The FWC is using a herbicide called Aquathol Super K that leaves behind plastic-polymer jelly pieces all over the bottom of the water that will last for years and years.
I have politely asked the FWC to stop putting the plastic-polymer pellets into the Rainbow River as they are trying to poison the hydrilla. The plastic pellets have endothall poison inside and swell up into jelly when put into water. I keep finding the jelly-like pellets in the water in front of my house on the Rainbow River. Big pieces of plastic jelly all over the bottom of the river along with thousands and thousands of smaller pieces of the plastic jelly.
When I first discovered them I asked FWC staff about them and was told that they would be gone by six months at the latest. But, I have now found out that according to the manufacturer, this polymer is made from crude oil and is guaranteed to last longer than five years and shows no signs of biodegradable traits.
According to FWC they have been throwing out the plastic pellets for around 30 years in the Rainbow River to control hydrilla. In every core sample taken of the silt at the bottom of the river in front of my house I have found the polymer jelly under as much of 3 feet of muck and all over the surface of the bottom of the river.
I have observed fish pecking at the jellies, which look somewhat similar to fish or frog eggs. The fish peck away making the big pieces of the plastic jelly into smaller and smaller pieces and spitting them out a few times, then finally swallowing them into their stomachs. While the polymer jelly is not acuity toxic, I don’t think there is much nutrition or protein in the petrochemical polymer jelly and it is getting into the aquatic food chain.
The plastic pellets are used to deliver endothall poison to Hydrilla but once their job is done, they don’t go away. When FWC did this in front of my house last year. I watched the Hydrilla sort of shrink back and shed tons of leaves, but not really die off and disappear. We got more silt from all the tiny dead leaves and then the hydrilla came back stronger than ever.
Most of my neighbors who live on the water along with myself, have to physically rake out and remove the Hydrilla just to swim or get their boats out. In areas outside of shoreline permits the hydrilla is left to rot and regrow again and again because FWC in general, does not remove any plants they poison.
I have been told by FWC staff that the Aquathol Super K plastic pellets are an important tool in the toolbox of the FWC. The plastic poison pellets are used in many places in Florida’s lakes, springs and rivers.
The throwing of plastic-polymer poison pellets into any lakes, springs or rivers by state workers of the FWC is where I believe we have to draw the line and say, Please stop! You are contaminating our waters with more plastic. FWC should not be doing this anywhere in Florida. There has to be a better way. The plastic polymer is not biodegradable. I believe that no one in their right mind would want a bunch of left over plastic garbage in our springs, lakes or rivers.
I am saying out loud and publicly asking the FWC to please stop using the Aquathol Super K in the Rainbow River or anyplace else in Florida.
I ask anyone who has the ability and desire to back up my call and write to FWC 2590 E. Executive Center #202. Tallahassee, FL. 32301, and ask that their staff stop using Aquathol Super K in any Florida waters, especially the Rainbow River.
If we do not ask, they will not stop. If FWC will not stop, maybe we should get our governor and legislators alerted and ask for their help.
Art Jones is founder of On Rake at a Time.