Last week I began a four year project funded by the State Wildlife Grant Program through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to survey Oklahoma’s public lakes for aquatic invasive plant species. My summer research assistant, Kayleigh, and I are starting locally to make sure we have a good protocol for the surveys in case I need to resurvey them at a later time. So far, we have only found one of our target species, Myriophyllum spicatum or Eurasian milfoil.
I think submerged aquatic plants are limited in central Oklahoma because of the lack of water clarity, aka water turbidity. In this region, clarity is often reduced by suspended soil particles, which filters sunlight. Increased turbidity decreases available sunlight for photosynthesis, and therefore growth of underwater plants. So, although turbid water is aesthetically unappealing and has other environmental consequences, it does make the lake less susceptible to aquatic plant invasions.