Impact of invasive alien species: the water hyacinth

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is an invasive aquatic plant of Union Concern native to the Amazon River, introduced in Europe during the 20th century. In recent years, it has become a serious problem in some Mediterranean river basins. The species changes the water environment, affecting native biodiversity, enhancing eutrophication, and might also boost the populations of mosquitoes. It also affects recreational activities such as fishing and boating.

Collaboration strategies between authorities such as in Spain and Portugal against Eichhornia crassipes are essential for the early detection, surveillance and research. New management protocol jointly prepared is a reference for future shared management in cross-border river basins.

Despite all the control actions taken during the past decade, with the involvement of many stakeholders and the economic efforts, the species has not been eradicated and overcomes winter conditions, keeping spreading along river basins.

Currently, containment measures are taking place in Montijo‚Äôs dam, Spain, to facilitate the removal of the plant, and in January 2019, new budget will be allocated to additional human resources and equipment to continue with the removal of this species in Guadiana River. 

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