Surveying Oklahoma’s Public Lakes for Aquatic Invasive Plants
Currently, our knowledge of the geographic distribution of aquatic invasive plants within Oklahoma is poor. Knowing the geographic distribution is the first step in understanding the ecological impact invasive species and the potential for further invasions within the state. Surveys will help to guide the development of an effective management plan for these nuisance species, which are known to have significant negative effects on the diversity of native species, disrupt ecological processes, and alter aquatic wildlife habitat. In addition, aquatic invasive species have negative economic impacts by affecting such things as fisheries, tourism, and infrastructure. A statewide inventory of the public lakes for target aquatic invasive plants will help to guide management of those species as they are discovered within the state.
The focus of this survey proposal is seven aquatic invasive plant species: Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), Brazilian Waterweed (Egeria densa), Parrot Feather Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum aquaticum), Eurasian Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), Australian Water Clover (Marsilea mutica), Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus), and Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). We will survey 148 public lakes to get create a statewide distribution map.
Although the seven invasive plant species listed will be the target of the surveys, we will also record observations of other invasive species (both aquatic and terrestrial, and plants and animals) as we find them.
Surveys began in the Summer of 2016 and will continue until 2020.