Understanding what plants are in your lake can be helpful to assess the health of your lake. In some lakes, the type and abundance of plants can support healthy fisheries, protect the lake bottom from waves, and support interesting benthic animals. It’s also important to know if you have an invasive plant in your lake. The earlier an invasive species is found, the more likely that an effective control approach can be implemented. Also, knowing where invasive plants are found can help limit their spread.
The original CSLAP Aquatic Plant Sampling Protocol describes how to sample the plants in your lake. This approach will give you an idea of the types of plants as well as the overall density of the plant community.
If you don’t have time to conduct a full survey of the lake, you can also sample for the presence or absence of specific plants. Instructions on how to do this simple shoreline search can be found in the 2016 NYSFOLA/ NYS DEC publication Aquatic Invasive Plant Surveillance Protocol for Citizen Scientists on Lakes.
If you notice a strange or unusual plant in your lake at any time, please note the location and email a photo of the plant to Stephanie June at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will let you know if further investigation is warranted.