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More than 100 species of aquatic plants grow in Nebraska. Some are entirely submersed for their whole lives, others produce floating leaves and flowers, and still others stand upright, with only their lower stems in water. Examples of these are shown here in this publication.
Vigorous and diverse colonies of aquatic plants are usually a sign of healthy and stable aquatic environments. In fact, the plants themselves stabilize the shorelines, underwater soils, and water chemistry. Waters rich with aquatic plants are rich with aquatic animals and waterfowl, which find cover, breeding habitat, and abundant food. Non-alkaline waters have more aquatic plants than alkaline waters but, in the absence of pollution, both waters have stable communities. However, excessive nutrients from pollution by sewage and runoff from cropfields stimulate rampant growth by a few species that overwhelm the others, leading to decreases in aquatic plant and animal species. Most Sandhills waters are unpolluted and their aquatic floras are stable, but that is not the case for many streams and reservoirs elsewhere in the state.