Dr Jonathan Newman Pennywort invades Pevensey Levels Nov 2008Eichhornia crassipesDuck in callitricheWeed-covered drainage channelCrassula

Aquatic Plant Management

Aquatic plants are found in lakes, rivers and ponds across the UK, and play a vital role in all aquatic ecosystems. They produce oxygen, absorbing nutrients and helping to improve water quality, and stabilise lake shores and river banks, thereby protecting them from erosion. Aquatic plants provide food and important reproductive and cover habitats for fish, invertebrates, and wildlife. They also play an important role in supporting recreational activities such as fishing.

Aquatic Plant Management Group

The Aquatic Plant Management Group (formerly Centre for Aquatic Plant Management) is the only research group working on aquatic plant management in the UK. The group is based at CEH's Wallingford site.

Current research

The group focuses on understanding the mechanisms that enable the successful spread of non-native aquatic plants on and the economic and environmental impacts of such species. This enables the group to provide expert advice and information on the ecology and control of aquatic weeds and riparian plants – to regulatory authorities, flood defence organisations and nature conservation organisations – so as to prevent the establishment of invasive non-native plant species.

Much of this research is funded by the Environment Agency, British Waterways, internal drainage boards, regional flood defence committees and other interested parties.


The group collaborates with the NNSS (GB non-native species secretariat) and with international organisations such as CABI and EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation) on the biological control and risk assessment of aquatic plants.

The group also participates with colleagues in the Netherlands in the EUPHRESCO (EUropean PHytosanitary RESearch COordination) Phytosanitary ERA-Net project to develop methods for eradicating and containing invasive alien (non-native) aquatic and riparian weed species relevant to the Netherlands, the UK and the wider EU.

Robson Meeting

This is an open annual event started in 1968 to encourage discussion between aquatic biologists and flood defence engineers. It now regularly attracts 140 delegates a year over two days in February.

The 43rd meeting took place in Cambridgeshire on 15th and 16th February, 2011. To access notes of the proceedings, please go to the Robson Meeting website.


Aquatic plant datasheets

The following datasheets on common aquatic and riparian weeds and their control are available in PDF. Please note that the use of herbicides in Europe is governed by EU Plant Protection Products Directive EU/91/414.

Selected publications


Dr Jonathan Newman, Head of Aquatic Plant Management

Dr Manuel A Duenas, Research Associate