Invasive Exotic Weed Control
Since 2003 NaturChem has controlled invasive exotic vegetation on an estimated 100,000 acres of conservation land throughout the state of Florida. We have controlled invasive exotic plants in disturbed sites all over the state, along mangroves, in swamps, dry and wet hammock sites, you name it we have probably been there. For four years our twelve technicians rotated in and out of project sites throughout the state gaining more and more knowledge and experience in controlling these difficult to control plants.
It was through this experience and the specialized nature of controlling exotics we have created our own Invasive Exotic Vegetation Management Team. This team is comprised of six individuals with a combined experience of over 25 years of identifying, managing and controlling invasive exotic plants in Florida. Our entire Florida staff has over 45 years of experience in invasive exotic plant control and can be called on to assist the core team with larger projects if needed.
Like you we live and work in this state and see the devastation exotic plants have inflicted on our natural lands, both private and publicly owned. It is a source of pride when we are able to help a land manager meet or exceed their goals concerning invasive exotic plant control.
A Typical Project
An invasive control project at NaturChem actually begins the day the project site is visited. When the Account Manager visits the site, either through an informal or formal prebid meeting, the project begins to take shape. Pictures and video are used to work with the operations management staff in compiling ideas and thoughts concerning an approach to the project. Once an approach is established and resource needs area assessed, we provide the business, private or public, with a price quote.
Once awarded a project, a Crew Supervisor is chosen for the described project. The pictures and/or video taken by the Account Manager are shown to the Crew Supervisor and again an outline of the project is discussed and the Crew Supervisor begins to understand the task at hand. Once the project is scheduled, a site visit is made the day of or the day before work is to begin (all site dependent).
At this time our Crew Supervisor, Account Manager and the Site Supervisor all meet to discuss the project. Obviously introductions are made and then maps, boundaries, the Scope of Work and any other details pertaining to the project are discussed. Once the site has been viewed and the details discussed to the satisfaction of the Crew Supervisor, the visit is complete. Work will begin immediately following this visit or at the designated time the next day, daily reports will be filled out and turned in as discussed at the site visit.
The work begins with instructions for our Crew members. Working with pesticides can be dangerous so the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is on hand while chemicals are mixed and loaded daily. PPE is also utilized during the normal course of the day’s activities while spraying exotic plants. If a project calls for the use of cutting tools, machetes or chainsaws, instructions for use and demonstrations to laborers are used and precautions are made to ensure everyone is safe when using such equipment. Any new laborer is instructed when they arrive concerning the use and safe handling of all equipment and chemicals.
NaturChem, Inc. entered into two separate contracts with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – Bureau of Invasive Plant Management (BIPM) in November 2003 (Aquatic Section) and February 2004 (Upland Section). Each contract selected contractors based upon experience and available equipment as well as trained personnel and price. Both contracts are now under administration by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) by Legislative action during the 2008 session.
Since 2003 we have been providing aquatic vegetation control on lakes, rivers, streams and canals within the north St. Johns Water Management District. Water hyacinth, water lettuce, Salvinia molesta and hydrilla have been the target species on these waterways. This work is coordinated and directed by regional biologists and the contract is managed out of FWC in Tallahassee.
Our experience and knowledge in controlling exotics has definitely improved over the last six years. We have provided control services for a single specie and we have controlled ten plus species within a given acreage. Our Technicians understand and utilize handheld GPS devices to control exotic plants. We have collected data for the biologist/site manager and have been given sites to find. GPS units allow us to transect larger parcels when covering complete acreages, ensuring nothing is missed.
We have worked for several years with the Cross Florida Greenways & Trails in helping to control exotics across the northern end of Florida. Since the Greenway is so large, stretching from one coast to the other, GPS points are given for the exotics to be treated thereby using our ability to mobilize. Multiple spots and species in multiple locations allow us to show our versatility in treating exotic plants not only on the Greenways but throughout Florida.
We have also experienced the treating of large “solid coverage” acreage in south Florida. At Picayune Strand State Forest we treated approximately 2200 acres of varying densities of melaleuca, in multiple zones. In contrast we treated multiple species, including Lygodium, Brazilian pepper and Australian pine at Hungryland WMA on approximately 1200 acres. Small or large, invasive exotic plant control we have “been there, done that” and will continue to be a contractor you can depend on getting the job done right!
Local Management at our Lake City, Florida Office
We at NaturChem are capable of handling whatever can be “thrown” our way, large or small, dense or sparse. We also know what we cannot accomplish and given circumstances we do not feel comfortable or confident in our ability to provide exceptional service we will decline the project.
Our Management Team and staff are very competent individuals all working together as a team. This Team effort carries through to each and every project we take on. We work to increase our knowledge and skill by attending Professional meetings such as the Exotic Pest Plant Council of which several of us are members. The Aquatic Plant Society is another group we are members of and attend those meetings as we can.
From our Invasive Exotic Plant Supervisor and Account Manager who sells and manages the projects to our General Manager who sees the overall picture, NaturChem management strives to provide the best service and price to our customers. Monthly meetings between Account Managers and Operations, give us the ability to see our potential weakness and build upon our strengths. The close inter workings between all phases of a project allow for a more efficient use of personnel, equipment, and herbicide. It also provides for changes to be made quickly if something is not working.