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Water Management Associations
European Frog-Bit the Next Aquatic Invasive Species to Watch For

European frog-bit is an aquatic plant introduced to the United States as an ornamental plant in 1932. It has since spread through shipping canals in parts of Canada and Michigan – as well as in rivers and lakes.

The frog-bit is a free-floating aquatic plant. Its leaves look like lily pads, but are small – only about 1 – 2 inches across. The plants produce a three-petaled white flower. The plant is problematic because it colonizes marshes, ditches and swamps as well as shorelines of lakes and rivers. The plant weaves itself together in a dense, floating mat that allows little light through. It crowds out native aquatic plants and keeps fish from using marshes.

The plant is not in Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council’s coverage area yet, but the organization is keeping an eye on the new invasive species.

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The Beginning of an Invasion - At least three mats of hydrilla have been located, which Bob Johnson, retired Cornell University biology professor says can grow up to a foot a day, creating dense mats from bottom to surface in water up to 25 feet deep. Hydrilla fragments can easily be transported by boats and boat trailers which can sprout roots and establish new populations.

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