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Florida's Land Grant University

Visit this exhibit for free from September 29th, 2012 through January 2nd, 2013 at:

Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida Cultural Plaza
3215 Hull Road
Gainesville, FL 32611-2710

Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun 1-5 p.m.

Florida Museum of Natural History

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View the Smithsonian Folklife Festival site for more about the exhibit

Protecting Florida Waters from Invasive Plants

Invasive plants grow uncontrolled, harming our ecosystems and economy.

Invasive plants

  • Reduce light and oxygen for native species
  • Limit boating, fishing, swimming and other recreation
  • Reduce biodiversity and threaten endangered species
  • Disrupt water and electrical supplies

Native plants

  • Create a balanced ecosystem
  • Provide food and shelter for native wildlife
  • Enhance water quality
  • Contribute to pleasant outdoor experiences (fishing, hunting, nature watching)
  1. Florida Waters: Ours to Protect (YouTube)
  2. Why We Manage Aquatic Invasive Plants (YouTube)

Invasive Aquatic Plants

  1. Hydrilla

    Hydrilla, a submersed invasive aquatic plant, costs nearly $20 million each year to control in Florida's canals, lakes, rivers, springs, and flood control structures.

  2. Water Hyacinth

    Floridians have been challenged to keep water hyacinth under control since the late 1800s. Best management practices developed in the past 30 years, have reduced infestations of this floating aquatic plant significantly.

  3. Water Lettuce

    Water lettuce, another invasive aquatic plant, forms large floating mats on the water surface, blocking the exchange of oxygen from the air into the water. The loss of oxygen can result in low water quality and have a harmful effect on fish and wildlife.

You can help!

  1. Remove plant matter from boats and trailers after use
  • Remove plants from boats and equipment
  • Don't move plants from one water-body to another
  • Never empty aquariums into any body of water - not even a ditch
  • Always put unwanted aquarium plants in household trash
  • Tell your family and friends about the danger of invasive plants
  • Volunteer to remove invasive plants

UF in Action

UF researchers develop environmentally sound techniques for controlling invasive plants and protecting wetlands:

  • Testing and improving control methods for invasive aquatic plants.
  • Collaborating with scientists in Burundi to identify insects to be used as biological control agents, for limiting the growth of invasive hydrilla in Florida.
    See biological control brochure (PDF)
  • Collecting samples of a leaf-mining fly that works with other pathogens to attack hydrilla, a weed that clogs many Florida waterways.
  • Studying weevils that may be useful in controlling Brazilian peppertree, one of Florida's most troublesome invasive plants.
  • Providing expertise on improving control and removal techniques for hydrilla, one of Florida's worst invasive plants.

Extra Resources