Kelly Billing and I have been discussing the threat to the most popular water garden plant for many months so we may not be as happy as our photos appear regarding this subject. Each year now it seems more states are regulating and restricting the sale of the water hyacinth. Understandable in Florida, Coastal Texas fresh
water areas and southern California. A few hard freezes will kill the plants easily. On a mild winter they might survive a few hundred miles north however after a decent winter the supply is totally destroyed.
Nebraska has now restricted them effective January 2013. The states now restricting them include FL, AL, SC, MS, LA, TX, AZ, NE, much of CA by county, AR, and the city of Chicago. Minnesota and Wisconsin are now considering restricting the plant even though experts have misidentified the plant multiple times claiming it survives winters in areas that often reach -20 F when the plant won’t survive a week at 30 degrees (50 degrees warmer).
To add insult to injury the state of Florida recently became close to being able to ship the plant to northern states ending a silly, ‘friendly neighbor law’ prohibiting the spread of the plant which would never naturalize up north. Everything was going fine until the Federal bureaucracy got involved. Now according to colleagues in Florida the National Fish and Wildlife department has threatened to be ready to regulate state-to-state sales of the plants. Fines or worse could be issued to companies selling these plants in any of the 50 states.
If you have suggestions for the industry or can provideanyusefulscientific data you can email Kelly@marylandaquatic.com . You can also ask Kelly to add you to an email distribution newsletter on any developments on this subject.