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Littoral Zone Survey of the Ross Barnett Reservoir (MS) for Invasive Species Management

Madsen, J. D., Wersal, R. M., & Tagert, M. L. (2009). Littoral Zone Survey of the Ross Barnett Reservoir (MS) for Invasive Species Management. Souther Division of the American Fisheries Society Spring Meeting, 15-18 January 2009. New Orleans, LA.


Three non-native aquatic plant species that have caused major problems throughout the United States are waterhyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), alligatorweed (Alternanthera philoxeroides), and hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata). In Mississippi, these three species are found in the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Waterhyacinth and alligatorweed have been under intensive management for almost a decade, primarily through the use of herbicides. Hydrilla was first observed in the Reservoir in 2005 and has since been the target of aggressive management through the use of the systemic herbicide fluridone, combined with spot treatments with contact herbicides. We have conducted surveys of the littoral zone to monitor the occurrence of plant species from 2005 through 2007. In 2007, the dominant species was the native plant American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) with a percent frequency of occurrence of 21.1%. Hydrilla had a frequency of occurrence of 1.4%. The frequency of occurrence for both waterhyacinth and alligatorweed decreased significantly (p ≤ 0.01) from 2005 to 2007. The frequency of occurrence for waterhyacinth in 2005 was 4.9% and declined to 2.9% and 1.2% in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The occurrence of alligatorweed was reduced from 21.1% in 2005 to 4.0% in 2007, approximately an 80% reduction. Furthermore, the removal of waterhyacinth and alligatorweed from some areas of the Reservoir has not impacted the overall species richness (mean number species per point) over the past three years. Additionally, hydrilla has been effectively removed from five areas of the Reservoir totaling more than 161 acres.

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