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Georgia Aquatic Weed Removal

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

I own a pond on my property in Georgia. How do I get rid of all the seaweed that's lowering my property value?

Mimosa Flower and Fruit - By Famartin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 (from Wikipedia)
Mimosa Flower and Fruit (Image from Wikipedia)

That's a great question. We hear it a lot at the trade shows we go to throughout the year, so to put this to bed we're going to try to save you a lot of time looking up the laws and the different plants to look out for.

What plants does the state of Georgia consider invasive aquatic weeds?

Georgia's Exotic Pest Plant Council lists 20 invasive weeds in the state. These plants spread fast and far, so it's best to take care of them early and often. If you're starting to notice signs of them growing it's time to take action today.

Here are some of the invasive plants listed by the Georgia EPPC:

  • Alligatorweed (Alternanthera philoxeroides)

  • Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.)

  • Chinaberry (Melia azedarach L.)

  • Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.)

  • Chinese Tallowtree (Triadica sebifera (L.) Small)

  • Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC.)

  • English Ivy (Hedera helix L.)

  • Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata (L. f.) Royle)

  • Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum (Thunb. ex Murr.) Sw.)

  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.)

  • Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus)

  • Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata (Willd.) Maesen & S. Almeida)

  • Marsh Dayflower (Murdannia keisak (Hassk.) Hand.-Maz.)

  • Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin Durazz.)

  • Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora Thunb.)

  • Princesstree (Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.)

  • Sericea Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours.) G. Don)

  • Shrubby Lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor Turcz.)

  • Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima (P. Mill.) Swingle)

  • Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms)

Invasive seaweed is difficult to control and can destroy entire ecosystems, killing local fish and other native plants. It can clog up your boat motor, attract mosquitoes and other insects, spreads quickly and lowers property values. Some even cause property damage by giving off corrosive gases when they decompose. All it takes to have a fun swimming season and keep your boat from getting worn out too soon is a rake, a cutting tool and a little elbow grease. Invite a couple friends over, have a few beers... be out on the water by sundown.

Aquatic Plant Management Laws of Georgia State

We encounter people with misconceptions of questions about the law out at trade shows all the time, so we sifted through the various laws and departments to make it easier for you. Laws can change and we’ll update these guides as quickly as possible. As always, you should contact your local office of the Department of Environmental Quality or Department of Natural Resources for advice on your exact situation.

Note: AquaticWeedTools is not a law firm. As such, AquaticWeedTools does not provide legal advice. The material in this guide does not constitute legal advice nor does contributing to the guide or communicating with AquaticWeedTools or other contributors about the guide create an attorney-client relationship.

The ponds and lakes in the State of Georgia are governed by several agencies and the rules vary from district to district. We found a brochure that should help. As always, check with your local agencies to be sure.

Most established ponds in Georgia are classified State Waters - unless there is neither an inlet nor an outlet and the pond is totally confined and retained completely on the property of single individual, partnership or corporation. Landowners should be aware that some or all of the regulations applicable to pond construction may be applicable to pond maintenance (e.g., weed removal).

The repair and/or maintenance of a Recreational Pond - regardless of the acreage disturbed - may require a Buffer Variance from EPD. It is recommended that the Buffer Variance Application be submitted as soon as possible. It could take a long time to process the application, so we recommend reaching out to the EPD today if you're thinking about a project like this and you haven't yet.

We know absolutely that a permit is required for chemical treatment, so we don't recommend it. If you're working with a smaller pond or lake, you might just be in luck!

That's not very clear. Do I need a permit to clear the weeds out of my lake in Georgia or not?

We're not lawyers, we can't tell you for sure. Especially in Georgia where the regulations seem to vary throughout the state. If it's a freshwater swimming area that's on your property you should be able to take care of it but to be safe, reach out to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

We do believe that mechanical removal (with a weed rake and cutting tool) will involve the least amount of oversight and permits. Don't think about chemicals or you run the risk of a lot of trouble.

Additional Resources:

What should I use to clear the seaweed around my dock? (Or pond, lake or swimming area, whatever you call it!)

The Aquatic Weed Rake from Prime Waters Manufacturing is designed to clear pesky weeds out with minimal effort, and safe enough to be used by anyone in the family.

For Georgia waters, we recommend using the Dock Weed Rake and/or Dock Weed Knife, and the Surf/Sand Weed Rake to remove them once you're done cutting them. Then simply dispose of them like you would yard debris, compost them or there are companies you can hire to haul them away.

Having a clear pond all summer has never been so easy and safe for your family. If you have any questions at all, reach out to us. Our experts are ready to help!

Do you have experience getting permission to clear the weeds out of your Georgia pond? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!

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