Invasive Aquatic Plant Species
An invasive aquatic plant species is a plant that is introduced to an area where it does not naturally belong. Since these species are not native (belong naturally) to that area, they have no local predators and can begin to reproduce and grow unchecked. Generally, aquatic invasive species are harmful to all aspects of a watershed including water quality and health, recreational activities, and the local economy in terms of businesses and property values. Organisms like zebra mussels, milfoil, and mystery snails begin to dominate an area and outcompete other aquatic life for necessary resources like living space and nutrients.
Lake associations do their part by helping to spread information and employing Courtesy Boat Inspectors, who are like the last line of defense before an invasive species enters a body of water. They check boats and trailers before they enter a lake and again as they come out for unwanted hitchhikers, like milfoil. Invasive Plant Patrollers search lake bottoms and shorelines for invasive plants. The goal of the IPP is early detection of these invaders, so that they can be removed before they cause problems in the lake.
The more you know about aquatic invasive species, the more you can do to help prevent their introduction and spread in a watershed.