Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Florida
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Florida Project

FLAKES: A multi-organization dataset to investigate invasive plant management impacts in Florida lakes

November 2022 - December 2024


Participating Agencies

  • FWC

Aquatic plant management is critical for maintaining open waterways for navigation and recreation, reducing mosquito-borne diseases, and protecting freshwater ecosystems. Florida invests heavily in aquatic plant control, with state and federal agencies spending over $20 million annually on management. Most aquatic plant management efforts in the state involve herbicide application, with a primary focus on hydrilla, water hyacinth, and water lettuce. Although these three species are classified as invasive and have been present in Florida for decades, research on their impacts has yielded inconsistent results. There is a critical need to better characterize effects of invasive plants and their management on aquatic ecosystems in Florida. To this end, our objectives are to evaluate (1) the direct impacts of invasive plant management on plant species abundances and (2) the indirect impacts of invasive plant management on Largemouth Bass populations through changes in plant abundances after curating a master dataset composed of long-term data collected by various agencies across Florida.