FWC halts invasive species herbicide treatment, seeks public comment

File photo of Everglades National Park
File photo of Everglades National Park (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says invasive plants are hurting Florida's waterways but, for now, the wildlife agency is pushing pause on the program designed to get rid of them.

The FWC halted its aquatic herbicide treatment on Monday, saying that it would be collecting public comments on the program.

The FWC said invasive, non-native plants alter and threaten endangered plants, animals and ecosystems by displacing native plant communities. FWC estimates more than 1.7 million acres of natural areas in Florida are infested with non-native plant species.

The agency tasked with controlling invasive aquatic plants on public lands and waterways is the Invasive Plant Management Section. The agency sprays the invasive plants for maintenance control, but FWC said it will pause that spraying until the community has a chance to weigh in.

The FWC did not specify how long the spraying would be paused, but it will be holding several public meetings to gather input. Specific dates and locations for the meetings haven't been set.

In the meantime, you can submit comments on the program to invasiveplants@myfwc.com

Nearly 50 percent of invasive plants in Florida were imported for agricultural reasons and about 40 percent of the worst invasive plants are commercially available for sale, according to the FWC.

To learn more about invasive plants in Florida, click here.

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