Water hyacinth used for counteracting algal blooms

In a controversial experiment in Florida, researchers are stocking King’s Bay with floating pens of water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) to reduce algal blooms.  Water hyacinth was removed from the bay beginning in the late 1950s, but Hydrilla replaced it and now algal blooms have become an issue in the lake.  Water hyacinth is good at removing pollutants from water and shading out algae.  In addition, manatees love it!

The pens also contain two other non-native species (called native in the original article), water lettuce and frog’s bit, considered less invasive by the some, but the article does not address whether these two plants would serve the same function as the water hyacinth.

Read more at the University of Washington’s Conservation web site and for updates see the Florida Springs Institute.

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4 Responses to Water hyacinth used for counteracting algal blooms

  1. Susan Hemmer says:

    What about Japanese Dodder? I live near Johnathan Dickinson State Park where it is strangling and sapping the life out of everything.

    I’ve sent photos and descriptions to what I thought were the proper authorities in Tallahassee ~~ no response ~~ and the devastation continues unchallenged.

    • Yours would be the first report of Japanese dodder for that county in Florida (it appears to have been reported only from one county in the panhandle). I would take a sample to the county Extension office. Japanese dodder is a federal and Florida noxious weed, so Extension might be able to get the state to control it. There are many species of dodder though including some native species, so identification is very important in this case.

  2. Fred Hrusa says:

    Couple of problems here: 1, “frogbit” refers to more than one genus of Hydrocharitaceae. Neither of which are native in North America. Both are invasive. Hydrocharis morsus-ranae is Eurasian and Limnobium laevigatum is South American. Both are sold in the aquatic plants trade as “frogbit”. They are vegetatively similar in appearance. Limnobium is the more problematic pest in warm water. Water lettuce is Pistia stratiotes, an old world pan tropical native, introduced and invasive in North America.

    An old proverb attributed in many forms and to many philosophers states approximately “the beginning of wisdom is to learn to call things by their correct names”.

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