The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the macrophyte waterhyacinth on the water quality of a reservoir in Colombia. Postinvasion water quality assessments were performed during three different hydrological periods and compared with preinvasion data. The results show that water quality has improved, especially in terms of transparency, showing an increase in Secchi disk values from 0.3 to 2 m (1 to 6.6 ft). The analysis strongly suggests that the improvement in water quality is due to the filtering and precipitation effects provided by waterhyacinth. This case highlights the dilemma of managing an invasive species that provides a beneficial ecological service while posing a high ecological risk.
Nomenclature: Waterhyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms.