6. Aquatic Plants

Freshwater ponds support an incredible assortment of aquatic plants and animals. Dragonflies and Damselflies (order Odonata) mate and lay their eggs in the stems of aquatic plants like Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordifolia) and White Water Lilies (Nymphaea odorata). Once hatched, the immature nymphs spend the first 1-3 years of their life underwater before metamorphosing into winged adults. Dragonflies are highly important for mosquito control and hunt them at both larval and adult stages. An increase in native aquatic plant species is tightly correlated with greater dragonfly abundance and diversity. Unfortunately, since stable aquatic ecosystems are the result of a delicate balance of nutrients, light, and species composition, aquatic habitats are regularly degraded.

    Ponds and kettleholes frequently absorb runoff from surrounding areas. Lawn fertilizers and pesticides kill beneficial insects and encourage the rapid growth of algae and invasive plants. Too much algae in a pond causes dead zones by sucking the dissolved oxygen out of the water, decimating beneficial insect, amphibian, and fish populations. Removing fertilizers and pesticides from your home landscaping is a key way to preserve aquatic biodiversity in your watershed!