Approximately $45-48 million annually (2013) is spent by state agencies, the federal government, water management districts, counties and cities to manage invasive plants in Florida's lakes, rivers, canals, marshes and swamps. Section 3 introduces the tools, or individual methods, devices, products, etc., that are available to control aquatic plants in Florida waters. There are about 60 different methods distributed among four general categories: biological, physical (also called cultural), chemical, and mechanical. Some of these are broad spectrum in their activity meaning they will control many (or all) plants species; for example, mechanical harvesters or shredders. Others are extremely selective like insect species researched and approved for release to control only one species, or one part, of an aquatic plant.
Basic information, including a brief history is presented for the four categories of aquatic plant control tools. Links to specific information on registration procedures and protocols is provided for biological and chemical controls. In addition to these categories, the section concludes with examples of how astute managers take advantage of environmental conditions; using them to enhance effectiveness or reduce the scope of management activities.