Just a quick post to announce the recent publication of a paper authored by Contour Innovations Chief Aquatic Biologist Ray Valley documenting recent short-term declines of the invasive curly-leaf pondweed potentially due to heavy winter snowfall. You can access the article here or email Ray at email@example.com and ask for a pdf copy.
Curlyleaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) is a long-established, nonnative aquatic plant common throughout southern and central Minnesota that is thought to be expanding northward. Curlyleaf pondweed typically grows abundantly in spring in productive lakes and then senesces in midsummer, often followed by algae blooms. We report observations of widespread, short-term declines in curlyleaf pondweed cover that appear linked to winter snow depth on frozen lakes. These findings suggest that climate change may greatly affect habitat suitability for curlyleaf pondweed. As Minnesota lakes warm with less snow cover limiting light penetration, curlyleaf pondweed growth will likely increase. These observations form the foundation for targeted follow up studies that more precisely describe conditions limiting the growth and expansion of curlyleaf pondweed in north-temperate, North American lakes.
Later this winter, Ray will post a blog that goes in more detail about this long-established invasive aquatic plant and the potential for its management to positively affect water quality by reducing internal nutrient loading. In a nutshell, the jury is still out and more robust monitoring and research is needed if Minnesota is to efficiently and wisely invest tax payer dollars dedicated to clean water work in the state.