By Dodie Alber, Apalachicola Riverkeeper board member
After observing oyster reef restoration work at Dry Bar (part of the Apalachicola Bay System Initiative) an Apalachicola Riverkeeper crew returned to Apalachicola recently to find a dense, 6’ x 6’ floating mass of water hyacinth blocking access to the boat ramp. The group sprang into action, tying up the boat at the dock, and removing and disposing of the robust stand of invasive plants. A passerby offered to help as the crew used a paddle to corral the water hyacinth and clear the boat ramp.
Water hyacinth is an invasive plant that crowds out our native plants and congests our waterways, hindering boating and fishing. According to the University of Florida website, a mat of water hyacinth can double in size in 6 to 18 days.
At that rate, our 6’x6’ mat might have expanded to cover nearly an acre in two to six months! Introduced to this continent from South America in 1884, its foliage and purple flowers are beautiful, but this plant is a threat to our natural water systems. Learn more here.