Aquatic Plant Problems

A wide rang of aquatic plants can be found growing in, on, and around a body of water. Based upon their various adaptations, some will be found rooted in swiftly flowing streams while others can only survive in placid, stagnant ponds. Within a natural, well-balance system, these plants provide food and cover for fish, waterfowl and aquatic invertebrates. They produce oxygen, plus help to stabilize bottom sediments.

Like terrestrial plants, aquatic vegetation requires a carbon source, sunlight, and nutrients. Dissolved carbon dioxide, bicarbonates and carbonates, typically quite abundant in water, provide a source of carbon for the growth and food production process known as photosynthesis. The energy driving this process is derived form sunlight. Therefore, the depth of sunlight penetration will limit the depth to which aquatic plants can grow. At the same time, the amount of nutrients available (mainly nitrogen and phosphorous) will limit the quantity of vegetation which can grow.

Aquatic plants derive their nutrients form the sediments and/or the water column. These nutrients are cycled between the sediment and the water on an annual basis. Adding to this nutrient enrichment of lakes and ponds, a process known as eutrophication, are inputs form external sources. Nutrients and sediments are contributed by man’s agricultural, domestic and industrial activities through sources such as cropland and feedlot run-off, factory and cannery effluents, domestic waste discharges, constructions site erosion, lawn and garden fertilizer run-off and septic tank leachate. The most noticeable symptom resulting from eutrophication is the development of prolific aquatic plant growth.

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