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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluating the Feasibility of Planting Aquatic Plants in Shallow Lakes in the Mississippi Delta

Authors
item Smiley, Peter
item Dibble, Eric - MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Journal of Aquatic Plant Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2006
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Dibble, E.D. 2006. Evaluating the feasibility of planting aquatic plants in shallow lakes in the mississippi delta. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management. 44:73-80.

Interpretive Summary: Many shallow lakes in the Mississippi Delta have been impacted by agricultural chemicals and excessive sedimentation. The introduction of aquatic plants may assist with the restoration of these lakes by reducing turbidity levels, removing agricultural chemicals, and providing habitat for aquatic organisms. Planting is the most effective technique for establishing aquatic plants, and will be most efficient if project designers know which planted species have the best survival rate. We conducted two experiments in one shallow lake in the Mississippi Delta to determine the feasibility of planting aquatic plants and to identify the best candidate species for future restoration projects. The square-stem spike rush and the fragrant water lily were the two species that exhibited the best planting success in our experiments. Because these plants are also native to parts of Canada, the northeastern United States, and Central America, our results also provide guidance for lake managers and restoration practitioners in these areas attempting to restore aquatic plants in shallow lakes located within regions of high agricultural land use.

Technical Abstract: Planting aquatic plants is a technique used to restore native aquatic plants in lakes. However, the feasibility of using this restoration technique in shallow lakes in the Mississippi Delta has not been evaluated. We conducted two exclosure experiments to evaluate the success of planting aquatic plants in a shallow lake in the Mississippi Delta. We planted three emergent and one submersed species in experiment 1 and four submersed species in experiment 2. Each experiment contained a control treatment in which no aquatic plants were planted. We measured physico-chemical characteristics of sediment and water and monitored aquatic plants in each exclosure. No differences in mean sediment and water parameters were observed among planting treatments in either experiment. Eleocharis quadrangulata (square-stem spike rush) and Sagittaria latifolia (arrowhead) exhibited the greatest mean percentage cover and the lowest probably of extinction in experiment 1. Additionally, Eleocharis obtusa (blunt spike rush) and square-stem spike rush had the greatest mean stem density in experiment 1. Only mean percentage cover differed among planting treatments in experiment 2, and Nymphaea odorata (fragrant water lily) exhibited a greater mean percentage cover than the control. Our results suggest that the square-stem spike rush and fragrant water lily may be the best candidate species for aquatic plant restoration projects in shallow lakes within the Mississippi Delta.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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