Recycling nutrients and energy of Canadian waterweed

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Invasive alien species Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis) has spread to hundreds of lakes around Finland. In favorable growth conditions, like in many lakes in Koillismaa region in Northeastern Finland, waterweed can grow extensively and fill an entire bay or in worst case the whole lake. Waterweed spreads easily even with very small plant fragments and favors especially small euthrophicated lakes.

The massively growing waterweed causes severe damages to the ecology and use of the lakes. The waterweed dominates native macrophyte communities and its decomposition can lead to oxygen depletion and, consequently, to lake’s eutrophication.

The invasive waterweed mass makes the recreational use and economic utilization of a lake difficult or even impossible.


The project aims at finding cost-effective ways for utilization of the Canadian waterweed and thus to support the opportunities for economic and recreational use of the lakes. Our goal is to test different processing technologies for the plant biomass and to estimate economic aspects of using it for soil improvement, fertilization and biogas production. In addition, we aim to examine the ecological impacts of extensive plant removal on the lake status and to develop planning methods to minimize other harmful effects after removal of waterweed. Based on the results we will develop business model for profitable utilization of the waterweed.

Based on project’s results, it is possible to assess the technical and economic conditions for using the Canadian waterweed in agriculture and biogas production. In addition, it is possible to identify the development needs of processing technologies and agricultural machinery to be used in removing the biomass from the watercourse and utilizing it. Based on monitoring results, the methods for planning the removal of waterweed will also be developed in order to minimize the possible harmful effects of plant removal. Different target groups are informed about the results through various communication channels, on various recreational and professional events, local newspapers, professional journals, seminars and a final report.


More information

Ritva Nilivaara-Koskela, Project manager, firstname.surename(at)

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Published 2019-04-12 at 9:33, updated 2020-12-01 at 15:27