URI, RINHS, DEM to offer workshop on managing invasive aquatic plants, Oct. 7

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 26, 2008 – Rhode Islanders who are curious about the aquatic plants growing in local ponds and lakes and who are concerned about the impact of invasive species are encouraged to attend a workshop at the University of Rhode Island called “What’s in the Pond? A Look at Freshwater Plants and their Management” on Oct. 7 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the URI Watershed Watch Program, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, the program will be held in Weaver Auditorium in the Coastal Institute building on URI’s Kingston campus. The event is open to the public, but advance registration is required as seating is limited. A $5 fee will be charged at the door.

“Aquatic plants are a beneficial component of freshwater pond ecology, but the proliferation of non-native species can have a negative impact on the health and function of a water body,” said Hope Leeson, aquatic ecologist for the Natural History Survey. “Non-native plants can crowd out native aquatic plants, reducing biodiversity and harming water quality.”

The workshop will focus on the ecology of aquatic plants and the invasive species presently known to be in Rhode Island waters, as well as some that are in neighboring states. Management techniques will be presented along with a discussion of Rhode Island’s new aquatic herbicide application process.

Registration for the event is through the URI Watershed Watch office at 401-874-2905 or 401-874-4552, or via email at uriww@etal.uri.edu. For additional information, visit www.uri.edu/ce/wq/ww.

As a part of the event, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey will accept freshwater aquatic plants for identification (up to five per participant). Plants submitted for identification should include all representative leaf types from both above and below water and any flowering or seed structures. Debris and dirt should be rinsed from the plant and its root structure, and the specimen should be placed in a sealed plastic bag with enough tap water to keep the plant moist. Keep the bagged plant refrigerated until the program.