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What Challenges Lie Ahead for Hydrilla Management?

Madsen, J. D. (2010). What Challenges Lie Ahead for Hydrilla Management? Aquatic Plant Management Society 50th Annual Meeting. Bonita Springs, FL.


The challenges lying ahead for hydrilla management come from numerous sources, and will confront manufacturers, applicators, stakeholders, and natural resource managers alike. These challenges can be characterized as new territories, new pests, new chemistries, product stewardship, and regulatory compliance. New territories, meaning that hydrilla have continued to expand its range, with both monoecious and dioecious biotypes finding their way to new states. Despite the widespread availability of information on the internet, each state insists on reinventing the wheel in their state. We need to be more aggressive in getting good science to these state resource managers. We will have new pests in two senses: new species (such as Rotala rotundifolia) will be introduced through the aquarium and water garden trades, introducing new management challenges. Likewise, as we are successful in managing hydrilla, other invasive plants will take its place. New chemistries, products and formulations will undoubtedly continue to enter the aquatic market, which is a good thing; but we also need to recognize that each product will have a learning curve. While some may dispute the next assertion, the timeline to learn how to use fluridone effectively was easily one decade or more; we will be tempted to fit new products into a box with known products, which may be erroneous. Strong guidelines for product stewardship have not yet appeared in the aquatic industry; which is hardly surprising since stewardship guidelines for agricultural applications have yet to be widely adopted. Strong product stewardship guidelines, such as rotating mode of action, will ensure that we have these products long into the future. Regulatory compliance costs and complications will only expand in the future, with NPDES, ESA, and the new CWA leading the federal expansion of regulations, and states expanding their regulatory compliance issues to meet federal expectations. Public expectations are constantly shifting, and with more of the public raised in urban settings, aversion to using herbicides will undoubtedly increase. We will continue to have a challenge in public education regarding invasive plant prevention, and acceptable management solutions to these problem plants. Competing interests include coping with supposed experts from other disciplines (such as fisheries biologists and aquatic ecologists), fishing enthusiasts, and other users among stakeholder groups. The diversity of interests and divergence of perceived appropriate solutions will continue in the future. While these challenges may appear daunting, they are also opportunities for us to respond both individually and as the Aquatic Plant Management Society.

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