The majority of the nuisance plants in Indian Lake are submerged plants, or plants that grow up from the bed of the lake. Though other species of submerged plants have been found in the past, we only collected two species of plants.
Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) is a species of submerged aquatic plant found naturally throughout Europe and Asia. It first appeared in North American during the 1940's and has been a steadily growing problem ever since. Eurasian watermilfoil is known as a subversive perennial plant, meaning that the plant continues to live during the winter, re-growing and expanding as it does ).
The growth pattern suggests that Eurasian Watermilfoil is among the first plants to fully establish itself in the springtime. Because it is available so early in the breeding season, fish are more likely to use it as food, even though it contains significantly less nutritional value than the native plants it displaces. At the same time, the density of the cover it provides means that the survival rate of young small fish increase to well beyond their normal values ). Compound these two problems and the result is a steady starvation of the lake's animal population. As the small fish grow larger, their overabundance quickly outstrips the nutrition that the watermilfoil can provide. Because there are too many fish and not enough food, the population begins to starve. This starvation also heavily affects the bird populations that depend on the fish as a food source, as their prey rapidly begins to dwindle . Eurasian Watermilfoil was first of two submerged plant populations found during our survey of Indian Lake.
The second submerged plant we found was Small Pond Weed (Potamogeton pusillus). This is a plant is native to the entire North American continent , therefore not alarming by itself. What does worry us is that when surveyed in 2004, it was not found anywhere in Indian Lake . It was found in Little Indian Lake, so it has likely come from there, and has grown rapidly. Similar to Eurasian Watermilfoil, it is a perennial species, although its growth is nowhere near as rapid or expansive as an invasive weed.