Invasive Species Management (ISM) Branch

invasive species photosThe Invasive Species Management (ISM) Branch provides guidance, administration and technical support for the Removal of Aquatic Growth Project, the Aquatic Plant Control Program cost-share agreements with the State of Florida and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and invasive species control programs within the Jacksonville District. The Branch also prepares and manages the annual budgets for these programs.

The ISM Branch serves as the Aquatic Plant Control Operations Support Center for the nation.

Invasive species are a serious threat to navigation, agriculture, public health, flood control, and native plant and animal communities. Navigating through our web site will provide a better understanding of why the control of invasive species growth was, and continues to be, an important challenge to the nation.  

 st johns river, 1968 st johns river, 2003 
 St. Johns River, 1968  St. Johns River, 2003

Organization & Responsibilities

Organization & Responsibilities
The ISM Branch consists of the Jacksonville District Office personnel, the North Florida Aquatic Plant Control Unit in Palatka field biologists in the South Florida Invasive Species Management Office in Clewiston and a field biologist based in the West Palm Beach office.

The North Florida Aquatic Plant Control Unit is responsible for managing invasive plants on the St. Johns River from Jacksonville south to the Highway 520 Bridge, just south of Orlando, Florida. The Unit is also responsible for snagging and clearing operations in the St. Johns, Withlacoochee and Ocklawaha Rivers, subject to appropriate funding.

biologisits The South Florida Invasive Species Management Office is responsible for managing aquatic invasive plants on Lake Okeechobee, the Okeechobee Waterway and associated tributaries. Other invasive species responsibilities include managing invasive animals and terrestrial plants for the Okeechobee Waterway and Central and Southern Flood Control Projects.

The biologist in the West Palm Beach office is responsible for managing invasive species on Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects. He also acts as a liaison with other state and federal partners involved with Everglades Restoration.

A USACE wide Aquatic Plant Control Operations Support Center was established to support the Removal of Aquatic Growth Project, among other responsibilities, and is based in the District’s Invasive Species Management Branch.

Contact Info


Did You Know?

  • Invasive species cause economic losses of more than $138 billion in the U.S. annually. 
  • Invasive species are the second-leading threat to imperiled species, behind only habitat destruction.
  • There are approximately 50,000 non-native species in the U.S. and approximately 4,300 are considered invasive.
  • University of South Florida reports that 1/3 of the plants growing wild in Florida are non-native.
  • Water hyacinth and water lettuce form dense mats which prevent oxygen from diffusing into the water column. This lack of oxygen can lead to fish kills, especially if the plants cover the entire water body.  

Water lettuce blocking navigation in a canal

  • Since 1990 an average of 6,633 acres of floating plants were treated per year on Lake Okeechobee. The largest number of acres treated was 11,297 acres from October 1993 to September 1994 and the lowest number treated was 733 acres from October 2000 to September 2001.
  • One acre of water hyacinths weighs more than 200 tons and can double its size in 15 to 20 days, depending on the conditions.
  • If left in place, one acre of water hyacinths can deposit 500 tons of organic material per year.