New CAST Commentary: "Benefits of Controlling Nuisance Aquatic Plants and Algae in the United States"

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New CAST Commentary Examines the Effects of Nuisance Weeds on Our Water Supply

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We must recognize that managing nuisance aquatic vegetation is, in reality, managing water.

Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa. Safe, accessible water resources are essential, but various threats are closing the taps. A growing problem comes from nuisance aquatic plants that invade rivers, lakes, and other aquatic ecosystems. They can affect aesthetics, drainage, fishing, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, flood control, human and animal health, hydropower generation, irrigation, navigation, recreation, and, ultimately, land values.

Led by Kurt Getsinger (Chair), the authors of this commentary emphasize the necessity for the skillful management of nuisance aquatic plants—they hope regulators, managers, stakeholders, and legislators gain scientific insights about this important issue. Using specific examples, tables, and detailed explanations of the situation, the paper thoroughly examines the negative impacts of nuisance plants and the need to be aware, informed, and—when possible—proactive about the problems.

Sections of this paper focus on certain parts of the United States, but the general need is obvious—invasive aquatic plants and algae are progressively disrupting the ecological balance required for maintaining adequate freshwater resources for flora, fauna, and humans. The authors encourage:

  •     long-term funding,
  •     sustained research, and
  •     creative problem solving.

They believe that a collaborative push to meet the challenges posed by nuisance aquatic plants will support a sustainable civilization that depends on clean and abundant freshwater resources.

Task Force Authors:
Kurt Getsinger (Chair), U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Eric Dibble, Mississippi State University
John H. Rodgers, Jr., Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
David Spencer, United States Department of Agriculture—ARS, Davis, California

CAST Commentary QTA2014-1 and its companion Ag quickCAST are available online at the CAST website,, along with many of CAST’s other scientific publications. All CAST Issue Papers, Commentaries, and Ag quickCASTs are free.

CAST is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies, and nonprofit organizations. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

Contacts for this Issue Paper:
Kurt Getsinger—Phone: 601-634-2498; E-mail: Kurt.D.Getsinger(at)usace(dot)army(dot)mil
Ms. Linda M. Chimenti—Phone: 515-292-2125, ext. 231; E-mail: lchimenti(at)cast-science(dot)org

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Ms. Linda M. Chimenti
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