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Aquatic Plant Field Guide Now Available on Outdoor Alabama Web site
June 15, 2009
With the publication of the Field Guide to Aquatic Plants of Alabama the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has given pond owners, educators, and biologists a new tool to help them more easily identify native and non-native aquatic plants in the state.
Originally designed as a field guide for state biologists the expanded version is now available to everyone on the ADCNR Web site, www.outdooralabama.com. The guide is packed with detailed photographs and descriptions of more than 80 native and invasive aquatic plants with more to be added in the future. The guide is divided into six plant categories: Emergent, submersed, floating, floating-leaved, and two types of algae. The original field guide can be downloaded from the here, and will be updated soon.
Graves Lovell, District 4 Fisheries Biologist and author of the guide, believes it can be useful to educators and biologists in identifying aquatic species as well as helping pond owners to control the spread of nuisance plants. “The first step in controlling aquatic weeds is proper identification,” Lovell said. “Aquatic weed problems can explode quickly, but unfortunately we can’t visit every private pond that has a weed problem in a timely manner. I think access to this online field guide will allow most pond owners to identify these plants so biologists can assist with control measures over the phone.”
“However, not all aquatic plants are nuisance species,” Lovell added. “Some species are relatively easy to contain in private ponds and can provide enhanced angling opportunities, as well as harbor juvenile fish. Aquatic plants are also critical in other aquatic ecosystems around the state.”
All of the photos in the guide are available by request to be used for educational purposes by other agencies and non-profit organizations. The photos have also been shared with Invasive.org, a Web site focused on the identification and control of invasive plant species.
According to the U.S. Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force invasive plants and animals cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually to control.
Anyone who observes a non-native plant in Alabama is encouraged to report the location on the Early Detection and Distribution database at www.eddmaps.org. The site was developed by the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health as a way to monitor the spread of invasive plants.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.