Managing for sustainable native macrophyte communities in lakes of the Riley-Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District

Project manager: Ray Newman

Funded by: Riley-Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District  

Description: This project picks up previous lines of research on removing common carp and restoring the native plant community in the Riley-Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District. 

Researchers are using what was found in previous research to create a sustainable use plan with adaptive management to promote water clarity and fisheries. Specific objectives include:

  • Determining the response of native and invasive macrophytes to carp removal
  • Assessing approaches to promote native plant establishment after carp removal
    • Transplanting
    • Invasive control – ongoing
    • Clarity improvement
    • Defining criteria for “restored” systems – when do we stop managing, or can we?

Developing criteria for success is key to this project, taking into account factors like species richness, frequency of occurrence, presence or absence of invasive species, whether these levels are acceptable to recreationalists, and more.

Native plants are desirable because they provide fish habitat, help maintain water clarity, and may preempt or reduce the establishment of invasive plants. Invasives, such as Eurasian watermilfoil or curlyleaf pondweed, shade out natives and are a nuisance for boaters and swimmers.

Project start date: 2018

Estimated project end date: 2020