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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Big part of Ichetucknee River free of invasive species

Published 6/27/2008
Water lettuce, is one of the most invasive plants in Florida and indeed the world.

The plant that can cover a waterway from shore to shore, choking all life underneath and blocking swimmers, tubers and canoeists, is even illegal to posses in Florida without a special permit.

Cathy Nagler, biologist at Ichetucknee Springs State Park, remembers a day when she and a flank of volunteers pulled more than two tons of water lettuce out of the Ichetucknee River in just one day, on just one tiny section of the river.

Today, she may collect just a bucket or two of the invasive species.

Nagler has worked with Ichetucknee Springs State Park Biologist Sam Cole and 1,750 volunteers to do the nearly impossible -- successfully remove 72 tons of water lettuce from the Ichetucknee River.

And they did it all by human power, with rakes and with their hands.

Controlling an invasive species like water lettuce on such a large scale without spaying herbicides is almost unheard of, experts said, and this project may be the biggest one ever.
Source

More Info:
Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection - Bureau of Invasive Plant Management
University of Florida, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

To obtain a permit to manually pull water lettuce, call Joe Hinkle, with the Florida Department of Environment Protection, Bureau of Invasive Plant Management, at 386-758-0464.

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