February 25, 2015
Greg Bugbee has been working within the Department of Environmental Sciences in the Department of Agriculture for the past 25 years. He does a lot of investigations and surveillance of over 200 lakes and ponds in Connecticut. His expertise is in invasive plants, soil fertility, and he runs the Aquatic Plant Program for The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Jennifer Fannzuti is the lead Aquatic Plant Surveyors who works in the Invasive Plant Program at the Department of Environmental Sciences.
Invasive aquatic plants of one of the mains problems that occur in the water bodies located in Connecticut. These are plants that are not native they were introduced into this area and they overtake all of the native plants. Once these types of plants getting into the water bodies is very hard to get rid of them completely. The invasive plants will disrupt the ecosystem of the native plants. These invasive plants will cover and take over so much of the water body that it will decrease the amount of recreation the water body will get and it will lower the price of property. The main goal that an invasive plant has is to get rid of the native species in the environment. With the native plants the wildlife will not have the right amount of food needed to stay stable. Also without the native plants the wildlife with not have any protection against predators.
Invasive plants are mostly introduced into new areas from boats and trailers for personal use because people don’t properly wash they equipment when they are done using it. So, when someone use their boat in one area and then moves onto the new area they transfer that invasive plants from the first area to the new area. The other main reason that invasive plants spread is for the way they look. People will go out into the water and pick the invasive plants to sell for a profit due to how nice they look. People will use these plants in there fish tanks until the fish dies or they don’t want the fish anymore and then they usually will dispose of them into water bodies releasing the invasive plant into that area. Another way that invasive plants can spread is through birds. This is because the bird picks up the plant and carries it to another water body. The birds might be naturally moving these plants it is still looked at by people as unnatural because the invasive plant should have never introduced in the first place.
The main solution to the management of these invasive plants does not come easily because there are a lot of things that need to be done to get rid of them. There are many invasive plants that get mixed with the native plants, but to displace of all of the invasive plants you will also have to displace all of the native plants as well. The Department of Environmental Sciences as a few methods that can be helpful to eliminate or manage the invasive plants. Some of the ways are water level drawdowns, harvesting, biological control, and dredging. Water level drawdowns lower the water level of the lakes and ponds and expose the unwanted vegetation to lethal drying and freezing conditions killing them off. Dredging is a long term solution which will prevent the plant growth. In some of the cases people have to hand removal of the invasive plants s done by hiring a diver to locate and removal of invasive plants. Biological controls might be another way to introduce organism that will feed on the invasive plants. This method can be done without having any harmful impacts to the area.
The work that Jennifer Fannzuti and Greg Bugbee are doing with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will help to improve the water quality and water recreation throughout Connecticut. Invasive plants do not have to become a normal thing, but can be managed with proper treatment and attention.