Kenai House Reps Sign Onto Elodea Bill

Posted: March 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Elodea_canadensis_dekussive_blaetterIt’s sold at pet stores as an aquarium decoration, but the elodea plant has taken over local waterways, choking out native species and making it dangerous to land aircraft.

 

The Kenai Peninsula’s House Representatives have all signed onto a bill which would make it illegal to import or sell elodea in Alaska. Soldotna’s Rep. Kurt Olson authored HB 344; Rep. Mike Chenault of Nikiski and Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer joined as co-sponsors.

 

The invasive weed has been identified locally in Stormy and Daniels Lakes, and biologists are still reviewing other water bodies.

 

Elizabeth Bella from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge explains…

 

Bella: “Basically, the issue with elodea is that is spreads very rapidly, it grows very fast and it tends to clog up the entire waterway. There are some other sub-effects that occur, it can reduce the amount of oxygen present in the lake, which can in turn effect fish and wildlife populations that use the lake and it can also prevent fish from spawning in the lake.” 

 

To help, the Department is asking Alaskans to report Elodea sightings and get involved in eradication efforts. A detailed checklist on how Alaskans can identify and report Elodea is available here.  For information on preventative measures, visit the DNR website.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough has appropriated $40,000 to address the problem locally, and statewide a working group was established to address concerns statewide.

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