Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Natural Course of Things

just attended the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society (FAPMS) training conference and learned a wealth of knowledge about aquatic vegetation from leading researchers. 

Are you aware of the fact exotic vegetation has taken a foot-hold in most Florida lakes and humans intervention is the only hope for nature to gain back its balance?  

Most invasive plants are exotic from countries overseas. They have evolved in harsh places and easily over take our native plants. These invasives grow faster, need little food and sunlight, and do well in our fertile waters. 

I think it is ironic that most people with a bacterial or viral infection wouldn't think twice about seeking medical prescription help, but those same people often tell lake biologists to let nature control exotic plants, not herbicides.  Just like the super germs, invasive plants have few, if any, natural enemies in the US. 

I am tired of plants from other countries invading my backyard with no controls or natural enforcement. Don't get me wrong, I love to fish aquatic vegeation because it's the habitat that fish like.  I do not think bass care what plant species makes up their habitat, but we both care if the vegetation get too thick! Fish can't move or feed well and I can't hardly get a weed less bait into weed infestations to catch my bass. 

This week at FAPMS I was reminded of the various methods of vegetation control such as pulling up weeds with aquatic plant mowers (harvesters), stocking sterile carp to eat the plants, and using the newer, EPA approved, short-lasting products to selectively get rid of nuisance weeds.  Research EPA labels here:  http://www.cdms.net/ACM.aspx

Herbicides are still the most cost-effective way of controlling nuisance plants, whether in food crops, your yard, or our lakes. I like it when government agencies actually use our public money wisely, such as herbicide weed control. 

Our generation of nearly-organic EPA herbicides promise to keep us safe and restore our lakes and diverse habitats. The bad, long-lasting chemicals of our forefathers have long been removed from use. 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shifted its focus of chemical screening to human-health concerns rather than the ability to kill weeds. This means that aquatic herbicides used today get rid of lake weeds safer and without long-term harm.  I like that, and I know my kids like that. 

It was brought to my attention that many chemicals under my kitchen sink have worse warnings than the herbicides used on my lake to control exotics. It is a sad fact that household chemicals like Bleach, Lysol, WD40, and DrainO have hurt more kids under the age of two than any of today's plant herbicides! 

Did you know that none of today's EPA-approved aquatic herbicides for hydrilla control are toxic enough for the danger or toxic ratings? But under kitchen sinks you will often find skull and cross-bone symbols indicating TOXIC or. list the text DANGER! 

Anglers, please do not be hypocritical about weed control. Today's lake restoration herbicides do an excellent job of keeping exotic plants from destroying our lakes. I know the men and women who hold jobs killing lake weeds and they have families, enjoy the outdoors, and are professionals too. 

I knew you wouldn't mind that I thanked the applicators for their weed control efforts. Most were surprised to receive thanks from an angler. I saw true appreciation in their eyes for recognition of their work!  I even caught bass after they sprayed an area on Lake Okeechobee that was previously choked out. 

You see, applicators don't get thanked for caring and doing a respectable job. They don't get thanked for supporting their family and protecting Florida's fragile environment. But this week, I thanked them for us,--those of us that enjoy standing on the shoreline of a lake at sunset, those of us that enjoy the laughter of children catching bluegill, and those of us that watch a full moon shimmer off the lake while holding hands with our loved one.

Anglers, please stop judging today's weed sprayers by the past. The problems of Lake Conroe, Guntersville, DDT and "Silent Spring" chemicals have been addressed and removed by EPA. New challenges are needed for our officials and legislators. Protect our rights and property from invasions!  That includes our lakes.  

We all want clean water, the ability to enjoy the great outdoors, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! 

Please support your aquatic applicators, ask questions to gain understanding, but continue to support a balance with our natural resources. 

Thanks for reading my post,

#AERF #MercuryMarine #Power-pole