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Chapter 2 - Getting Started
Organization Is Key
You are probably reading this manual because you are concerned about an aquatic-plant problem in your favorite lake or river. Others may share the same perception of an aquatic-plant nuisance. The first step in managing aquatic plants is to get organized. Begin by talking with your neighbors to determine if they have shared concerns about your water body.
The next step is to gather together a core group to talk more about the problem. The gathering might be an informal one, such as a potluck picnic or barbecue, where concerns about aquatic plant problems can be discussed at more length. Important questions that will need to be considered include:
The core group can then plan to meet with the larger lake community to share their concerns in a more formal setting. Posting a notice on the community bulletin-board or in a newsletter, or sending out a one-page flier are simple ways to notify the neighborhood of the location and intent of such a gathering. Often, newspapers are willing to publish a short article for folks organizing neighborhood meetings.
The Steering Committee
With the approval of the larger community, a small steering committee should be formed, headed by one or two key individuals. The steering committee should represent the larger community throughout the planning process. This group will be responsible for completing the steps in this manual. It will be important for the steering committee to remain in touch with the community to share information and allow for participation of all interested individuals in the planning process. This contact can occur through newsletters or scheduled public meetings and board meetings open to the public.
To begin the process of "learning more about it", the committee should start to assemble available background information on the topic of aquatic plant management. Your first contact should be with staff from Ecology's Freshwater Aquatic Weeds Management Program.
The steering committee should also collect any existing information on their project area. Past studies or reports can be useful, such as diagnostic investigations called "Phase I" studies, or Reconnaissance Lake Data Reports by the U.S. Geological Survey and Ecology. These reports usually include an aerial photo and depth contour map of the water body.
TIP: Other lake associations with established aquatic plant management programs can be contacted to find out about their control experiences (for a directory of Washington lake associations, contact Washington Water Research Center, Washington State University, 509-335-5531).
Planning Steps Summarized
Supplied with this background information, the steering committee should begin to assess the aquatic plant problem and the need for action by completing the steps described in Chapter 3-13 of this manual. The planning process consists of two phases:
Phase I involves collecting information about aquatic plants and other features of your project area.
Phase II investigates aquatic plant control strategies and applies Phase I results to fine-tune a specific plan through the following steps:
For simplicity, the steps are presented in a recommended order. For some water bodies, having information from prior investigations might provide shortcuts through a few of the steps. Certain steps can be covered more generally for water bodies with simpler problems compared to those with more complex matters. Also, as you move through the planning process and more complete information becomes available on your water body, you may need to revisit earlier steps. For instance, you may find it necessary to redefine the original problem statement (Step A) or your initial management goals (Step B). At the end of this chapter, a checklist is provided to help you track your progress through the planning process.
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