Mexican mosquito fern (Azolla mexicana) is a tropical to subtropical species of floating aquatic fern that can form thick extensive mats in lakes, ponds, ditches, and quiet areas of streams. It is found globally in North, Central, and South America, and reaches the northern limit of its range in south-central British Columbia. This species is listed as Threatened on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). It was first discovered in British Columbia in 1889 by John Macoun, and is found today within three general locales in the province: (1) the Little Fort/North Thompson River area, (2) the Shuswap Lake area, and (3) Vernon. In these areas, 10 populations have been reported in the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) status report, of which two are now assumed as extirpated. Since the status report surveys, one new subpopulation of Mexican mosquito fern was discovered at Salmon Arm in 2013 on an artificially created island. As well, an unconfirmed species of Azolla was found in 2014, and again in 2015, near Kelowna at Michaelbrook Marsh. The species identification has proven to be problematic and this location is therefore not included in this recovery plan.
The main threat to Mexican mosquito fern in the province is transportation corridor maintenance. In these situations, maintenance activities such as winter road salting, road construction or improvement, and herbicide treatments can either directly kill plants or affect water conditions, changing water chemistry and making sites unsuitable for the species. Other potential threats include events such as chemical and oil spills, water chemistry changes, water level, turbidity, or watercourse alteration. Broad strategies to address the threats include site protection and site management, potential re-introduction and/or restoration at sites, and population monitoring to assess threats.
The recovery goal for Mexican mosquito fern is to maintain the distribution, and to maintain or (where feasible) increase the abundance, of all known extant populations of this species as well as any other populations identified and/or re-established.....
Ministry of Environment. 2016. Recovery Plan for Mexican Mosquito Fern (Azolla mexicana) in British Columbia. Province of BC. Recovery Plan
Topic: Recovery Planning
Scientific Name: Azolla mexicana
English Name: Mexican Mosquito Fern
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