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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI, DEM presentation to examine aquatic invasive species

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Aug. 5 in Chepachet
Learn about the plants in your lake

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 29, 2010 -- At the urging of Senator Paul Fogarty, University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension’s Watershed Watch Program is teaming up with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Save the Lakes to present an evening educational program called, “What’s that in my lake? A look at RI’s freshwater invasive plants.”

The presentation will be held Thursday, Aug. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Glocester Senior Center, 1210 Putnam Pike, Chepachet. The event is open to the public, however advance registration is requested. Please register by Tuesday, Aug. 3 through the URI Watershed Watch office at 401-874-2905 or 401-874-4552, or via email at uriww@etal.uri.edu. See http://www.uri.edu/ce/wq/ww/index.htm for additional information.

Speakers will include Elizabeth Herron and Linda Green from the URI Watershed Watch Program and Evan Ross and Sue Kiernan from the Department of Environmental Management.

Although aquatic plants are a valuable and necessary part of healthy freshwater lakes, ponds and streams, the unchecked growth of aquatic invasive plants can have a dramatic and negative impact on the ecology and recreational uses of a water body, said Herron.

Non-native plants can crowd out native aquatic plants, reducing biodiversity and harming water quality, she added. The presence of thick growth of weeds can make it difficult, if not impossible, for swimmers and boaters to enjoy lakes and ponds.

The presentation will offer an overview of the ecology of aquatic plants, the invasives presently known to be in Rhode Island waters, and some that are in our neighboring states. Management techniques will be described, as well as ways for lakeshore residents and boaters to help prevent their spread.

Participants are invited to bring up to 3 freshwater aquatic plants for identification at the meeting. Those bringing in plants for identification will be asked to fill out a form detailing where the plant was collected. Bring one example of the entire plant, from root to tip; making sure it has all representative leaf types. Many aquatic species have a combination of underwater (submerged) leaves and above water (emergent) leaves and/or flowering structures. Try to include flowers or seed pods if possible, as they are often crucial for correctly identifying a plant. Gently rinse all debris and dirt from the plant and its roots. Place the cleaned plant in a sealed plastic bag with just enough tap water to keep the plant moist. Keep the bagged plant refrigerated until you come to the presentation.