Aquatic Plant Research > Scientific Data on Aquatic Plant Communities > Wisconsin Standard Method to Collect Aquatic Plant Data
Aquatic Plant Research
Wisconsin Standard Method to Collect Aquatic Plant Data
Ten years ago, there was little agreement on how to collect data on aquatic plant communities. The use of different survey methods meant that results were impossible to compare from one region to the next. This prevented consistent reporting on lake ecology statewide and made it difficult to assess the outcomes of plant management. DNR Science Services developed and tested a sampling protocol to use across the whole state to describe the distribution and abundance of aquatic plants. The protocol uses a point-intercept sampling design, with sites located on a geo-referenced sampling grid laid out on the surface of lakes. The method returns comparable estimates of aquatic plant abundance and useful in making comparisons among lakes and assessing the efficacy of management actions. This is the current standardized sampling technique used in Wisconsin.
Managers, lake groups, and businesses use the data collected during aquatic plant surveys to make science-based recommendations that balance customer needs and produce beneficial ecological outcomes. To this end, we have created several tools that help make sense of aquatic plant community data.
DNR Science Services researchers share information, techniques and tools related to the point-intercept methodology with interested stakeholders.
Before settling on one standardized plant sampling method, DNR Science Services performed extensive methodological testing to ensure the collected data would be usable in comparisons across time and across space. We tested, refined, and published information on the method prior to implementing the approach statewide.