Aquatic Plants and Non-Native Aquatic Weed Identification in Connecticut and the Contiguous States

The first thing to realize is that your pond, lake, or body of water is a living ecosystem. Some aquatic vegetation is normal and serves a purpose in the ecosystem. Sometimes an ecosystem is overtaken by “unwelcome visitors”.
All aquatic plants can be broken down in to two different groups. Native aquatic plants and non-native aquatic plants. While some plants belong in some bodies of water, sometimes they grow out of control and overtake a body of water to the point that they become a nuisance. These plants may be managed to insure that they do not make your waterfront or pond unusable. Some examples of native plants that may be managed for recreational or aesthetic purposes include the following:

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bulletWater Lilies

Non-native invasive plants are typically plants that have been introduced or have migrated to different regions of the world or the country. Some of the most invasive and troublesome species that should be removed, include but are not limited to:

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bulletEurasian Milfoil (Myriophyllum Spicatum)

bulletVariable Milfoil (Myriophyllum Heterophyllum)

bulletCurly Leaf Pondweed (Potamogeton Crispus)

bulletWater Chestnut (Trapa Natans)

bulletHydrilla (Hydrilla Verticillata)

bulletBrittle Water Nymph (Naja Minor)

bulletFanwort (Cabomba Caroliniana)

bulletPhragmites (Phragmites Australis)

All of the plants listed above may be removed through various techniques. The only scientifically proven method for permanent reduction or elimination is suction harvesting. Our method of suction harvesting greatly reduces the risk of further spread of the plant, as many plants reproduce through fragmentation (when a piece of one plant can create multiple new plants).

The following guides are excellent resources to identify many of the plants mentioned above that reside within Connecticut and in the surrounding area:

bulletA Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants of Connecticut

bulletMassachusetts: Established Non Native Species

bulletCommon Aquatic Invasive Species of New York

bulletThe New England Wildflower Society – Go Botany Aquatic Plant Identifier

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There are many different types of algae and almost all healthy (and unhealthy) ponds and lakes have a resident algae population. Common freshwater algae varieties in Connecticut include filamentous and planktonic algae.

Filamentous algae, commonly referred to as either pond scum or pond moss, forms greenish mats on the surface of water and typically thrives in conditions with slightly elevated nutrients. Planktonic algae which includes blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, will typically dominate the water column when nutrient levels are very high. This algae can be dangerous in high doses, especially to pets and small children through repeated and extended exposure periods.

Pristine Waters can significantly reduce nutrient loads in bodies of water by taking the nutrient rich muck out of the bottoms of ponds and lakes. If done properly, removing the nutrient rich muck out of these bodies of water will lessen or eliminate the possibility of having serious or harmful algae blooms. To learn more about algae in general, please refer to the following sites:

bulletThe State of Connecticut: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – Blue-Green Algae Blooms

bulletWashington State Department of Health: Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Frequently Asked Questions

bulletThe Canadian Government Agriculture and Agri-food Algae Identification Field Guide

Here are some helpful websites to learn about lake ecology and some of the challenges facing our ponds and lakes in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York:

bulletNALMS (North American Lake Management Society)

bulletThe Connecticut Federation of Lakes

bulletThe New York Federation of Lake Associations