Nutrient over-enrichment, reduction in water quality and habitat loss are threats to aquatic beds.
Aquatic beds are an extremely diverse group of communities. They are found in fresh water or saline environments as well as in shallow or deepwater. Each of the five major systems includes aquatic beds as one of its classes. Aquatic Beds are dominated by plants that grow principally on or below the surface of the water for most of the growing season in most years. Water regimes include subtidal, irregularly exposed, regularly flooded, permanently flooded, intermittently exposed, semipermanently flooded, and seasonally flooded. They are best developed in relatively permanent water or under conditions of repeated flooding. The plants are either attached to the substrate or float freely in the water above the bottom or on the surface. In the Riverine, Lacustrine, and Palustrine Systems, rooted vascular aquatic plants occur at all depths within the photic zone, usually in sheltered areas where there is little water movement. However, they also occur in the flowing water of the Riverine System, where they may be streamlined or flattened in response to high water velocities. Typical inland genera include pondweeds, horned pondweed Zannichellia palustris, ditch grasses Ruppia, wild celery, and waterweed Elodea. The riverweed Postostemum ceratophyllum is included in this class despite its lack of truly recognizable roots. Such habitats are vital for providing valuable shallow water habitat for many varieties of estuarine and open water fish (breeding and nursery areas) invertebrates such as crabs and shellfish, waterfowl, and many other species.