Hydrilla

Hydrilla horrors: Invasive plant causes bird deaths   Hydrilla is an aggressive invasive aquatic weed that can quickly choke a lake or stream. For years anglers and boaters have have cursed hydrilla as it interferes with their ability to access their favorite waters. However, few have focused on the ecological problems the weeds can cause.      There are a number of ecological problems created by hydrilla. The dense monoculture stands of the plant choke out other native plant species. Waters with heavy infestations experience shifts in oxygen saturation and pH. The physical characteristics of dense weeds concentrations can lead to reduced fish populations as ambush predators initially find great habitat that reduces forage fish numbers. Eventually the plants get so thick that the ambush predators cannot find their way through and there is an overall decline in fish numbers.    One aspect of the ecological damage that is generally little recognized is that dense infestations of Hydrilla actually lead to the direct deaths of a number of bird species, including Bald Eagles. It is not the Hydrilla itself that causes the bird deaths. Rather, the water chemistry changes the plant produces lead to massive blooms of toxic blue-green algae. When coots and other waterfowl eat the Hydrilla they also consume large amounts of the algae. This causes serious health problems for the coots and the eagles who in turn prey on them. [http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CenterforAquaticNuis/19f74fd298/f9ddf70f4a/867d842b0a]

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