Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 Kissimmee Hydrilla and Lake Maps Now Available!

Map of abundance and location of hydrilla on Lake Kissimmee


Reduced-risk Herbicides & More Access to Maps

Most recreational users of our nation’s lakes admit that invasive plants and animals cause problems.  These accidental invaders infest our waterbodies, often clogging waterways and impacting the balance of the ecosystems. 
Hydrilla is one of those invaders, and widely managed because of its ability to overtake native plants at uncontrollable rates. 
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation (AERF) and several natural resource agencies have been actively evaluating several new, reduced-risk herbicides.  The results are expected to help guide water resource managers for selective Hydrilla control in lakes, rivers, canals, and reservoirs.  By being plant-specific, these herbicides will continue to support past practices of managing invasive plants while limiting impacts on non-target plants. 
As part of the herbicide evaluation process, mapping techniques are being improved.  These techniques are allowing resource managers to gather faster and more detailed information on plant locations, effectiveness of controls, and overall biomass reduction rates.  This highly detailed process gives plant managers something they did not have in the past, a nearly precise measurement of plant control. 
One example is the work being conducted by the Fish andWildlife Conservation Commission and University of Florida.  They evaluated the submersed plant communities on the four main Kissimmee Chain lakes in January, 2013.  From this information they were able to gage the impacts and regrowth potential from previous hydrilla control efforts.  These details will help them better plan where future hydrilla management may be needed in spring of 2013. 
The submersed plant images are posted with bathymetric maps for each of the four lakes of the Kissimmee Chain on the UF / FWC website.  Navigate down the webpage and select the first letter of the lake you are interested in viewing.

This website provides information on Florida waters, the role plants play in these systems, and answer the question of why some plants must be managed.  It also explains the many factors that managers consider when developing management programs. Especially useful is the information listing  management options and strategies that are available to water resource managers and user groups.
For those who enjoy the recreational outdoors these maps provide very valuable information.  Lake depth maps and plant location maps help boaters, swimmers, skiers, homeowners, hunters, and anglers.  Plant maps show duck hunters where to look for topped out plants and marshy areas, areas that boaters and swimmer probably want to avoid.  Maps also aid anglers in finding deep water to catch Crappie or an underwater plant bed to try their luck for Largemouth Bass.  There are two societies in Florida that I encourage everyone to review:  Florida Lake Management Society (FLMS) and the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society (FAPMS).  Both are local chapters of their national organizations and offer information for most states.
Technology is changing our lives and when done right it can provide more efficient, environmentally friendly ways to live. New low-risk herbicides will allow managers to continue controlling aquatic weeds while reducing impacts on desirable plants.  New mapping techniques also provide resource managers better measurement tools and give user groups timely information never before available.  Smartphones and internet access delivers the benefits of aquatic plant control to user groups and resource managers at record speed. 

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