Rooted-Floating Aquatics

This tool lists various Habitat Fact Sheets developed by the Region 5 Regional Response Team. To suggest additions to this tool, please contact Barbi Lee. Click here for Inland Response Tactics Manual.

Water lilies in emergent marshWhite Water Lily <i>Nymphaea odorata</i>Bed of white water liliesSpatterdock <i>Nuphar spp.</i>Spatterdock <i>Nuphar spp.</i>Nonnative Water Lily <i>Nymphaea spp.</i>American Lotus ColonyAmerican Lotus FlowerAmerican Lotus Leaves

I. Habitat Description

Rooted-Floating Aquatics (RFA) represent portions of lakes, ponds, marshes, backwaters, or channel borders that are >10% vegetated with water lilies (Nymphaea and Nuphar) or American Lotus (Nelumbo). This general class is dominated by rooted-floating aquatics, but may have inclusions of submersed, nonrooted-floating aquatics, or emergent vegetation. It is typically found growing between water depths of 0.25 and 2 m. This general class remains permanently flooded all year.

II. Sensitivity to Oil Spills

Due to proximity to shorelines and establishment in shallow water, the rooted floating aquatics habitat is highly sensitive to oil spills. Floating vegetation provides cover for several species of amphibians and fish. It is also important habitat for invertebrates. Many fish, invertebrates, and amphibious species deposit eggs on rooted floating vegetation.  Light refined oils with high amounts of water-soluble fractions can cause acute mortality to animals and plants in these shallow habitats. Heavier oils tend to coat vegetation and animals, though the vegetation may survive because the roots are not affected. It is more difficult for more viscous oils to penetrate dense vegetation beds. However, these oils can smother water lily beds. Above all, oil reduces plant and animal tolerance to other environmental stress factors.

III. Sensitivity to Response Methods

Relevant response tactics are ordered below by least-to-most adverse habitat impact. Bullet points list quick-reference information regarding the tactic; any potential adverse impacts of its use; and suggestions for mitigation of these impacts if available. This is not intended to preclude the use of any particular tactic, but rather to aid responders in choosing the tactic(s) best suited to a specific habitat. For more information on a tactic, click on it or go to the corresponding section in the Inland Response Tactics Manual.