in America.
Why is aquatic biodiversity so important? The culture of a lake or pond is complex, with one species dependent on another for food, cover, and a variety of other natural products and services. Removing any one natural species from the mix can unbalance the habitat, and break important links in the biological chain. Think of it as a domino effect. The introduction of aquatic invasive species in a pond or lake will remove and replace some of the native species on which other native species depend.
Exotic lake weed threat is real and present
Aquatic invasive species are already a serious threat to fishing in some public lakes. The list of public lakes and large areas of public lakes which are closed for fishing, at least for a time, grows every year. Because of this, the threat of continued and accelerate spreading is ever present, and measures should be taken by every private pond and lake owner to avoid introduction into their own ponds or lakes.
Aquatic invasive species control
The best method for dealing with aquatic invasive species, is the best method for dealing with any problem: Prevention! Preventing exotic lake weeds, like preventing auto accidents, disease, or forest fires is much better than treating the aftermath.
Preventing aquatic invasive species: Lake condition
The lake condition prevention method for exotic lake weeds is the same as for native lake weeds. Decrease the likelihood of sunlight reaching the bottom of the pond where most lake weeds get their start by raising the water level, dredging, or producing algae bloom to color the water. Unfortunately, due to the extremely aggressive nature of some exotic lake weeds, and the fact that there are some exotic lake weeds that float on the water surface and therefore cannot be completely controlled or prevented in this way. Aggressive efforts should be taken to keep these invaders out to begin with.
Preventing aquatic invasive species: Keeping exotic weeds out
Keeping exotic lake weeds out of your pond or lake is a matter of vigilance. It is that simple. If you have used your boat, recreational watercraft's like jet skis, fishing equipment, and even recreational equipment like 4 wheelers that might have traveled through the edge of another lake, you should give anything that went on or near the water a complete and thorough inspection and cleaning before you hit the road. Check everything visually before reintroducing your equipment into your own lake.
Even a small piece of Hydrilla, Giant Salvinia, or many other exotics can be enough to start an invasion that can eat your lake! Vegetative reproduction rates can be as high as 51%. Some exotic lake weeds can go from 1 plant to 60,000 in less than a month, so pay close attention to cleanup.