Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Harold A. Kantrud
Northern Prairie Science Center
Early in this century, McAtee (1915) noted that "bays that have kept their wigeon-grass have kept their ducks; those in which the plant has been destroyed by influxes of mud and filling up of the inlets have lost them." The plant remains abundant in some areas (Chabreck 1972), but nevertheless has continued to decline in many wetlands that have a history of substantial use by waterfowl (Saunders and Saunders 1981). Thus, efforts are underway in several countries to restore wigeongrass and other important waterfowl food plants to their former abundance. The success of these endeavors requires applying a thorough knowledge of the life histories and environmental requirements of these taxa.
There are two brief life histories of wigeongrass (Stevenson and Confer 1978; Wallentinus 1979) and several dozen important papers on the effects of various environmental variables on the plant. The most comprehensive work on wigeongrass is a series describing the autecology, synecology, production, consumption, and decomposition of Ruppia-dominated communities in western Europe (Verhoeven 1979, 1980a,b). Wigeongrass receives little use as a test plant for laboratory culture and has few properties objectionable to humans. Thus, little information is available on the physiology and control of wigeongrass. However, because wigeongrass is important to waterfowl, considerable information is available on methods to establish and manage wigeongrass. Much of this information comes from studies in the southern and southeastern United States.
This report outlines the life history and management of R. maritima, probably the most important of all Ruppia taxa for wildlife, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Information in this report comes mostly from papers written in English or with English summaries.
Kantrud, Harold A. 1991. Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): A literature Review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fish and Wildlife Research 10. 58pp.This resource should be cited as:
Kantrud, Harold A. 1991. Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): A literature Review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fish and Wildlife Research 10. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/plants/ruppia/index.htm (Version 16JUL97).