Hydrilla IPM RAMP- Starting a Statewide Extension Project

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Kenneth T. Gioeli, M.Ag. , University of Florida / IFAS - St Lucie County Extension, University of Florida, IFAS, Fort Pierce, FL
James P. Cuda , University of Florida / IFAS , University of Florida, IFAS, Gainesville, FL
Jennifer Gillett - Kaufman , University of Florida, IFAS, Gainesville, FL
Joan P. Bradshaw , University of Florida / IFAS , University of Florida, IFAS, Lecanto, FL
William A. Overholt , University of Florida / IFAS , University of Florida, IFAS, Fort Pierce, FL
Verena Lietze , University of Florida, IFAS, Gainesville, FL
Judy Shearer , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps, Vicksburg, MS
Raymond L. Hix , Center for Biological Control, FAMU, Tallahassee, FL
Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic weed, and millions of dollars are spent each year managing it in the southern US. Thanks to a new 4-year grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, University of Florida/IFAS research and extension faculty, FAMU faculty, and an ARMY Corps researcher are studying new chemical and biological control methods as part of an overall hydrilla integrated pest management (IPM) plan and transferring the information to stakeholders. The goal is to increase stakeholder awareness of research-based information regarding the hydrilla miner and other sustainable strategies for managing hydrilla. Materials have been developed to help resource managers understand how new strategies for managing hydrilla fit into a hydrilla IPM plan. A perception survey was distributed throughout Florida to determine the most effective information distribution method. The information distribution platform includes field tours and demonstrations, educational publications and exhibits, promotional items, project websites, and presentations at professional and stakeholder meetings. SurveyMonkey was used to determine hydrilla stakeholder perceptions and preferred information delivery methods.  541 stakeholders completed the survey. Responses indicated that the internet, boat launch signage, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Extension Offices in Florida were the preferred outlets for stakeholders to receive information about Hydrilla IPM. Extension faculty developed 10,000 Hydrilla IPM RAMP 1-yd Vinyl Fishing Rulers, 70,000 6-in Rulers/Bookmarks, and 17,000 web cards for distribution to Extension offices and collaborators.  A web portal was developed and 6,694 hits were recorded in 2011. New tactics such as the hydrilla miner will be incorporated into Hydrilla IPM programs throughout Florida. The information obtained through this perception survey will have enabled Extension faculty to most effectively target their educational programming efforts.