KENAI PENINSULA COOPERATIVE WEED MANAGEMENT AREA

Elodea (Waterweed)

       

Elodea (Waterweed) (Elodea canadensis, E. nuttallii) Hydrocharitaceae family

Elodea is a submerged aquatic plant that is native to parts of North America. There are five species, but canadensis and nuttallii are the two that have been found in Alaska (as well as a potential hybrid). Elodea is commonly sold for use in aquariums, frequently under its former name "Anacharis." Elodea is also commonly distributed to science classrooms for use in various lab experiments, such as combining it with Bromothymol Blue to monitor available oxygen in water.

Elodea is a particularly injurious aquatic perennial. Elsewhere in North America, it has compromised water quality, grown so abundantly that boat traffic is hindered, reduced dissolved oxygen, and severely impacted native fisheries. Elodea is also insidious, in that only a plant fragment is needed to infest a water body because it reproduces vegetatively.

Elodea can be introduced through the dumping of aquarium contents or lab kits, but can also be easily transported between water bodies by float planes, boat props, fishing gear, trailers, wildlife, and anything else that may carry a small plant fragment.

On the Kenai Peninsula, Elodea is known to occur in Stormy Lake, Daniels Lake, and Beck Lake, all in the Nikiski area. The KP-CWMA is currently working to address these infestations while the monitoring of other water bodies continues.

More information

Distribution

National Park Service U.S. Forest Service Homer Soil and Water Conservation District    Alaska Association of Conservation Districts National Resources Conservation Service Kenai Peninsula Borough