Endangered water plant abloom in a Latvian lake

In an effort to preserve a rare and endangered species of water plant named Dortmann's cardinalflower (Lobelia Dortmanna), swimming in the Ummis lake, situated in the nature park “Piejūra” in the Carnikava municipality, will be prohibited from June 1 to August 15, informed the Nature Protection Board (DAP).

DAP notes that the Ummis lake is one of the few remaining clear-water lakes in Latvia, and therefore happens to be an environment specially suited for Dortmann's cardinalflower – the only species of the genus Lobelia to be found in Latvia.

In the last 100 years, the plant has disappeared from over 20 lakes due to rapid weed overgrowth and water pollution.

“This tiny, delicate flower has adapted to a life in the water. It takes root in the lake bed at shallow depth, and is thus often encountered close to shore. In July, it lifts a 40-70 centimeter long stalk and blooms with white blossoms, letting the seeds mature above water. The biggest threat to the flower is the contamination of the lake water with pollutants of organic origin, caused by the large numbers of people swimming in it.

"As a result of frequent recreation, the color of the Ummis lake water has changed from blue-green to green, while the transparency of the water has decreased from six to five meters in 1906. and to three meters in 2017”, DAP noted

To avoid disturbing the flowering of the plant, government regulations have been in force for 13 years and prohibit not only swimming but also boating on the Ummis lake from June 1 to August 15.

DAP inspectors will be monitoring compliance with the regulatory enactments in the vicinity of Lake Ummis. There are also signs proclaiming the prohibition spread around the territory.

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