The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed an online course series for individuals needing assistance with identification and management of aquatic plants.


Landowners, farmers and ranchers with ponds or ‘tanks’ on their land can expect this online course series to provide them with simple, yet practical management solutions, said Brittany Chesser, AgriLife Extension program specialist-aquatic vegetation management in the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management.


Opportunities for continuing education:


"These four courses are designed for landowners and pesticide applicators who are looking for guidance in aquatic vegetation management," Chesser said. "It also gives them the opportunity to earn continuing education credits in integrated pest management."


The enrollment fee is $15 for each course, which gives participants access to that course’s content for up to one year. So far, each course offers 1 integrated pest management continuing education unit. Future courses are expected to as well.


To earn the credit and receive a certificate of course completion, registrants must pass the final exam with a score of 70% or higher.


Tailored content for diverse management issues:


Chesser said the online course series covers everything from basic aquatic plant identification to control methods. The first course in the series titled Aquatic Vegetation Management Basics was released earlier this year.


This introductory course helps learners recognize problems caused by aquatic vegetation, identify effective control options and discover available resources for proper aquatic vegetation management.


The most recent course, Algae and Floating Aquatic Vegetation Identification and Control, released in July, focuses on helping landowners and applicators identify algae and other floating aquatic plants for proper management and control of these species.


Upcoming courses in the series include "Submerged Aquatic Plant Identification & Control" and "Emergent Aquatic Plant Identification & Control." AgriLife Extension anticipates releasing the remaining two courses later this year.


Field-based solutions for every audience:


"These first two courses will be of great interest to landowners or livestock owners with tanks for quite a few reasons," Chesser said.


Learning how to properly manage aquatic vegetation can help prevent water loss and can also enhance recreational activities for individuals with multi-use tanks or ponds on their land—like those stocked for fishing.


The latest course also covers a hot topic among livestock owners. Blue-green algae is a group of bacteria that can threaten animal health, if consumed. By the end of the course, registrants will be able to distinguish blue-green algae from less threatening or even beneficial algae and identify effective management options.


Chesser said even if participants do not necessarily fall into one of the aforementioned categories, they can benefit from information taught in the course.


"At the end of the day, anyone unfamiliar with aquatic vegetation management could waste time, money and labor using ineffective control methods," she said.


This course will help landowners, producers and applicators avoid those obstacles, by empowering them to proactively identify and manage their aquatic vegetation.


For more information on aquatic vegetation management or the online course series from AgriLife Extension, contact Chesser at brittany.chesser@tamu.edu