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Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants Logo    Information and Education

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants Logo    Information and Education

  • Native
  • Nonnative
  • Invasive

What’s the Deal with Invasives in Florida?

The state of Florida is considered a ‘poster child for invasives’ - with its miles of coastline, fifteen ports of entry, thousands of daily visitors, and subtropical climate, many plants can survive and even thrive once they get here. Invasive plants can become problematic because they:

  • Reduce desirable native plant populations and biodiversity
  • Damage wildlife habitat
  • Block navigation and flood control
  • Prevent recreational activities (boating, fishing, swimming)
  • Reduce tourism and property values
  • Clog drinking, irrigation and hydroelectric power water pipes

Florida’s History with Invasive Aquatic Plants

Florida’s history with invasive aquatic plants spans over 100 years, beginning in the late 1800s. When trade, travel, and populations expanded, so did invasive plants. In fact, water hyacinth first started to wreak havoc in the St. John’s River around the 1890s, causing bridges to break and travel and trade to a stop. This situation was so great that congress intervened and charged the US Army Corps of Engineers to find solutions to this growing problem. This is what many experts mark as the beginning of invasive plant management.

To learn more, we invite you to listen to our podcast episodes: The Green Menace Part 1 and Part 2.

Florida's Lakes and Landscapes

Thousands of lakes are sprinkled all throughout the state of Florida. They can be anywhere from several hundred square miles, like Lake Okeechobee, to less than an acre, like the retention pond found in your neighborhood. Every lake has its own 'personality' or unique set of characteristics when it comes to water quality, plant biodiversity, and the wildlife that call it home. Lakes are important because they protect our environment by providing habitat for wildlife and a place for people to enjoy nature whether that's boating, birdwatching, fishing, kayaking, swimming, or waterskiing just to name a few. Lakes also help with flood control, irrigation, water supply, and navigation. To learn more about how unique Florida's lakes are we encourage you to listen to our episode: Florida's Lakes and Landscapes.

The UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) is a research, teaching, and extension unit located just north of the main Gainesville campus.

The Center supports agencies and organizations committed to managing aquatic and invasive plants while also informing the public about the impacts of invasive aquatic and natural area weedy plant species. UF/IFAS CAIP is a team of scientists and staff that are working on a variety of research projects that examine the impact of invasive plant species.