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Melaleuca in the Everglades Mike Bodle Vegetation Management Division South Florida Water Management District.

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Presentation on theme: "Melaleuca in the Everglades Mike Bodle Vegetation Management Division South Florida Water Management District."— Presentation transcript:

1 Melaleuca in the Everglades Mike Bodle Vegetation Management Division South Florida Water Management District

2 Early Awareness Recognized as a problem in the early 70’s (FL FWCC) Skepticism concerning ability to control

3 “There is very real potential that all the sawgrass in South Florida could eventually become melaleuca forest.” -Mark Maffei, 1989

4 “We’re basically talking everything in South Florida except the coastal ridge.” -Ted Center on melaleuca distribution in South Florida, 1989

5 “It’s a tree from hell.” -Dan Thayer, 1990

6 “Only a continued and cohesive blitzkrieg will achieve solid melaleuca control.” -Mike Bodle, 1990

7 “Melaleuca is a biological disaster for South Florida.” -Congressman E. Clay Shaw, 1990

8 “Melaleuca quinquenervia is now poised to expand throughout the Everglades. The time for integrated management of the tree has come. Combined efforts and methods will, hopefully, reverse this weed’s expansion.” -Melaleuca Management Plan for South Florida, 1990

9 “The current level of melaleuca infestation in South Florida and the potential for continued alteration of natural habitats by this invasive biological pollutant signal that the need for a statewide melaleuca management program is now!” - Ken Langeland, 1990

10 “We’re getting kind of panicky, man.” -Tony Pernas, 1993

11 Melaleuca Management Historical Background Two Melaleuca workshops (FL FWCC) Two Melaleuca workshops (FL FWCC) Melaleuca symposium (FL Div. Forestry) Melaleuca symposium (FL Div. Forestry) Exotic woody plant conference (Fairchild) Exotic woody plant conference (Fairchild) Exotic Woody Plant workshop (ENP) Exotic Woody Plant workshop (ENP) Exotic Pest Plant Council formed Exotic Pest Plant Council formed ENP Initiates Control Program ENP Initiates Control Program EPPC Exotic Pest Plant Symposium EPPC Exotic Pest Plant Symposium Melaleuca Task Force Melaleuca Task Force

12 Melaleuca Task Force January 1990 Jointly convened byJointly convened by  Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council  South Florida Water Management District >30 participants:>30 participants:  Federal, state, & local government representatives, scientists, NGOs, private industry Objective:Objective:  Develop a comprehensive strategy for managing melaleuca throughout its range in Florida

13 Melaleuca Management Plan May st ed. April nd ed.  revised to include most recent information May rd ed. revised to update information recommendations changed to reflect progress

14 Melaleuca Management Plan: EPPC Management Plan Approach Summarize current ecological knowledgeSummarize current ecological knowledge –identify research gaps Summarize existing control technologiesSummarize existing control technologies –what is working, and where Identify control technology research needsIdentify control technology research needs –developing biological controls, improving chemical and mechanical controls Develop plan to integrate and coordinate efforts regionallyDevelop plan to integrate and coordinate efforts regionally

15 South of Hwy 60South of Hwy 60 Mainly concentrated near areas of early plantingsMainly concentrated near areas of early plantings Melaleuca Management Plan Defining the Problem Extent of infestations: Early Assessment: Various techniques triedVarious techniques tried  satellite images  false color infrared  aerial reconnaissance Estimates variedEstimates varied  495, million acres

16 Melaleuca Management Plan Defining the Problem Sawgrass prairies Cypress heads Pinelands Summarize invasion of native habitats Ecological questions Reproductive ecology Florida vs. Australia

17 Many herbicides tried Effectiveness varied Initial treatments result in dense, even-aged seedling stands Treated trees often resprout Mechanical removal very expensive & unsuited for most natural areas Melaleuca Management Plan Defining the Problem Summarize available control options in 1990 Melaleuca tree that was controlled with herbicides surrounded by “doghair” seedlings

18 Melaleuca Management Plan Recommendations ResearchResearch  develop biological control agents  search for better ways to use herbicides  Develop ways to measure of infestation level  fill gaps in ecological knowledge OperationsOperations EducationEducation

19 Melaleuca Management Plan Recommendations ResearchResearch OperationsOperations  establish melaleuca-free zones around ENP, Big Cypress, WCAs, Holey Land, & Lake Okeechobee  apply strategy of first removing outliers, then moving progressively closer to focus of each infestation  monitor sites for regrowth/seedlings up to 4 years post- treatment & retreat as needed EducationEducation

20 Melaleuca Management Plan Recommendations ResearchResearch OperationsOperations EducationEducation  inform government officials about magnitude of problem & need for funding  inform resource managers of best control options & opportunities resource sharing cost-sharing  inform general public of problem & encourage removal of trees on private property

21 Aerial photos of 1 mi 2 areas (1:3600 scale) 8 areas in Dade & Broward Counties 25 yrs to go from 5% (30 acres) to 95% (600 acres) cover Melaleuca Management Plan Implementing the Plan Source: Laroche & Ferriter 1992 J. Aquatic Plant Manage. 30: How quickly do infestations grow?

22 Melaleuca Management Plan Implementing the Plan Aerial surveys ( SFWMD )  flight lines every 2.5 mi  coordinates (GPS) & density recorded for every occurrence Conducted biannually  488,000 acres in 1993  453,000 acres in 1995  391,000 acres in 1997  359,000 acres in 1999 How much?

23 Melaleuca Management Plan Implementing the Plan Strategy Eliminate existing stands Halt expansion Seed/sapling mortality Reduce seed production mechanical removal treat with herbicides hand-pull saplings treat with herbicides damage by biocontrol insects damage by biocontrol insects

24 Melaleuca Control in by Ground application in Pennsuco Mitigation Area April 1998 February 1999 October 2000 October 2001 October 2003

25 Melaleuca Management Plan Implementing the Plan Ground application  Hack/squirt - completely girdle tree  Cut Stump - treat stumps shortly after cut Aerial application  Determine effective herbicides  use microfoil boom with small (0.02) nozzle  overlap spray paths by 50% Perform herbicide trials:

26 Crew Transport Airboat Helicopter – a necessity in early days of control in Everglades ATV/ Buggy

27 Melaleuca Management Expenditures (FY 91-01) South Florida Water Management District$21,649,322 Big Cypress National Preserve$ 2,579,000 Everglades National Park$ 3,548,000 Water Conservation Areas 2A, 3A, 3B600,000 acres Lake Okeechobee100,000 acres Everglades National Park200,000 acres Big Cypress National Preserve100,000 acres Areas under Maintenance Control

28 Ground Application75% Aerial application15% Biocontrol 10% Distribution of Expenditures

29 Conceptual Model Time Reliance Herbicides and Mechanical Control Biological Control Today

30 Melaleuca Management Plan Recommendations ResearchResearch  develop biological control agents - Yes  search for better ways to use herbicides - Yes  Develop ways to measure of infestation level - Yes  fill gaps in ecological knowledge - Yes OperationsOperations EducationEducation

31 Melaleuca Management Plan Recommendations ResearchResearch OperationsOperations  establish melaleuca-free zones around ENP, Big Cypress, WCAs, Holey Land, & Lake Okeechobee - So-so  apply strategy of first removing outliers, then moving progressively closer to focus of each infestation – Yes on most pubic lands  monitor sites for regrowth/seedlings up to 4 years post- treatment & retreat as needed – Yes on most public lands EducationEducation

32 Melaleuca Management Plan Recommendations ResearchResearch OperationsOperations EducationEducation  inform government officials about magnitude of problem & need for funding - Yes  inform resource managers of best control options & opportunities resource sharing cost-sharing - Yes  inform general public of problem & encourage removal of trees on private property - Yes

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