Many aquatic plants play an essential role in the ecology of state waters, providing food and habitat for fish and wildlife, stabilizing shorelines, and contributing to nutrient cycling.
Others, classified as noxious weeds, can threaten native vegetation, destroy habitat for fish and wildlife, and infest waters around docks and swimming beaches. (See Chapter 16-750 WAC)
To support efforts to control aquatic noxious weeds, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) developed a pamphlet titled Aquatic Plants and Fish. This pamphlet:
- Provides guidance in identifying noxious aquatic weeds.
- Recommends methods of controlling both early and advanced infestations of aquatic noxious weeds.
- Addresses problems associated with aquatic noxious weeds.
- Can serve as your Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) if you follow the timing and methods described in the pamphlet. There is no fee to use the pamphlet as your HPA.
As discussed in the pamphlet, removing beneficial aquatic plants is sometimes allowed, but is generally discouraged due to the plants’ important ecological functions.
Those who want to remove aquatic plants in ways that differ from those prescribed in the pamphlet must apply for a separate, written HPA. If you want to use grass carp, you will need a WDFW fish stocking permit. If you want to use herbicides, you will need to contact both the Washington Department of Ecology and the Washington Department of Agriculture.
In some cases, other permits also may be needed to legally remove aquatic plants. Information is available on the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance website or by calling (360) 725-0628 or (800) 917-0043.