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Survey of Possibilities for the Reduction of Operation and Management Costs for _Salvinia molesta_ and Other Invasive Aquatic Weed Species by Identification of Productive and Potentially Profitable Use of Biomass Utilizing Zero Emission Research and Initi

Project ID: 4658
Principal Investigator: Denise Hosler
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2005 and 2006
Keywords: None

Research Question

* Can the biomass generated by invasive aquatic weeds that are interfering with water delivery and escalating operation and maintenance (O&M) costs be put to beneficial use (i.e., is it possible to find uses such as fish food, biogas generation or other fuel uses, mulch, or fertilizer generation that would reduce the O&M costs0?

* Could some of these activities create and environment that makes mechanical harvesting biomass a desirable commodity for native community members trying to sustain a living?

Need and Benefit

The ZERI concept was founded in 1994 and is based upon the principle of waste utilization through recycling and waste as a resource. An example of how the ZERI concept works is found in Mutare, Zimbabwe, where AIDs orphans were taught to grow mushrooms on water hyacinth substrates for a sustainable income. Last year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) experimented with the development a profitable use of tamarisk or saltcedar biomass on the Lower Colorado River with the Forest Product Research Station to include activities such as electricity generation.

Reclamation currently expends a large amount of its budget to manage and control invasive aquatic weed species such as giant salvinia and hydrilla. Disposal of the biomass that these aquatic species generate is generally not considered in the management decisions, since improvement of water delivery is the chief concern. The focus of this research project is to research, define, and perhaps develop beneficial community use for the biomass of these weed species in the future which would reduce some of Reclamation's management costs.

Some of the environmentally sensitive regions along the Rio Grande and Lower Colorado Rivers have native communities that can be encouraged to harvest aquatic weed biomass for profitable activities such as biogas production, fuel bricks, compost, mushroom substrate, fertilizer. In an economically depressed area, these activities can help to resolve several local issues while improving Reclamation's ability to move water.

Contributing Partners

None

Research Products

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This information was last updated on November 23, 2014
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