Submerged Species

Submerged plant species have been used in deepwater zones of FWS wetlands and are a component in a patented process that has been used to improve water quality in freshwater lakes, ponds, and golf course water hazards. Species that have been used for this purpose include Ceratophyllum demersum (coontail, or hornwart), Elodea (waterweed), Potamogeton pectinatus (sago pond weed), Potamogeton perfoliatus (redhead grass), Ruppia marítima (widgeongrass), Vallisne-ria americana (wild celery), and Myriophyllum spp. (watermilfoil). The distribution of these species is worldwide. Optimum pH is 6 to 10. Salinity tolerance is <5 to 15 ppt for most varieties. Growth is rapid, via rhizomes; lateral spread is >1 ft/yr (0.3 m/yr), providing dense cover in 1 year with plants spaced at 2 ft (0.6 m). Annual yields vary — coontail, 8.9 (dw) ton/ac (10 mt/ha); Potamogeton, 2.7 (dw) ton/ac(3 mt/ha); and watermilfoil, 8 (dw) ton/ac (9 mt/ha). Tissue (dw basis) is approximately 2 to 5% N, 0.1 to 1% P; 5 to 10% solids. These species provide food for a wide variety of birds, fish, and animals; sago pond weed is especially valuable for ducks. These species can tolerate continuous inundation, with the depth of acceptable water being a function of water clarity and turbidity as these plants depend on penetration of sunlight through the water column. Some of these plants have been used to enhance the habitat values in FWS constructed wetlands. Coontail, Elodea, and other species have been used for nutrient control in freshwater ponds and lakes; regular harvesting removes the plants and the nutrients.

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