On July 29, WNY PRISM surveyed Silver Lake in Wyoming County, for aquatic and terrestrial invasive plants. Silver Lake has a maximum depth of 37ft and around 7 miles of shoreline, and the outlet and inlet of the lake both sit on the north end of the lake, less than 500ft from each other. On the south end of the lake sits Silver Lake State Park and at the north end is a state wildlife management area, both of which contain wetland areas that include great habitat for many native species of plants and animals. While we were out we saw great blue and green herons, and blooming cardinal flowers!
Using kayaks provided by our Partners at Silver Lake, our team split up into two groups and began surveying in opposite directions along the shore. We were on the lookout for aquatic invasive plants including water chestnut (Trapa natans) and hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata). These two species are spread easily between bodies of water and once established can be difficult to control. Luckily, neither of these two species were found, but we did find two other aquatic invasive species, Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus).
As we paddled along the shoreline, we made sure to make note of the terrestrial invasive species we could see from our kayaks. This included species such as purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), and narrowleaf (Typha angustifolia) and hybrid cattails (Typha ×glauca). Though these species have the tendency to take over, they were found sporadically along the east and west shorelines. At the north and south ends of the lake, these plants were found in higher abundance since the shoreline is not developed here like the rest of the lake.
There was a wide variety of native plants that the invasive species had to compete with at Silver Lake. There were plentiful water lilies (Nymphea odorata) and spatterdock (Nuphar advena) throughout the shallow areas of the lake. In marsh areas invasive cattails were scattered within the native broadleaf cattails (Typha latifolia). The Eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed were intertwined with some native aquatic plant species.
Surveys like this are necessary to evaluate the management needs of our natural areas. We were able confirm the presence of some invasive species, which will in turn, help determine appropriate management strategies. Surveys also establish a baseline of the species composition and density to determine if there are new species coming into the lake and if the current invasive species populations are increasing or decreasing.
This article was written by Tyler Christensen, 2016 WNY PRISM Invasive Species Management Assistant