Floatplanes are a potential vector for Elodea introductions and we therefore identified lakes ≥ 1 km in length along their longest axis as “likely accessible” by floatplane and those 0.5 to less than 1.0 km in length as “possibly accessible”. This distance criterion was developed based on a review of lakes used for floatplane landings in the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge. Other features such as lake depth or shape, presence of obstructions, high waves, lack of appropriate approach to shore, etc., may result in inaccessibility of lakes longer than 1 km; however, these features are not readily assessed with GIS or other datasets at hand. Additionally, this approach only considers a component of the likelihood of Elodea transport and does not encompass habitat suitability (e.g., lake depths less than 9 feet, pH from 6.0-7.5, etc.), or probability/frequency of landings (e.g., lakes closer to urban centers, or those with greater recreational uses). Over 1,500 lakes and ponds are road accessible in the study area, with the majority located in the Fairbanks-North Pole area where Elodea is already known to occur. Elodea infestations in the state are primarily known from shallow lakes and ponds, indicating these waterbodies are particularly at risk. We identified 3,500 lakes in the region that are likely floatplane accessible, in which waterweed may be accidentally transported on float rudders. Smaller lakes with marginal accessibility to aircraft number nearly 11,000 in the study area.
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