Scope of Aquatic Plant Management in Florida Waters
Florida has more than 100 years of experience managing aquatic plants, beginning in 1899 when Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove water hyacinths obstructing navigation in Florida rivers. The Florida Legislature has since designated the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as the lead agency in the state to “direct the control, eradication, and regulation of noxious aquatic weeds and direct the research and planning related to these activities. . . so as to protect human health, safety, and recreation and, to the greatest degree practicable, prevent injury to plant and animal life and property.” Accordingly, the FWC administers three programs under the Florida Aquatic Weed Control Act in which pesticides may be applied in, over, or near waters of the U.S. in order to control aquatic plants.