Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Management Minute: The Florida FWC Aquatic Plant Control Program

The State of Florida is no stranger to aquatic plant management with more than 100 years of experience controlling aquatic weeds.  Beginning in 1899 with the removal of water hyacinth, the state now controls a wide variety of plants from submersed dioecious hydrilla to emergent west Indian marshgrass, and several other species in between.  The state has a long, rich history of plant management, research, and restoration and maintains one of the largest budgets for controlling invasive weeds in the nation.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the entity designated to spearhead such efforts in the state.  Although not the only choice for management, chemical control using herbicides is often the most effective and cost-effective means to control several of the invaders present in Florida.  The FWC currently administers three programs is which such control is used in, over, or near waters of the State to control aquatic plants.  These programs include state funded management of the public waters of Florida, permitted control of water bodies, and management of conservation-area lands considered the property of the U.S.  The state funds management of nearly 65,000 acres in nearly 400 public water bodies to ensure the use AND enjoyment of those resources by various stakeholders.  The FWC also has funded more than 180 research projects to improve existing native plant habitat and stifle the deleterious effects of invasive species.  The FWC also supports a wide variety of education and outreach opportunities.  Through partnership with the University of Florida, the FWC helps maintain and build the world's most extensive source for invasive plant management.
Water Hyacinth, a troublesome invader in several southern U.S. states
Photo Credit:  Larry McCord
UF-IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

UF-Plant Management in Florida Waters

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program was created under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act to regulate point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. including point-source discharges from the application of pesticides.  As required by the NPDES, Florida FWC submits annually a report of all pesticide use for control of aquatic plants in the State.

FWC NPDES Annual Report (2013)

FWC aquatic plant control program annual report 2012-2013

For more information about the FWC's Aquatic Plant Control Program, visit their website.  For more information on the NPDES permitting process, visit the AERF website and select "NPDES" under "Current Topics".

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for more from AERF's Aquatic Update!  


1 comment:

  1. Nice work Brett. Thanks for all your doing for the industry.