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Invasive Species Program Summary Banner


    Control Operations
    Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Program

    • 562 reservoirs (5,500,000 surface acres), 237 navigation locks, 926 harbors, 75 hydropower projects, and 25,000 miles of inland and coastal waterways
    • 100 percent Federal cost
    • FY 20 Invasive species costs ~ $165K

    Removal of Aquatic Growths (RAG) Program

    • Authorized by River and Harbor Act of 1899, as amended
    • Limited to removal of aquatic plants from navigation channels that would impede the movement of commercial vessels
    • In Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas
    • 100 percent Federal cost
    • FY04 funding: $5,263,000

    In the late 1880's and early 1890's, populations of waterhyacinth expanded, and problems associated with the plant increased. Commercial river traffic was impeded. Faced with mounting problems, the citizens of Florida and Louisiana petitioned Congress for assistance. The effect was that certain aquatic plant management operation directives, known as the Removal of Aquatic Growths (RAG) Project, were included in the Rivers and Harbors Act (R&HA) of 1899. The Corps was tasked to solve the problem, since many affected waterways were Federal navigation projects. The RAG Project, funded at 100 percent Federal cost, was limited to such projects in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

    The R&HA of 1899 was amended by the R&HA of 1902, which allowed for the extermination and removal of waterhyacinths by mechanical, chemical, or other means, and by the R&HA of 1905, which prohibited the use, only in Florida, of any chemical process injurious to cattle. Cattle were apparently attracted by the saltpeter on the treated waterhyacinth, ate the plants, and died.

    Aquatic Plant Control (APC) Program

    • Authorized by River and Harbor Act of 1958, as amended
    • Control of noxious aquatic plants of major economic significance
    • In waters of the United States outside of Corps and other Federal agencies authorized water resource projects
    • Control operations programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, and District of Columbia
    • 50 percent Federal / 50 percent local cost share
    • Since FY96, $0 funding, CG

    In 1945, the Committee on Rivers and Harbors of the House of Representatives adopted a resolution charging the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors with the responsibility of determining if an expansion of the original 1899 authorization was advisable. This review called for "control and progressive eradication of the waterhyacinth, alligatorweed and other detrimental aquatic plant growths from the watercourses." It became a 1956 House Document entitled "Water-Hyacinth Obstructions in the Waters of the Gulf and South Atlantic States." This action resulted in the enactment of Public Law (PL) 85-500, Section 104, R&HA of 1958, which provided for a 5-year pilot project, referred to as "The Expanded Project for Aquatic Plant Control" with an annual funding cap of $1.5 million. The Expanded Project extended control operations from federal navigation project waters to those tributary areas beyond the limits of navigation, and added Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

    In addition, PL 85-500 required that "local interests agree to hold and save the United States free from claims that may occur from such operations and participate to the extent of 30 percent of the cost of the additional research program." Also included was a non-Federal contribution for 30 percent of operation costs. Results of the Expanded Project were later forwarded by the Chief of Engineers to the Secretary of the Army and subsequently to Congress. The report recommended that a "project" approach was no longer desirable, and that "a continuing nationwide program" should be authorized "for the control of obnoxious aquatic plants wherever infestations of such plants constitute a serious threat to navigation, agriculture, public health, the efficient operation of drainage and flood control works, or the use of the Nation's waterways."

    Consequently, PL 85-500 was amended by PL 89-298, Section 302, which was approved in 1965. Public Law 89-298 authorized "a comprehensive program to provide for control and progressive eradication of water-hyacinth, alligatorweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, and other obnoxious aquatic plant growths, from the navigable waters, tributary streams, connecting channels, and other allied waters of the United States." This law also provided that "costs for research and planning undertaken pursuant to the authorities of this section shall be home fully by the Federal government.' The Aquatic Plant Control (APC) Program was created, with an annual funding ceiling of $5 million.

    The APC program is not an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) program. Aquatic plant control necessary for O&M of authorized reservoirs, channels, harbors, or other water areas under the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers or other Federal agencies, will not be undertaken as part of the APC program except as such areas may be used for experimental purposes.

    In response to increasing problems and needs, this ceiling was increased to $10 million in 1983 (PL 9863). The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (PL 99-662) changed the non-Federal share of APC Program operations from 30 to 50 percent and increased the annual funding ceiling to $12 million. Local sponsors can, however, contribute more than 50 percent of the program cost.

    Research and Development
    Aquatic Plant Control Research Program (APCRP)
    Millions of acres of surface water nationwide are infested with non-indigenous, problem-causing aquatic plants. These plants, with no natural enemies in the United States, rapidly choke native aquatic plants. Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum L.), waterlettuce (Pistia stratiotes L.), hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle), and other exotic species continue to propagate from local infestations. Many of these plants interfere with navigation, flood control, hydropower production, and waterborne recreational uses. These plants have a very low value to fish and wildlife and contribute significantly to water quality problems. New colonies of problem aquatic plants continue to be found throughout the United States.

    The Corps of Engineers manages over 5.5 million surface acres of water at its reservoir projects and significant additional acreage as part of navigation projects. The Aquatic Plant Control Research Program (APCRP) is the nation's only federally authorized research program directed to develop technology for the management of nonindigenous aquatic plant species. The program provides effective, economical, and environmentally compatible methods for assessing and managing problem aquatic plants.

    APCRP research is producing information on the growth and ecological requirements of problem aquatic plants and is producing new biological, chemical, and ecological technologies for their management. Specific information on the biology and ecology of problem aquatic plants, obtained through research in the APCRP, has greatly improved the efficacy and diversity of management options, while minimizing adverse effects on the environment.

    Research efforts are currently focused on the development of ecologically based, integrated plant management strategies for submersed aquatic plants (i.e., Eurasian watermilfoil and hydrilla). In addition, innovative technologies are being developed to prevent the initial introduction and spread of non-indigenous aquatic plant species, and to replace problem aquatic plants with native species, providing much-improved aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife. These new technologies will be a significant asset in implementing clean water initiatives by restoring aquatic systems harmed by non-indigenous aquatic plant species.

    APCRP will continue to lead the nation in the future, and is committed to the development, transfer, and implementation of aquatic plant management technologies to users in the Corps, as well as other federal, state, and local agencies.

    Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program (ANSRP)
    The purpose of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program (ANSRP) is to conduct interdisciplinary research related to the prevention, control, and management of aquatic nuisance species that impact Corps projects and public facilities. This program resulted from earlier work performed under the Zebra Mussel Research Program and the Aquatic Nuisance Control Research Program.

    Technical Support
    Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANS Task Force)
    ANSTF was established by Congress with the passage of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (NANPCA) in 1990 and reauthorized with the passage of the National Invasive Species Act (NISA) in 1996 (collectively, the Act). Composed of 13 Federal and 15 ex-officio members, it is the only Federally-mandated intergovernmental organization solely dedicated to preventing and controlling ANS.

    Water Operations Technical Support (WOTS) Program
    The Water Operations Technical Support (WOTS) Program was initiated in FY 1985 to support technology transfer efforts for environmental and water quality operational studies. The WOTS Program provides effective environmental and water management engineering technology to address a wide range of water resource management problems at Corps of Engineers reservoir and waterway projects, and in the river systems affected by project operations nationwide. The program provides technology to solve water management and related environmental problems resulting from the presence of nonindigenous aquatic species and tailwater fisheries at pump-back hydropower projects. The program also examines water management impacts of shoreline erosion control and reservoir sedimentation, and other project operations related to environmental and water management issues.

    Since its inception, the WOTS Program has provided environmental and water management technological solutions to over 1,100 problems identified at projects from every Corps District. The program annually publishes and distributes user manuals, information bulletins, technical notes, and technical reports. In addition, the program annually conducts speciality workshops, training personnel on the latest environmental and water management management techniques.

    Aquatic Plant Control Operations Support Center (APCOSC)
    The APCOSC serves as the Corps consultant on invasive plant issues and furnishes technical expertise and/or personnel and equipment to respond to localized, short-term critical situations caused by excessive growths of aquatic and other invasive plants throughout the nation. Staff serves as national contact and distribution point for information exchange and technology transfer with federal, state and local agencies. Center staff also serves as focal point and public/customer interface on matters related to assigned programs and conducts a wide range of outreach and public educational activities in addition to work for others.

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