Brazilian Elodea - Provincial EDRR Species(Egeria densa)
Brazilian elodea is the most aggressive aquatic aquarium trade plant species globally and it is recognized under the Province’s Early Detection Rapid Response program. At this time, the infestation is localized to one area. It was recently released into the Richmond’s open drainage system; likely from an unwanted aquarium. It forms dense mats up to 4 metres deep in still and flowing water sources.
Project Update: January 2018
In partnership with the Province of BC, the City of Richmond has begun works to manage an isolated infestation of Brazilian elodea, an aggressive aquatic invasive species. Brazilian elodea is one of the City's priority species under the Invasive Species Action Plan and is a candidate species for the provincially-mandated Early Detection Rapid Response Plan as it can clog drainage infrastructure and displace native vegetation. Initial efforts now underway focus on draining a portion of the water feature to expose the elodea to colder temperatures as a trial and monitor the survival response in the coming spring. This technique has demonstrated positive results in North America at similar latitudes and can be applied to the remaining infestation if proven successful here.
Description and Identification
Brazilian elodea is easily confused with other similar-looking aquatic plants. It is usually submerged, but can form dense mats on the surface of water. Leaves grow in whorls around the plants stem, making it appear very leafy. In the spring and summer, Brazilian elodea blooms with small, white, three-petal flowers that float on top of the water or slightly above.
Impacts on the Environment
Brazilian elodea adversely affects aquatic ecosystems by forming dense mat canopies that shade out native vegetation. Extensive mono-specific stands of Brazilian elodea cause poor habitat conditions for fish and other wildlife. It restricts water movement and traps sediments subsequently altering the chemical and physical characteristics of the ecosystem and decreasing local biodiversity.
Brazilian elodea can also have negative economic impacts, as it clogs rivers and drainage canals which then require constant maintenance and attention. In ponds and rivers it makes recreational activities such as fishing, swimming and boating difficult or impossible. It impedes flood capacity and storm drain systems which increases municipal maintenance costs.
The City is working in partnership with the Province of BC to determine an effective eradication strategy.
For More Information:
Phone: Invasive Plant Phone Line 604-276-4316
British Columbia’s Brazilian Elodea Factsheet