The rooted plants that thrive in many MA lakes and ponds are divided into three main groups: submerged, floating-leaved and emergent. Native aquatic plants are important in the ecological balance of lakes because they provide oxygen, food, habitat, shelter and contribute to the diversity of the aquatic environment. In addition, their roots help to stabilize the shore and slow the flow of sediments and pollutants.
Non-native, invasive aquatic plants
What is an Invasive Species? Many plants that are found in Massachusetts lakes were originally brought here from other places around the world and these plants are called non-native or exotic. They can be extremely destructive to the environment by out-competing native species and taking over the water body (invasive). They have no natural predators. Invasive species can impede recreational activities, lower property values, decrease aesthetic values, stunt fish growth and displace wildlife. They spread by “fragmentation“.
Get to know the most common non-native species
Most lakes, if there is an infestation of invasive plants, will already have an active lake association or management plan in place to try to control the species. However, there are also options for individual homeowners who may want to control the weed in their own swimming area.
- Benthic Barriers
- Mechanical Cutting
Permits and/or permission may be required and may differ from town to town. Keep in mind, there is almost always something you are “giving up” while gaining a clear waterfront. For example, fish and wildlife habitat may be displaced once weeds are removed.