The European Frog Bit is native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. It was brought to The Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Canada from Europe in 1932.
Frog Bit was originally intended to be used as a commercial ornamental plant.
Frog Bit was found in the Rideau Canal in the year 1939 and has spread to several other rivers since.
Impacts of the european Frog bit
The European Frog Bit’s growth is fast. It also forms dense floating mats. These mats prevent sunlight from reaching drenched plants and crowd out the native species that live there. This is reducing biodiversity. Because Frog Bit forms dense mats it can limit nutrients and dissolve gasses to native organisms in the water and soil below. They can interfere with swimming, boating, fishing and waterfalls.
Some large areas of Frog Bit die in the fall and decompose. They then fall to the bottom of the lake. When this happens each year, a large amount of decomposing plant material accumulates in water bodies causing dissolved oxygen levels to decrease drastically in the water and aquatic life can be affected. If there isn’t enough oxygen, then fish and other aquatic organisms can die.
Heavy hordes of European Frog Bit can obstruct swimmers and boaters, prevent recreational waterways from other uses, and clog drainage from canals and streams.
European Frog Bit has the potential to become a serious problem for aquatic systems because it can dominate wetlands or water bodies within 5 years of establishing them. It can also destroy waterfalls and fish habitat and make boating impossible.
Efforts to control frogbit
There aren’t any control measures right now but a temporary solution is to remove them mechanically so that boaters are able to use the lake. European Frog Bit is one of the many aquatic plants that are sold in the water garden trade. It’s a good idea to buy native aquatic plants to prevent accidental release if you have a water garden. If you are a water gardener you should isolate their gardens from runoff that may lead to waterways of storm sewers. Also minimize the use of ornamental and non-native plant species in your garden.
Sue Smith reached out to local experts on invasive plants and they were able to work for 3 years, develop a methodology and get the percent of Frog Bit down to volunteer manageable levels. They spent a couple of days a week trying to get as much as they could. No one had ever dealt with Frog Bit before. Help from volunteers is crucial to keeps some bays from being choked by Frog Bit.
What Can YOU Do?
You should also always empty your bait bucket on land or in the trash and never realize your bait into lakes, rivers, or streams. You can inspect your boat, tackle, trailer and other equipment for plants parts, and drain all the water from your motor. Remove all plant or animal material and dispose of in any in an appropriate container. Do the same thing for any clothing you wear in the water for example waders, float coats and life jackets. Flush all fishing equipment with hot water. This is done to remove biological contaminants including nets, down riggers, planer boards, decoys and paddles. Remember not to drain the wash water from this treatment into other not infested waterways or storm sewers that may lead to other waters. Lastly, dispose of unwanted plants in the garbage ONLY after completely drying them.
For a small infestation you can physically remove them by pulling them out and removing all plant parts and roots from the water. You should also never move fish or bait from one lake to another. It is relied on all to help monitor the spread of frog bit.