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Proposed anti-plant legislation

At 09:23 PM 7/17/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 13:05:17 -0700
>From: Dave Gomberg <gomberg at wcf_com>
>Subject: Proposed anti-plant legislation

>Michael E. McAllister
>The Negative Impacts of Exotic Aquatic Plants
>	Exotic aquatic plants have far-reaching detrimental economic and
>environmental impacts.  These two sectors are mutually interdependent.
>The quality of our lives and the health of our citizens rely on healthy
>ecosystems.  The best way to preserve a healthy ecosystem is through
>informed decisions and wise, efficient uses.  By controlling the spread
>of invasive exotic aquatic plants, we are protecting lives, reviving our
>ecosystems, and saving our economy millions of dollars.  

My gut reaction is the boat and fishing guys are behind this.

>Environmental Impact
>	Exotic aquatic plants threaten our lakes, ponds, and rivers by
>displacing native plants, and by accelerating the filling of water
>areas, a process known as eutrophication.  Once exotic species invade an
>established ecosystem, they compete with native species for food and
>space.  They have no natural predators, which would have adapted and
>kept their growth in balance.  As a result, exotic species have invaded
>and taken over entire areas.  Observations of water areas throughout the
>Commonwealth confirm how aggressively the invading plants attack.

I fail to understand what advantage a non-native spcies of aquatic
plant has over a native one. Ducks won't eat non-native plants ?
>	These exotic plants threaten to eliminate our waterfowl

Duck hunters.

>                                                        , fish, insects,
>reptiles, and amphibians.  Fish and birds become entangled and strangled
>to death in the roots.  All forms of aquatic life are struggling to find
>precious food sources, now choked out by these weeds.

And this doesn't happen with native aquatic plants ?

>           According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, exotic aquatic
>plants have been a major factor in the listing of one-quarter of all
>threatened and endangered species in the United States.  We are losing
>the natural heritage of plants and animals that sustain our natural
>world and enrich our lives.

Evolution in action. If a bird carries a seed from say, Africa to
florida 100,000 years ago, and that species becomes established
even if it displaces other species, this is natural, but if
man does it , it's not ?

Animals are vectors for distribution of plant species. Some are
better at it than others.

>              When exotic plants reproduce with native species, they
>spawn hybrid plants.  Hybrids, in turn, reduce an area's biodiversity,
>or amount of varied genetic material.  Without healthy and adaptable
>organisms, ecosystems are more vulnerable to pests and diseases. 	

Huh ? Hybrid aquatic plants ? If they hybridize and form fertile offspring
they were the same species. 
>	Exotic plants are scientifically proven to cause wildlife population

Whenever anybody claims something is "scientifically proven" it usually
means it isn't.

>declines and species' extinction.  Unfortunately, a fundamental cause of
>the explosive aquatic weed growth in recent years is the excessive
>nutrient loading from faulty sewer lines, septic systems, and storm
>drains.  That is to say we are all contributing to increased amounts of
>phosphorous in our lakes, ponds, and rivers.
>	As the weeds die, they fall to the bottom and decompose.  Fish consume
>fatal doses of phosphorous concentrated in the sediments.  The crowding
>vegetation and phosphorous deplete oxygen levels in the water.  Fish are
>choking to death. Increased sedimentation speeds	
>up the process, known as eutrophication, in which lakes and ponds fill
>and 'turn over' into wetlands, bogs, and marshes.  For example, Hardy
>Pond in Waltham was nearly 40 feet deep a few decades ago, but is now
>only 4 feet deep.  Filled lakes and ponds remove one of the key links in
>the water cycle, the recycling of precipitation and the replenishment of
>drinking and recreational water supplies.  

Are we supposed to believe that a non endemic species of plant hase
grown, died, and filled 26 FEET of a pons in 40 years ? However
do these killied plants maintain an aquatic envinonment in their
native locale?

>Economic Impact
>	Exotic aquatic plant species cause widespread destruction of ecosystems
>by completely taking over an area and eliminating any economically
>profitable native species.  Numerous other economic sectors are affected
>by clogged, impassable waterways, including fisheries, water-dependent
>industries and utilities, scenic tourism, parks and recreation.  As
>exotic aquatic plants take over whole areas, steady water flows and
>currents are lessened and restricted. Anglers


, boaters, swimmers, and
>water-skiers cannot access stretches of our rivers, as well as whole
>lakes and ponds.  Offensive odors due to plant decomposition and
>unsightly views of weed-clogged waterbodies are lowering shorefront
>property values.  Tourists and other visitors arrive to our historic and
>once-scenic waterbodies, only to find tangled masses of weeds.    

The problem isn' the plants, it's the sewage.

>State and local governments spend enormous amounts of money to eradicate
>aggressive plants and restore natural habitats.  A study published by
>the US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Harmful Non-Indigenous
>Species in the United States found that the nation spends billions of
>dollars trying to repair the damages caused by exotic species.  Fifteen
>exotic plants analyzed in the study had an estimated cumulative loss to
>the United States economy of approximately $603 million.  The estimates
>omitted many harmful species for which data were unavailable or
>incomplete.  The study also projected potential economic losses from
>three exotic plant species of approximately $4.5 billion, over a
>fifty-year range.  The figures represent only a part of the total and
>documented costs-that is, they do not include a large number of species
>for which little or no economic data were currently available.

How do these plants contribute to economic loss ?

>Exotic Aquatic Legislation Questions & Answers	
>Why do we need this legislation?	 
>These plants spread aggressively in a body of water, making swimming,
>boating, and fishing difficult.  

Evolution in action. This is natures way of eating pollutants.
if man hadn't dumped tons of nitrates and phosphates into the
water they wouldnt grow like weeds. Without these plants,
they'll prohably get algae instead.

>They disrupt natural ecosystems by
>displacing native plants and rapidly altering fish and wildlife habitat
>and filling the body of water with sediment.  

Sedoment ?

>These exotic aquatic species have no known natural enemies.  

Then why havn't they complete taken over the lans masses where they
hail from?

>These plants are growing and
>expanding in our waterways at an alarming rate.  They cover the water,
>preventing recreation, tangling boats and fowl,

Duck guys and fishermmen again.

>keeping fish and aquatic
>wildlife from food sources in these areas, and depleting oxygen from the

At night maybe. During the day they replenish the oxygen that the
sewage has taken out.

> As the increasing plant matter decomposes, the process of
>sedimentation accelerates, leading to impaired water quality and
>offensive odors.

Dead plants don't particuarly smell. Sewage does.

>What techniques are used to control the growth of exotic aquatic
>Preventing new introductions of harmful species is the first line of
>defense. After an infestation has already occurred, plant control
>technologies are divided into four basic categories: (1) Mechanical:
>dredging, harvesting, hand removal; (2) Chemical: systemic and contact
>herbicides; (3) Biological: insects; (4) Habitat Manipulation: lake
>drawdown, freezing, benthic barriers, shading. The Charles River
>weed-harvesting experience illustrates the need for selective
>species-control strategies.  "We're involved in a scientific alteration
>of an ecosystem, and when you do that there's a learning curve," said
>Dan Driscoll, a senior planner at the MDC, which has overseen the
>Charles River weed-harvesting project.  "And we're all kind of going
>through this learning curve together." 

They really think they can eliminate Mriophylum ? They're kidding,
right ?

The chemicnal control kinda scares me. You have a whack of sewage in the
horribly polluted charles river. Plants grow as a natural response,
like mad. You kill all the plants (I'd like to see a selective
native/non-native herbicide) so nothing green will grow.

Man, is that gonna get stinky.

>Why this legislation does not impose a fee on boat owners.	 

Because they lobbied hard to prevent that maybe ?

Sounds like a crock to me.

Richard J. Sexton
richard at aquaria_net
Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada                       +1 (613) 473 1719