Controlling Aquatic Plants

Two different methods are used for more efficient control of aquatic vegetation growth 
Lake Worth Drainage District regularly treats and removes aquatic vegetation in canals to maintain the flow of water and facilitate effective flood control for communities in Southeastern Palm Beach County. To accomplish this task, the District utilizes both mechanical and herbicide treatment to remove unwanted vegetation.

Containment Boom

Recently, the District has expanded its mechanical removal of aquatic growth with the use of containment booms. Containment booms are floating ribbon-like structures that span the canal cross-section and extend approximately one foot both above and below the water surface. As water flows through a canal or as winds move across the water’s surface, floating debris will move through the canal network. The booms serve as a physical barrier, “corralling” the debris while allowing water to continue to flow unimpeded. Installed at critical locations in order to concentrate floating vegetation and other debris, the booms allow District staff to more effectively collect, treat and dispose of the material.

Herbicide Application

Given the proliferation of aquatic vegetation in Florida’s subtropical climate, it remains necessary to continue the use herbicide treatment to control vegetation growth. When applying herbicides, the District strictly adheres to the rules and regulations established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Staff applying chemical treatments are trained and certified annually on the proper application and handling of all herbicides used. Periodically, the District receives calls from residents regarding an odor detected after the application of herbicides. Although this concern by residents is understandable, it is important to know that the odor is an expected occurrence the oil emulsion that is mixed with the herbicide. Emulsion herbicides are a thicker consistency, allowing the herbicide to adhere to the vegetation so that it stays in place long enough to be effective.

With more than 500 miles of canals, the District is continually conducting maintenance of its canal system. Effective flood control and your safety is dependent on well-maintained canals.