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Do You Need a Permit to Manage Aquatic Plants?

Pest, Lawn, and Lake Service in Central Florida

Large communal lake full of lily pads - licensed and professional lake maintenance and pest cotnrol by Sorko Services in Central Florida

With its warm and sunny climate, Florida is a breeding ground for all kinds of aquatic plants. Unfortunately, this environment is not only perfect for Florida’s native species like water lilies and bladderwort, but also to invasive species like hydrilla and water hyacinth. Left unchecked, these invasive species will overrun our bodies of water, obstructing recreation activities and choking out native plants and animals.

The Florida Aquatic Weed Control Act was passed to empower the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) along with private citizens to regulate these invasive plants. Here’s what you need to know about aquatic plant removal laws.

You Can’t Rip Out Plants Without a Permit

In general, you need to get a permit from the FWC if you plan on removing or controlling any aquatic plants on your body of water. There are several reasons for this: the state wants to manage its own waters, you may interfere with someone else’s property, you may end up doing more harm to native plants, and more. The bottom line is that the FWC can review your application to confirm your ideas for eliminating aquatic plants will be a positive for your lake and its native environment. The ultimate goal of the Weed Control Act is to preserve Florida’s natural habitats and protect our enjoyment of them, and requiring permits for aquatic plant removal is one part of building toward that goal. You can find the permit application instructions here.

But There Are Some Exemptions

However, there are a few cases in which you do not need a permit to remove aquatic plants from your body of water. The list of exemptions is highly specific and qualified, so be sure to read it carefully in full here. The one caveat is that none of the exemptions apply to Waters of Special Concern if you plan on using herbicides, and you can find the list of them online. With that said, here is a quick rundown of some of the more general exemptions. You are exempt from needing a permit to remove aquatic plants if…

  • You are the sole owner of the property around the body of water
  • The body of water in question is artificial
  • The body of water in question is an electrical power plant cooling pond, reservoir, or canal
  • The body of water in question is less than 160 acres and not publicly-owned
  • You are removing herbaceous or semi-woody plants from an area of 50 feet or 50% of your property line, whichever is less, across the shorefront to allow for boat or swimming access

Go with a Trusted Professional

If all of this sounds overwhelming, you don’t have to worry—hire a professional to remove invasive weeds and algae instead. At Sorko Services, we guarantee that we can get the job done legally, and more effectively, than any private individual. With our experience in countless Florida lakes and ponds, our knowledge of aquatic habitats allows us to design the most comprehensive water treatment plans possible. Call us today to learn more about our services at 407-878-4492.

Do You Need a Permit to Manage Aquatic Plants? in Central Florida

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