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FLMS Position on Current FWC IPM Pause

February 15, 2019

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Mr. Eric Sutton
Executive Director
620 South Meridian St.
Tallahassee FL, 32399

Dear Executive Director Sutton,

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) invasive plant management program has a history of successful management of Florida’s natural resources, through the scientifically sound implementation of best management practices.  The Florida Lake Management Society (FLMS) supports protecting our native aquatic communities from invasive plant species through the use of best management practices and utilization of all available tools to achieve this goal.

FLMS is a professional society established in 1987 and represents over 300 lake managers and researchers statewide.  The mission of FLMS is to provide environmental professionals, students, and citizens support in their efforts to protect and preserve Florida’s fragile aquatic ecosystems.   This is accomplished by promoting and providing a forum for exchanging information and experiences on scientific, administrative, and financial aspects of lake and watershed management. Two primary objectives of FLMS are to assist in the development of local lake protection and restoration programs in accordance with appropriate management strategies, and to foster a partnership for the mutual benefit of organizations, agencies, local and regional units of government, and individuals concerned with lake and watershed improvement and protection.

Based on the missions and objectives of FLMS and in response to the FWC directive to “pause” the aquatic plant management program, the FLMS Board of Directors has adopted the attached resolution position statement in support of the FWC invasive plant management program.  Further, the FLMS Board encourages decision and policymakers to use the vast scientific research available to make informed and scientifically based recommendations.  We thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Florida Lake Management Society
Board of Directors

 

Florida Lake Management Society (FLMS)

Resolution Position Statement: Re: “Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) State Funded Program for Management of Aquatic Plants”

Passed by the FLMS Board of Directors on February 15, 2019

 

RESOLVED, The Board of Directors of the Florida Lake Management Society adopts the following statement as the official Florida Lake Management Society position on “FWC State Funded Program for the Management of Aquatic Plants in public waters:”

The Florida Lake Management Society (FLMS) is a professional society established in 1987 and represents over 300 lake managers and researchers statewide.  The mission of FLMS is to provide environmental professionals, students, and citizens support in their efforts to protect and preserve Florida’s fragile aquatic ecosystems.   This is accomplished by promoting and providing a forum for exchanging information and experiences on scientific, administrative, and financial aspects of lake and watershed management. FLMS supports protecting and improving Florida’s water quality and ecosystems. Additionally, FLMS supports protecting our native aquatic communities from invasive plant species through the use of best management practices and utilization of sound scientific research to achieve both of these goals.

FLMS stands in support of the longstanding and successful invasive plant management program administered statewide by FWC and federally by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Management of invasive/exotic species is an integral part of aquatic resource management in Florida and is imperative for protecting and restoring freshwater habitats.  Chemical treatment is a necessary and effective tool for managing aquatic systems. Without a management tool like herbicide applications, the impacts will be seen quickly, could be quite detrimental, and cost prohibitive.

While FWC implements sound science with their applications for invasive plant management, its operations upholds the safeguards administered by the Clean Water Act via their NPDES permit and continued compliance. Underneath Federal scrutiny, FWC activities are already regulated to protect Florida’s waterways under the guidance of the Clean Water Act.

In the short term, a pause will lead to expansion of exotic species which will counteract previous control strategies and promote loss of habitat.  In the long term, a pause will have negative impacts related to flood protection, public health, plant diversity, fishery recruitment, navigation, and recreational opportunities. All of these factors will lead to an increase in expenditures while simultaneously reducing the tools available for treatment by private, local, and state groups to manage aquatic ecosystems across the state.  Therefore, we support the continuation of FWC’s invasive plant management program in public waterbodies statewide.


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Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Notification

 

The department announces the availability of the 2019 Strategic Monitoring Plans and IWR Run 56 database. These plans represent the water quality and biological monitoring needs identified by the department in preparation for basin assessments as part of the watershed management approach.

The Watershed Assessment Section developed the 2019 strategic monitoring plans available here to assist in assessing the health of Florida's surface waters by conducting biological assessments and water quality sampling. These activities are carried out by seven Regional Operation Center (ROCs) located throughout the department’s six District offices and by staff in Tallahassee. This extensive monitoring effort is accomplished through coordination with water management districts, city and county governments.  

The data collected from these efforts is used to evaluate Florida's surface waters through the application of the Impaired Waters Rule (Chapter 62-303, Florida Administrative Code) assessment methodology. These monitoring efforts focus on collecting data where there may be shortfalls. These data are combined with other data available to the department by many other data providers and will be uploaded to the Watershed Information Network (WIN), formerly Florida STORET.   

Monitoring data collected is used to assess the waterbody health and for those waterbodies that are verified as impaired, provides data used to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and evaluate implementation of Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs).

In addition, the department has posted the IWR Run 56 database available for download.  Data for Run 56 was extracted on November 30, 2018 from WIN, STORET, USGS, and SBIO.   

For additional information on the development of the strategic monitoring plans, IWR Run database, or on the watershed management approach, please contact Kevin O'Donnell by phone at: 850-245-8469 or by email.

For additional information on water quality and biological monitoring site locations, please visit the Water Quality Monitoring Activity Tracker (MAT). The MAT is an interactive web-map application showing the locations where the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration staff conducts water quality and biological monitoring.

Thank you,

Kevin

Kevin O'Donnell
Environmental Administrator
Watershed Assessment Section
Division of Environmental Assessment & Restoration
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Rd MS#3560
Tallahassee, FL 32399
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 850.245.8469

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The Ten Most Important Invasive Species or Invasive Species Assemblages in North America in 2015.

The North American Invasive Species Network (NAISN) was formed in 2010 by university and government scientists across North America.Once a year, NAISN identifies the ten most important invasive species or assemblages based on their ability to invade a wide geographice area of public lands and waterways, ecological or economic impacts and potential for human health impacts.

Click here to see 2015's top ten.

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Florida Water Resources Monitoring Council Announces Release of the Water-CAT

www.water-cat.org

Comprehensive, online catalog featuring statewide water monitoring efforts

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Water Resources Monitoring Council has released  the "Water-CAT," an interactive, searchable, web-enabled catalog of Florida-based monitoring efforts which was developed under contract by the University of South Florida’s Center for Community Design and Research. The catalog was developed for resource managers, agencies, universities, policymakers, and members of the public to facilitate access to information on marine, freshwater, groundwater, sediment and biological monitoring within the state. The Water-CAT will expedite data sharing, increase the availability of information, improve resource management, and minimize duplicative monitoring efforts.

“The Water-CAT will be an invaluable resource for DEP and partner agencies,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “We are enthusiastic about employing tools like the Water-CAT that can help us coordinate and achieve water restoration more quickly and with more information.”

The Water-CAT allows both basic and advanced searches by organization, monitoring project, station location, monitoring frequency, time range, sampled parameters and other pertinent data. Searches are designed to be downloadable and can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet, or into a KML file to display information as geographic points on Google Earth. Currently the Water-CAT contains monitoring data from approximately 74 organizations and nearly 105,000 monitoring stations across the state. The Water-CAT will continue to add new organizations, monitoring stations and other data, as well as links to the data source moving forward.

The Florida Water Resources Monitoring Council, chaired by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, is a coordinating body of 21 stakeholders that participate in water resource monitoring and management. The Council is charged with informing, planning and coordinating water resource monitoring efforts at the state, local, and federal levels.

The Council strives to focus on pertinent, meaningful projects and products to advance high-quality, integrated water resource monitoring in Florida.

 

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EPA Approves DO Criteria for Florida

On September 9, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the revisions to Florida's criteria for Dissolved Oxygen (DO) as part of the recent Triennial Review of surface water quality standards. As noted in EPA's approval letter, EPA approved the DO related provisions in Chapters 62-302 and 62-303, Florida Administrative Code, and nutrient related water quality standards for the Tidal Peace River. The remaining revisions adopted as part of Triennial Review are still under review by EPA and will be addressed under separate cover at a later date. The approval letter and EPA's Decision Document for their approval have been posted to the Department's website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/dissoxy.htm. In addition, the final Technical Support Document for DO has also been posted. The revised DO criteria are now in effect and apply to both fresh and marine waters.

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DEP Submits Status Report on NNC to Governor

As required under Chapter 2013-71, Laws of Florida, and as Part of the "Path Forward" Agreement with EPA, the Department submitted a report to the Governor and Florida Legislature, titled "Report to the Governor and Legislature: Status of Efforts to Establish Numeric Interpretations of the Narrative Nutrient Criterion for Florida Estuaries and Current Nutrient Conditions of Unimpaired Waters," dated August 1, 2013. The report has been posted to DEP's website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/index.htm. Chapter 2013-71 and the report have also been submitted to EPA.

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Criteria posted for Estuary-specific NNC's

The Department of Environmental Protection submitted to EPA the estuary-specific numeric interpretations of the narrative nutrient criteria for the following estuaries: Perdido Bay, Pensacola Bay (including Escambia Bay), Choctawhatchee Bay, St. Andrew Bay, St. Joseph Bay, Apalachicola Bay, Suwannee Sound, Withlacoochee River, Waccasassa River, Springs Coast (Crystal River to Anclote River), Loxahatchee River, Lake Worth Lagoon, Halifax River, Guana River/Tolomato River/Matanzas River (GTM), and Nassau River. The Department also submitted numeric nutrient standards for remotely-sensed chlorophyll a for coastal offshore waters. All of these criteria have been posted on our website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/nutrients/index.htm.

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University of Florida Hydrilla IPM RAMP

Learn about the research and control methods being developed to help fight hydrilla at UFs Entomology Department.  Visit the website at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/hydrilla.

Hydrilla is an invasive freshwater plant that causes serious environmental and economic problems in Florida. Hence, natural resource managers, research scientists, and extension specialists are evaluating new sustainable strategies for implementation in a statewide hydrilla IPM plan.

The USDA-funded project, Hydrilla IPM RAMP, is expected to reduce management costs and minimize the risk for herbicide resistance. By combining biological with chemical controls, the project will create more favorable recreational areas on lakes and rivers that have become almost unusable because of the dense surface mats associated with hydrilla infestations.

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Volunteer with Aquiferwatch!

Do you have a well on your property?Do you live in Northwest Florida? Interested in volunteering?

A new group called AquiferWatch is looking for volunteers to measure ground-water levels in north Florida. Volunteers will use specialized equipment to take a measurement from their own well once a month. Training for this activity takes no more than one hour.

Data collected for AquiferWatch will supplement groundwater data already collected by the FL Department of Environmental Protection and the NW FL Water Management District. There is much less data from the panhandle than from the peninsula of Florida, so AquiferWatch is turning to volunteers for help.

If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more, please contact Sarah Kalinoski of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance at 850-517-6843 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She will be coordinating individual on-site training sessions with AquiferWatch once they are able to gauge the level of interest in the NW Florida area.

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Mobile Field Guide to Florida Invasive Plants

FLIP is a new mobile field guide that can be accessed by a computer, smart phone, tablet or other device with internet browser capability.  Developed by the University of South Florida, FLIP currently contains 20 plants:  19 of the 2011 Category I invasive species and one of the 2011 Category II invasive species as designated by the Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council (FLEPPC), and will be expanded to include more. 

Check out the app at www.orange.wateratlas.org/flip

While there, why not check out the whole atlas at www.wateratlas.org

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How much pollution can your lake handle?  Visit FDEP's interactive site "Basin411"

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"The Economic Analysis of the FDEP Proposed Numeric Nutrient Criteria in Florida”, by Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis, FL State University.  Jan 20, 2012.

 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/nutrients/docs/nnc_economic_analysis_final_report.pdf

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EPA Response letter to DEP's Nutrient Criteria Petition.

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Florida LAKEWATCH report on Florida lakes failing the new current numeric nutrient criteria. Read the report here.

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Springer, the publisher of CERF's peer-reviewed journal Estuaries and Coasts, is providing free access ('Open Access') to the articles published on past oil spills affecting coastal environments, to increase the availability of information relevant to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

To access these articles, use the following link: http://springerlink.com/content/120846/?k=oil+spill

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Coal Tar Sealant Largest Source of PAHs in Lakes: Read about this environmental health concern at USGS's newsroom at http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2651

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