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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluating the Feasibility of Planting Aquatic Plants As Part of Lake Restoration Projects in Mississippi

Author
item Smiley, Peter

Submitted to: American Ecological Engineering Society Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2005
Publication Date: May 18, 2005
Citation: Smiley, P.C. 2005. Evaluating the feasibility of planting aquatic plants as part of lake restoration projects in mississippi. American Ecological Engineering Society Conference. p. 31

Technical Abstract: Aquatic plants are an important component of littoral zones and influence the physical and biological characteristics of these nearshore areas of lakes. Aquatic plants provide habitat for aquatic animals, reduce shoreline erosion, and improve water quality within the littoral zone. Planting aquatic plants is a restoration technique used to increase habitat diversity in the littoral zone or to restore native aquatic plant communities. However, the feasibility of planting native aquatic plants in Mississippi lakes has not been rigorously evaluated. We conducted an exclosure experiment to evaluate the success of planting selected aquatic plants in the littoral zone of a 207 ha lake in Mississippi. Five experimental exclosures were constructed in the emergent and submersed zones of four sites. The emergent zone is the portion of the littoral zone that is dry in the late summer during low water levels, but is inundated by water for the remainder of the year. The submersed zone was the area of littoral zone that remained inundated by water all year. We used a randomized block design with sites as the block and the experimental treatment was type of aquatic plant planted within an exclosure. Experimental treatments in the emergent zone were: 1) control – no aquatic plants planted, 2) American lotus (Nelumbo lutea), 3) blunt spike rush (Eleocharis obtusa), 4) arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), and 5) square-stem spike rush (Eleocharis quadrangulata). Experimental treatments in the submersed zone were: 1) control – no aquatic plants planted, 2) watershield (Brasenia schreberi), 3) fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorata), 4) American lotus, and 5) American pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus). We measured the physicochemical characteristics of the soil and water in each exclosure. Planting success was evaluated by measuring percent cover, stem density, and probability of extinction of aquatic plants in each exclosure. No significant differences (P < 0.05) in mean physicochemical characteristics of soil and water were observed among experimental treatments. The square-stem spike rush and arrowhead exhibited a greater mean percent cover (P < 0.05) than the control in the emergent zone. The blunt spike rush and the square-stem spike rush exhibited a greater mean stem density (P < 0.05) than the control in the emergent zone. The square-stem spike rush and arrowhead had the lowest probability of extinction (P < 0.05) in the emergent zone. Only mean percent cover differed among planting treatments in the submersed zone, and the fragrant water lily exhibited a greater mean percent cover (P < 0.05) than the control. Our results suggest that the square-stem spike rush and the fragrant water lily may be best candidate species when planting aquatic plants in the littoral zones of shallow lakes in Mississippi lacking aquatic plants.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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