The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) has announced it has joined nearly a dozen national and regional weed management associations in expressing strong support for continued funding of an Army Corps of Engineers program targeting aquatic weed control.

For more than 40 years, the Army Corps of Engineers has served as the lead federal agency protecting our nation’s waterways and water supply from invasive weeds by developing and sharing new and improved management technologies. The agency’s Aquatic Plant Control Research Program (APCRP) is the only federally authorized research initiative focused on effective, science-based strategies for managing invasive aquatic species.  

However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has ‘zeroed out’ this critical program in its 2012 Civil Works budget. 

In a letter to Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), WSSA joined with scientific societies from across the nation to express “shock and disappointment” at the decision and asked that the APCRP be funded at the President’s 2010 budget request of $4 million. 

“Elimination of aquatic plant control research will undoubtedly have an enormous negative impact on our water resources,” said Michael Barrett, president of WSSA. “Invasive aquatic plants cost the nation an estimated $250 million annually, with documented infestations in all 50 states. Those costs are expected to continue to rise as new, exotic plant pests reach our shores each year.”

Invasive aquatic weeds contribute to flood damage, reduce fish and wildlife habitats, decrease property values, disrupt hydropower generation, impede the delivery of drinking and irrigation water, obstruct commercial and recreational navigation, and endanger native species.