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Native Aquatic Plant Monitoring



Native aquatic plant monitoring is a relatively new type of volunteer lake monitoring, which involves collecting data on a lake’s native aquatic plant community. These activities are repeated every 2-3 years to track changes in the abundance and distribution of these species. Aquatic plant identification training is provided by the CLMN Educator, usually at the lake being monitored. Native plant monitoring is broken down into three levels, which a volunteer can choose from depending on their familiarity with aquatic plant identification and the amount of time they have available.  


Level I 

Volunteers collect and preserve a sample of each aquatic plant species in their lake (or take pictures of each) and send them to the CLMN Educator for identification. The plants in the photos/samples will be identified and returned to the volunteer as a reference collection. 

Level II 

Volunteers note general categories of plants (submergent, emergent, and floating-leaf plants) around their lake on a map. They also collect a sample (or photograph) of each aquatic plant species to send to the CLMN Educator for identification, and these samples are returned. 

Level III 

Volunteers learn to identify the aquatic plants of their lake, and create a map of the general species distribution around the lake. Again, volunteers collect samples (or photographs) of each aquatic plant species for ID verification by the CLMN Educator, and these are returned to the volunteer.  


Native Aquatic Plant Monitoring How-to Video


Coming soon!

Native Aquatic Plant Monitoring Training Manual

Coming soon!


Native Aquatic Plant Monitoring Forms

Coming soon!


Native Aquatic Plant Monitoring Resources

This delightful, large-format field guide to aquatic plants in North America is accessible and inviting to general readers, yet detailed enough for use by botanists and natural resource managers.

Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest (Fourth Edition)

Over 570 high-resolution, color photographs fill this easy-to-use field guide. Beginners to the world of aquatic plants will enjoy the easy descriptions and abundant photographs, while more advanced biologists will appreciate the comprehensive treatments, dichotomous keys, and other resources. It covers 164 species in total, including both native and non-native species, over 20 species of macro-algae (Chara, Nitella, etc.), and an appendix of non-native species in nearby states that are threatening to invade our region in the future.



What else can volunteers monitor?

For more information contact
Paul Skawinski, Citizen Lake Monitoring Network Educator
(715) 346-4853
Or go to
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources site
at (exit UWEX Lakes)​​​​​​
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