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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